Houston Strong Opening Day at Christmas Invitational

HOUSTON  – The University of Houston Swimming team had 10 top-ten finishes, including a podium finish by sophomore Caitlin Horner in the opening day of the University of the Incarnate Word Christmas Invitational Friday at the Palo Alto Aquatic Center.

Horner had an impressive day capturing second place in the 50-yard freestyle. The Virginia native swam the race in a time of 23.70, dropping 0.52 seconds off her prelims time.

The Cougars opened the night with two top-10 finishes in the 200-yard freestyle relay. The team of Horner, Taylor Derevyanik, Maya Owens and Julie Gibson netted a time of 1:37.89 to place sixth overall. The ninth place team of Holly Criscuolo, Hannah Herbst, Delia Weber and Micaela Hamrick swam the race in a time of 1:40.21.

In the 500-yard freestyle, Rachel Hobbins placed seventh overall with a time of 5:05.50. Freshman Weber won the B final and placed ninth overall with a time of 5:01.03

Freshman Jenny Penneck placed ninth overall in the 200-yard individual medley, netting a time of 2:10.46. Teammate Cameron Balkom was right behind in 10th with a time of 2:11.17.

In the final event of the night, the 400-yard medley relay, the team of Penneck, Balkom, Owens and Horner placed fifth overall overall with a time of 3:53.80.

“We are learning a lot about toughness and high level performance in the face of adverse conditions,”
said head coach Ryan Wochomurka. “I’m proud of the way we are fighting and I look forward to some great performances over the next two days.”



  1. North Texas – 507.5
  2. Rice – 464.5
  3. Incarnate Word – 382
  4. Houston – 265


200 Free Relay

  1. Houston A – 1:37.89

(Horner, Derevyanik, Owens, Gibson)

  1. Houston B– 1:40.21

(Criscuolo, Herbst, Weber, Hamrick)

500 Free

  1. Rachel Hobbins – 5:05.50
  2. Delia Weber – 5:01.03

200 IM

  1. Jenny Penneck – 2:10.46
  2. Cameron Balkom – 2:11.17

50 Free

  1. Cait Horner – 23.70

400 Free Relay

  1. Houston A – 3:53.80

(Penneck, Balkom, Owens, Horner)

  1. Houston C- 4:04.22

(Weber, Lehman, Herbst, Hamrick)

  1. Houston B – 4:07.13

(Williams, Derevyanik, Criscuolo, Gibson)


The Cougars will take to the water for the second day of the UIW Christmas Invitational Saturday morning. Prelims will begin at 10 a.m. and finals will begin at 6 p.m.


Houston will host the American Athletic Conference Championships for the first time as the best swimmers and divers in the league visit the CRWC from Feb. 17-20, 2016. Following the conference meet, the Cougars will look to close the season at the NCAA Championships, to be held March 17-19, 2016 in Atlanta.


Fans can keep up with the latest in University of Houston Cougar athletics by following us on Facebook (Facebook.com/HoustonAthletics), Twitter (@UHCougars), Instagram (houstoncougars) and YouTube.com(Youtube.com/UHAthletics). In addition, the swimming & diving team has established its own official Facebook (Facebook.com/HoustonCougarSwimmingDiving) and Twitter pages (@UHCougarSwim), which provide regular updates on the team and live results during home meets.

Swimming news courtesy of Houston Swimming & Diving.

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About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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