Houston Sweeps Rice and SMU on Senior Day

Houston vs. Rice vs. SMU (Women)

  • January 7th, 2021
  • Houston, TX
  • SCY double dual 
  • Team scores
    • Houston 167 SMU 118
    • Houston 181 Rice 104
    • SMU 164 Rice 98
  • Full results 

The University of Houston Cougars welcomed in-state foes SMU and Rice to the CRWC Natatorium on Friday as the Cougars celebrated seniors Rachel Hicks, Shayla Erickson and Hannah Esopenko. Houston walked away with wins against both teams, topping SMU 167-118 and downing Rice 181-104. 

Houston was led by their sprint freestyle group, which posted 1-2-3 finishes in both the 50 and 100 free. In the 50, freshman Mary Catherine Jurica took the win in 23.68, and she was followed closely by classmate Emma Wright who finished in second in 23.75. Sophomore Anna Ervin, who transferred to Houston this year after spending her freshman year at Arkansas, completed the sweep by touching third in 23.85. 

Wright returned to win the 100 free in 51.58, off the Hobart, Indiana native’s season best of 50.30 from the Phil Hansel invite. Katie Power, a native of Kingwood, Texas touched in second in 51.78, while senior Rachel Hicks touched in 52.17 for third. 

The Cougars also were boosted by their diving program, which claimed 1-2 finishes in both boards after neither Rice nor SMU had divers compete. In the 1 meter, Jolie Blodgett emerged victorious with a score of 278.70, just ahead of sophomore teammate Emilia Waters. The duo swapped on the 3 meter, with Waters, a native of Calgary, Alberta taking the win with 284.70. Blodgett, who transferred to Houston from LSU in 2019, took the run-up spot with a score of 262.95.

SMU was led by fifth year Ilektra Lebl, who swept the distance freestyle races. The Athens, Greece native who is competing for the Mustangs as a graduate transfer after graduating from Northwestern, cruised to victory in the 1000, posting a 10:14.75. Lebl returned later in the meet to win the 500 free in 4:58.69. Lebl’s season best in the 1000 sits at 10:09.63 from SMU’s November dual with New Mexico State, while her 500 free season best stands at 4:45.10 from the SMU Invite. 

Gabi Grobler, a senior from Johannesburg, South Africa, also won two events for the Mustangs on Friday. Grobler’s first win of the day came in the 200 back, where she won by over a second and a half in 2:03.24. She then returned to close out the meet with a win in the 200 IM, touching the wall first in 2:04.30. Grobler also swam the 100 back, finishing in second to Houston’s Katie Power, 55.97 to 56.68. 

Rice’s lone win came in the 200 free,where Marta Cano Minarro,  a senior from Spain, touched first in 1:51.84. Cano Minarro mounted an impressive come from behind victory, splitting 27.52 on the final 50 to outtouch SMU’s Jenna Watson by a tenth. 

Other Individual Event Winners:

  • 100 breast: Henrietta Fangli (Houston): 1:04.20
  • 200 fly: Olivia Grossklaus (SMU): 2:00.53
  • 200 breast: Jenna Watson (SMU): 2:19.62
  • 100 fly: Valentina Becerra (SMU): 55.05

SMU will be the first of the three programs to return to competition, as the Mustangs will host North Texas in Dallas on Friday. Houston returns to action on January 22nd when they travel to New Orleans to take on Tulane, while Rice will also compete next on the 22nd when they welcome North Texas to Houston.

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