Houston Women Break Meet Record on Day 1 of AAC Championships

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 2

February 15th, 2018 AAC, College, News

AAC –  Women & Men

The 2018 AAC Swimming & Diving Championships are wide-open after 1 day, with 4 different schools winning the 4 swimming races, and diving making the biggest impact on scores so far.

Women’s Meet

The University of Houston, using a relay that included 2 freshmen and a sophomore, won the women’s 800 free relay in 7:06.86. That broke the Meet and Pool Records at the new SMU pool – in its first season of use for varsity competition. The fastest split came from anchor Zarena Brown, who clocked a 1:45.97 on her leg of the relay.

The relay won by more than 9 seconds ahead of runners-up UConn and ECU (tied), and were so dominant that they had 3 of the 4 fastest splits of the event.

The only splits to beat Houston’s 4th-best leg came from Morgan Tacik on Tulane’s 5th-place relay and Matea Samardzic on SMU’s 6th-place relay, who each split 1:47.04.

SMU finished last in that 800 free relay, but bounced back to win the 200 medley – their 2018 team is built more around speed, and the Mustangs have saved most of their top swimmers for the other 4 relays. Just like Houston’s winning 800, the Mustangs’ winning 200 medley relay was a very young relay with 2 freshmen and a sophomore.

They were neck-and-neck with the Cougars throughout the race. The difference-maker for SMU was Erin Trahan’s 23.44 butterfly leg – the only sub-24 split in the field. Houston countered that with a 26.97 breaststroke split from sophomore Peyton Kondis, which would’ve been in the top-half of splits at last year’s NCAA Championship meet.

The ultimate difference was .01 seconds – as SMU freshman Felicity Passon split 22.92 on the anchor leg. Both schools were again under the Pool Record (as were all 6 in the event).

Both of Houston’s relay swims are new school records.

Houston, a legendary diving program in a new era after losing their coach a few seasons back, still has quality, but not the overwhelming depth that they used to. The Cougars only used 2 divers in the competition, with sophomore Lauren Burrell winning and senior Micaela Bouter finishing 8th. To that point of the meet, even after having won both events, they were tied with UConn, thanks to UConn using 4 divers (including 3 freshmen). However, that means more swims for Houston later in the meet, so if they can capitalize with points from their end-of-roster swimmers, the Cougars are in a good position

Team Scores After Day 1:

  1. Houston – 105
  2. SMU – 96
  3. UConn – 90
  4. East Carolina – 88
  5. Cincinnati – 87
  6. Tulane – 69

Men’s Meet

The men’s relays were a story of boom-or-bust. In the first race of the day, Cincinnati won the men’s 800 freerelay in 6:27.32, including a 1:35.78 from sophomore Din Selmanovic that led all swimmers in the heat. In that race, East Carolina finished 4th (last), though it was a relatively-tight relay, with less than 6 seconds separating the top team from the final team.

In the next race, however, the two schools changed positions. This time, it was East Carolina winning in 1:27.78, with the team of Tristan Taylor (22.87), Jacek Arentewicz (24.23), Gustavo Santos (20.71), and Gavin Erdmann (19.97) holding off SMU by .45 seconds for victory. That included the fastest splits on both the breaststroke (24.23) and fly (20.71) legs.

This time, though, Cincinnati fell into the 4th-place position: though, again, that was only 1.2 seconds back in a high-parity men’s conference.

In between, the diving made the big difference on the day’s scoring. Cincinnati had nearly half of the participating divers (4/1o), includiun 2nd-place finisher Mitchell Godar and 3rd-place finisher Isaac Karn. SMU is home to the conference’s best diver, senior Bryce Klein, who scored 331.70 points to take the title, but SMU had only him entered – meaning more swims for later in the meet (which will likely be scoring swims, given how few teams are entered in the meet).

Team Scores After Day 1:

  1. Cincinnati – 123
  2. UConn – 102
  3. East Carolina – 93
  4. SMU – 88

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In the history of women’s swimming in the state Texas over the last let’s say 30 years, how many times can you say that the UofH women’s team beat SMU by 13 seconds in the 800 free relay?

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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