In AAC Championship Preview, Rice Knocks off Rivals Houston 159-135

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 0

January 30th, 2023 AAC, College, News

Rice vs. Houston (Women Only)

  • January 28, 2023
  • CRWC, University of Houston, Houston, Texas
  • Short Course Yards, College Dual Meet
  • Full Meet Results
  • Final Scores
    • Rice Women 159
    • Houston Women 135

The University of Houston hosted their near-town rivals Rice University on Saturday for a rivalry dual meet as both teams hurtle toward upcoming conference championship meets.

The women’s programs at Houston and Rice are the only two collegiate swim programs in the 4th-largest U.S. city (for now), and the two teams have had a back-and-forth rivalry in recent years. After 6 straight wins by the Cougars, including a lopsided 181-104 margin last year, the Owls got back into the win column this season with a narrow 24-point victory.

Rice had four swimmers pick up a pair of individual wins each as the Owls won 11 out of 14 swimming events at the meet (Rice doesn’t have a diving team).

That included a pair of victories from sophomore Arielle Hayon, who won the 100 fly in 54.72 and 200 fly in 2:03.20. That brings her to 11 individual event wins on the season.

Hayon qualified for last year’s NCAA Championship meet in the butterfly races, specifically earning her invite in the 100 fly. That 100 fly was the only of her events where she didn’t hit a personal best at the mid-season Phil Hansel Invite (including a 1:56.64 in the 200 fly), so she’ll have to hit her taper at the upcoming Conference USA Championships if she wants a return to the national meet.

She was one of several owls to pick up a stroke-sweep at the meet. Senior Zoe Spitz swept the 100 back (55.44) and 200 back (1:59.90), while senior Lauren McDougall swept the 50 free (23.74) and the 100 free (51.02) at the meet.

Amelia Kane was the other double winner, leading the mile in 17:04.00 (a rare event for a dual meet) and the 400 IM in 4:23.03.

Rice also swept the relays, winning the 200 medley relay by over two seconds (1:42.57) and the 200 free relay by a similar margin in 1:34.80. The medley relay included a 23.06 anchor for McDougall.

“I was very pleased with our overall performance this weekend,” Rice head coach Seth Huston said. “Beating our cross-town rival is always satisfying. We had some real “Iron Athletes” today; Ahalya Lettenberger raced in the 1650 (best time) and 500 free, 400 IM, and Amelia Kane was a double winner in both the 1650 and the 400 IM with very impressive performances.”

The Houston Cougars picked up three wins of their own, opened by a 1:52.35 in the 200 free from sophomore Mary-Catherine Jurica. That swim is 1.7 seconds better than she was in the team’s last dual meet two weeks ago, and is her best dual meet time since these same two teams faced off in October 2021.

Other wins for Houston included senior Audrey McKinnon in the 100 breast (1:03.79) and a 1-2-3 finish in the 200 breast led by McKinnon (2:16.97), Sophie Anderson (2:18.97), and Virag Peter (2:19.71).

Another highlight for the Cougars was a second-place finish in the 100 back from senior Julia Koluch, which was her best individual placement of the season so far.

Houston honored their seniors in their last home dual meet as part of the festivities. That group included the aforementioned breaststroke champion McKinnon, along with Jolie Blodgett, Katie Deininger, Julia Koluch, McKinnon, Elizabeth Richardson, and Makayla Wallar.

Houston next heads to the AAC Championships at SMU from February 13-18, where last season the Cougars won a nail-biter by .5 points. Rice, meanwhile, has one more meet against the #2 ranked Texas Longhorns, in Dallas, at the Sterkel Classic before heading to their first ever AAC Championship meet.

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of 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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