North Texas Downs Rice in Rare Dual Meet Upset

North Texas def. Rice

  • North Texas vs Rice
  • January 10th, 2019
  • Denton, TX
  • Results
  • Scores
    • 169-125

In the 17-edition history of the Rice vs. North Texas women’s swimming & diving rivalry, Rice University has usually come out ahead of their Conference USA rivals. Usually.

On Friday, January 11th, the University of North Texas downed Rice University for only the 4th time in the program’s history, with the other victories coming in 2015, 2011, and 2010. Here’s how they did it:

In this women’s-only competition, the Mean Green from North Texas won both the 400 medley relay in 3:40.88 and 200 freestyle relay in 1:36.68. Though splits are unavailable, the margin of victory in the 200 freestyle relay was a comfortable 1.35 seconds, meanwhile the margin in the 400 medley was a whopping 11.81 seconds, where the ‘A’ team from Rice finished 2nd in 3:52.69. The times clocked by both relays are very good for UNT, considering their season best in the 200 free relay stands at a 1:34.24 from the Kansas Classic, while their 400 medley relay was a mere 3:46.97 prior this weekend’s racing.

UNT Junior Jowita Sienczyk came away with individual victories in the 100 back in 58.09 and the 200 IM in 2:08.58, as well as a 2nd-place finish in the 200 back in 2:06.54, and a team victory in the 400 medley relay. Sienczyk’s 200 IM came within three seconds of her best time in the race, despite being her final effort of the day.

Another member of that medley relay, Meaghan Rousset, posted a very solid 1:03.98 to win the 100 breaststroke. Rousset’s time is impressive not only because it is the fastest she’s been yet this season, but because it’s faster than she went at the 2018 Conference USA Women’s Championships last February. Last year, Rousset finished 16th in the 100 breast at the C-USA Championships, where it took a 1:03.03 to make the ‘A’ final. Even in early January, she’s already within a second of that mark.

Thurstin, who was also a member of the champion 400 medley relay, notched an individual victory in the 50 free in a time of 24.37 seconds, which she followed up with a 2nd-place finish in the 100 fly, registering a time of 57.66 seconds. Though neither swim was close to her season-best, she has also already secured her spot at the CSCAA National Championships in March in the 50 free, 100 fly, and 100 breast.

UNT’s Leigh McGee was only 7 seconds off her season best time in the 1000, which she won in a time of 10:21.54. McGee also held off Rice’s Claire Therien for the win in the 500, which came down to the wire, with McGee touching in 5:02.89 to Therien’s 5:03.21.

UNT also dominated diving where, uncontested, the Mean Green swept both the 1-meter and 3-meter boards with Averie Ruiz picking up the set of victories, followed by teammate Meghan Miller in 2nd on each board. Although Rice doesn’t have divers, the 32 points that North Texas scored there aren’t enough to account for the 44-point overall difference in scoring.

Rice, which largely relied on its depth to keep the meet interesting, picked up victories in the 200 free and back by way of Ellery Parish in 1:54.22 and 2:04.47, respectively, the 100 free with a 53.63 from Becca Evans, as well as a 1-2 finish from Phillis Range and Nicole Limberg in the 200 breaststroke, where they clocked times of 2:20.65 and 2:23.65, respectively. Marta Cano also contributed with a win in the 100 fly in 57.48, while Brittany Bui took the 200 fly in 2:04.54, easily outpacing runner-up Alvena Walpole, who touched 2nd in 2:06.23.

Team Release Courtesy University of North Texas

DENTON – North Texas swim and dive started 2019 off much like how it ended 2018 – with a win over an in-state power program.

The Mean Green defeated Rice 169-125 on senior night Friday at the Pohl Rec Center first the first time in six years. The Mean Green won both relay events in the first and final events of the day while also taking home five individual first place finishes.

“The last time we beat them was my first year here,” head coach Brittany Roth said. “On that particular day, our girls made the decision that they were going to get up. [Friday] was a great rehearsal. I told them that we will face Rice again in a month. I told them you can’t back down. You have to attack every single race, and if you do that it could be a great meet. From one event to the next they never let the momentum stop. They never got comfortable. They knew what was at stake. I’m feeling really encouraged.”

During the second break in the meet, North Texas honored its six seniors: Meaghan RoussetKathleen Rousset Brittany ThurstinKelsey OpielaNatalia Kwiatkowska, and diver Averie Ruiz.

Thurstin and Ruiz won events in their final home meet as Mean Green. Thurstin took home gold in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 24.37. She was the only Mean Green team member to podium in the event earning her squad nine points. Ruiz won both 1-meter and 3-meter diving.

“Every year this team evolves,” Roth said. “To have this team as it is right now, is really special. I’ve enjoyed not only this season with them, but the entire careers here. These girls went from freshman who are unsure of themselves, looking to upperclassmen, to now giving speeches to their teammates and imparting great wisdom on them. I am really going to miss them. They are going to leave a big hole on this deck.”

There was plenty to celebrate Friday afternoon. North Texas started off the meet hot with a win in the 400-yard medley with a team of junior Jowita Sienczyk, Jensen, Meaghan and Thurstin with a time of 3:40.88. The Mean Green also took third in the 400-yard medley with a time of 3:59.74. It is the second meet in a row that North Texas has won the 400-yard medley relay.

Sophomore Leigh Faires McGee continued her strong season with a win for the second meet in a row in the 1000-yard freestyle with a time of 10:21.54. Sienczyk won the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 58.09 to grab nine points. The rest of the Mean Green finished 4-5-6 to earn three more points.

Freshman Alvena Walpole came second in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:06.23. Fellow freshman Brianna Hanely rounded out the scoring in fifth with a time of 2:10.99 to earn one point for North Texas. Freshman Bryanna Vasquez finished second in the 100-yard freestyle with Walpole and Jensen behind her in third and fourth respectively. In the 100-yard breaststroke, Meaghan Rousset came second with a time of 1:04.81. Freshman Brooke Beddingfield came third to round out the podium at 1:07.57.

Sienczyk and Kwiatkowska came second and fourth respectively in the 200-yard backstroke to earn North Texas six points. Sienczyk clocked in at 2:06.54 while Kwiatkowska hit 2:10.32.

Thurstin turned in a strong performance in the 100-yard butterfly to finish second in 57.66. Opiela came fourth at 58.61. Sienczyk continued a strong day with a first-place finish in the 200-yard IM at 2:08.58 while Walpole rounded out the podium at 2:10.95. Freshman Karigan Stanley tied for third at 2:11.76.

North Texas competed with four divers in 1-meter and 3-meter diving. Rice did not travel with divers. In 3-meter, Ruiz was tops with a 255.98 while sophomore Meaghan Miller came in behind her at 248.78. Freshman Altaria Wallquist rounded out the top three with a great dive of 231.00. Junior Gabryella Silva was the drop score at 227.63.

Silva and Wallquist switched spots in the 1-meter final results. Wallquist was the drop score at 209.03 while Silva was third at 221.25. Ruiz claimed the top spot at 247.88 while Miller hit at 226.65.

“Winter training went in the right direction for us,” diving coach Mark Murdock said. “So they stepped in right away and continued that. I thought they did really well. They pushed more. Not having to compete against anyone was actually ok. They pulled together and competed well, because it was a competition. They have to push and get better.”

The Mean Green return to action on Jan. 26 against Incarnate Word and Old Dominion in a double-dual meet in San Antonio.

Courtesy Rice University

Sophomore Ellery Parish won a pair of individual events, and the Owls were on the top of the medal stand six times overall, but North Texas claimed a 169-125 Conference USA dual meet victory over the Rice swimmers Friday evening in Denton, Texas.

Parish posted a win in the 200-freestyle with a time of 1:54.22. The San Antonio native then showed some versatility winning the 200-backstroke (2:04.47). Fellow sophomore Brittany Bui won the 200-butterfly with a time of 2:04.54.

Three Rice freshmen stepped-up with individual wins in the C-USA clash. Phillis Range led a 1-2 Owl finish with Nicole Limberg in the 200-breaststroke with times of 2:20.65 and 2:23.09, respectively. Becca Evans placed first in the 100-freestyle (53.63) and Marta Cano-Minarro won the 100-fly (57.48).

The Blue & Gray still has two more key meets coming up on the weekend road swing. Rice next takes on former conference rivals SMU and Arkansas on Saturday in Dallas at 11 am.

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4 years ago

Do you believe in the Mean Green?!

4 years ago

Since NT has won 4 times since/including 2010…my math tells me recent history is closing in on 50/50. What was “rare” in the past seems more like more of a solid rivalry now…even if not fully on the same level.

4 years ago

0 divers for Rice. That hurts.

Reply to  RenéDescartes
4 years ago

As Reid pointed out in the article, though, North Texas didn’t score enough diving points (32) to close the gap (44), so this was an apples-to-apples win in addition to being an apples-to-ground apples win.

About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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