Four swimmers with experience from the club and high school ranks have signed with Rice and will join the Owls in the fall of 2015, head swim coach Seth Huston announced on Tuesday.
The Owls’ new signees are Sydney Franzen of San Clemente, Calif., Hanna Huston of Katy, Texas, Marie-Claire Schillinger of Orinda, Calif., and Rabea Tzenetos of Essen, Germany.
All have elite competitive credentials and have met the University’s challenging academic entrance requirements. The signees’ first semester at Rice begins in August of 2015 and the group would compete at the C-USA Championships for the first time in 2016.
Coach Huston had high praise for the Owls’ latest class, his 13th at Rice since taking the helm of the program that continues to reach new heights. Under Huston’s direction the Owl swimmers have won three Conference USA championships in the last four years.
“I think we made a big first step with our fall signing class as we begin to fill some big holes left by our graduating class of 2015,” Huston said. “We have considered this a crucial year in recruiting as we have to replace NCAA qualifier Casey Clark, C-USA champion Erin Flanigan, school record holder Rachel Moody and conference finalists Marissa Konicke and Madison Livingston.
“We have four big time signees that will make instant impact on our team next season,” Huston added. “All of these young ladies have a real chance to compete for Rice at the NCAA Championship level during their careers. We will work hard to continue to make this our best recruiting class at Rice University through the spring.”
More detailed highlights on each Owl signee is provided below. The Rice swimmers will next compete at the annual Phill Hansel Invitational on Nov. 21-23. This year’s Invitational meet will held in Pearland, Texas.
Rice Swimming Signee Highlights
Sydney Franzen * Freestyle
San Clemente, Calif. (Santa Margarita HS / Mission Viejo Nadadores); 2012, 2013, 2014 All-American;
Franzen is a proven freestyler who is versatile enough to score in different races, but is outstanding at the middle distances. She’s made a summer Juniors cut in the 1500-meter freestyle and also led SMHS to the 2014 California Interscholastic Federation State Championship.
50 free – 24.54 y/28.55 m
100 free – 51.71 y/59.14 m
200 free – 1:49.84 y/2:04.94 m
500 free – 4:52.24 y/400m free 4:19.45
1000 free – 10:08.60 y/800m free 8:53.72
1500 free – 17:18.55 meter
1650 free – 16:56.05 yard
Coached by Rich and Ron Blanc (HS);
Coached by Bill Rose (club);
Coach Huston said: “Sydney brings big time experience to Rice Swimming. She has been a lifelong Nadadore from Mission Viejo, Calif. She has trained and competed at a very high level with Olympians and USA National team members. Sydney knows what it takes to be the best. I love Sydney’s range in the freestyle events. She can swim any freestyle event from the 100 to the 1650.”
Franzen said: “I chose Rice University based on its outstanding academic reputation and strong Division I swimming program. I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to swim on such an incredible team.”
Hanna Huston * Distance/Fly/IM
Katy, Texas (Taylor HS / Katy Aquatics)
The daughter of Rice head coach Seth Huston, Hanna Huston was the 2014 NCSA Junior National Champion in the 800-meter freestyle. One of the Top 15 recruits in the state according to CollegeSwimming.com who made a name for herself in the distance free, but also keep an eye on her 400-individual medley and 200-butterfly.
100 free – 52.42y
200 free – 1:50.35y/2:06.60 m
500 free – 4:51.53y/400m free 4:22.39
1000 free – 9:57.51y/800m free 8:51.01
1650 free – 16:28.09
100 fly – 57.12
200 fly – 2:02.78y/2:1944m
200 IM – 2:04.18y/2:25.27m
400 IM – 4:22.35y/5:03.44
Coached by Matt Apple (HS);
Coached by Andy Korda and Justin Brosseau (club);
Coach Huston said: “What can I say, having my daughter commit to Rice is a dream come true. Hanna will be an instant contender in the 1,650 in the C-USA Championships. She is a very versatile athlete with the ability to swim IM, fly and any freestyle event. I know Hanna will be a great fit with the current team. She values commitment, perseverance and determination much like our program embraces.”
Hanna Huston said: “I chose Rice because it has great academics and a great team. The school and the swim team have a fun and positive vibe, and I feel like I will thrive and grow during the four years I’m at Rice.”
Marie-Claire Schillinger * Breaststroke
Orinda, Calif. (Miramonte HS / Aquabears, Viking Club)
Though she is relatively new to the sport, Schillinger quickly ascended to USA Swimming’s No. 5 ranked breaststroker in her age group in 2013. She joins the Owls as the school record-holder (Rachel Moody) closes-out her collegiate career.
100 breast 1:01.91y/1:12.82m
200 breast 2:12.99y/2:38.02m
200 IM 2:05.76y/2:25.52m
50 free 24.30y/28.54m
100 free 53.01y/1:01.28m
Coached by Don Heidary (HS)
Coached by Chris Horner and Joe Natina (club)
Two-time USA Swimming scholastic All-American
Coach Huston said: “MC was our first commitment and she will immediately be able to compete for a C-USA Championship in the breaststroke events. She has made rapid ascent in her short swimming career, and I think she is one of the best breaststroke specialists in this year’s 2015 class in the country. MC is so well-suited for the Rice University culture. She is confident, poised and a born leader.”
Schillinger said: “I chose Rice University because I liked the professors and small class sizes, as well as the residential colleges. The team is really welcoming. I am excited to be joining the team next year. I can’t wait to become an Owl!”
Rabea Tzenetos * Backstroke
Essen, Germany (Helmholtz-Gymnasium / SG-Essen)
100 Back (SCM) 1:01.73/100 Back (LCM) 1:04.17
200 Back (SCM) 2:13.69/200 Back (LCM) 2:17.34
100 Fly (SCM) 1:00.77/100 Fly (LCM) 1:01.12
Coached by Klass Fokken (club)
Coach Huston said: “Rabea comes to Rice from Essen, Germany. She brings a real passion for swimming. Rabea has a lot of international experience and has competed at a high level for a long time. I like the fact that she can swim fly, back and freestyle and be able to contribute to our team in a number of ways. I am thrilled that Rabea will be a Rice Owl next year.”
Tzenetos said: “Rice is in a class of its own. It’s nearly impossible to surpass the school’s outstanding academics, beautiful campus, excellent swim program and stunning facility. The coaches and team members are fantastic. I am so excited to be a part of the Owl family.”
College Swimming News courtesy of Rice University.