WOMEN'S SWIMMING: Women compete well in last dual meet of semester

by Brant Hasebe

The Rice women's swim team swam well on Saturday but fell to the University of Texas by a score of 101-66.

The UT swimming program is consistently ranked in the top five in the nation, for reasons exemplified by Saturday's event.

Because of a large number of scholarships and the strong history of the program, UT is capable of putting together a team of remarkable depth and strength.

This depth was shown on Saturday, as the UT team split their squad and swam against the University of Houston Cougars and the Rice Owls in a split-meet format.

However, despite the depth of UT's team, Rice was able to compete very well in the top positions and win several events.

Many of the Owl swimmers swam season-best times at the meet, which is remarkable considering the difficult training they have endured during the past two weeks. Indeed, although the score may not indicate it, the meet was very close.

UT barely won both relays, outpacing the Owls by only 0.31 seconds in the 200-meter medley relay and 0.30 seconds in the 200-meter freestyle relay.

Had those races been won by the Owls, the score would have looked much different.

Overall, the Rice coaching staff and the team members saw the meet as another solid step toward a successful season.

Junior Carrie Covington, the women's team co-captain, led the squad with two first-place finishes, running away with the 200-meter freestyle (1:53.53) and winning a close race in the 100-meter freestyle (0:52.43).

Covington also placed third in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:09.92, just behind teammate Ginny Farmer (2:09.34). Farmer also won the 200-yard butterfly (2:09.25) in a close race against UT powerhouse Daniel Strader.

The Owls swam well in the 100-yard backstroke, with junior Heather Draper placing second (0:59.21), junior Cory Teague placing third (0:59.82) and senior Hilary Grabe, who has been plagued by shoulder injuries, placing fourth (1:01.04). Draper also swam well in the 200 backstroke, placing second with a strong 2:07.41.

In addition to a strong race in the 100 back, Teague swam a very fast 100 fly, placing second with a time of 0:57.98.

Sophomore Robin Davidson swam a fantastic race. She won the 100-meter breastroke in 1:07.79. Junior Julie Birch, who transferred last year from the University of Arizona, placed second in the 50 free with a 0:25.36.

Perhaps the surprise race of the meet was turned in by freshman Rachel Doyle, who won the 500 freestyle with a blazing 5:04.44 after missing nearly a full week of practice due to illness.

"I was a little worried going into the race that I wouldn't have the endurance I needed, but it looks like the rest did me some good, and I really wanted to win," Doyle said.

Very solid races were also turned in by freshman Liz Corneliuson, who placed third in both the 500 meter freestyle (5:09.24) and the 200 freestyle (1:55.43).

This was the final meet of the semester for the Owls, who now enter the heaviest training period of the year.

"Now that we have some good racing experience, we can concentrate on training and really focus on our long-term goals," Teague said.

This item appeared in the Sports section of the December 6, 1996 issue.

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