University of Houston swimmer Kristine Kelly swims the 100 yard backstroke during day one of the Phill Hansel Duals Weekend.
Photo by Darla Tamultits
Sophomore diver Anastasia Pozdniakova and sophomore swimmer Andrea Pa'lmai each posted first-place finishes to lead the University of Houston Swimming and Diving team Friday evening during the first day of the Phill Hansel Duals Weekend at the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center Natatorium.
In the six-team, two-day, 19-event meet, the Cougars grabbed big leads over Mesa State (155-21), Trinity (147.50-35.50) and New Orleans (134-49) but were trailing Conference USA rival Rice (93-90) and Nevada (109-77).
Pa'lmai captured first place in the 1,0000-yard freestyle with a time of 10:07.44, the fifth-fastest time in school history. Pozdniakova, the defending C-USA Freshman Diver of the Year and the reigning C-USA Diver of the Week, enjoyed a first-place showing with 377.55 points on the 3-meter springboard, more than 80 points ahead of her closest competitor.
The meet is named in honor of former UH swimming and diving head coach Phill Hansel. Hansel, considered the Father of Cougar Swimming and Diving, led the Cougars from 1975 to 1996, racking up 70 dual-meet victories, a school record that still stands. Hansel, a 1949 graduate of Purdue, was named the Southwest Conference Coach of the Year three times during his tenure, and mentored 31 swimmers to All-America honors, including Diane Johannigman, the first NCAA swimming national champion in UH history.
Hansel also had an impressive resume at the international level, serving as the manager of the 1992 U.S. Olympics teams and working with the Singapore teams at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics.
Senior captain Szintia Szanto finished second in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:17.80 and added a similar finish in the 200-yard individual medley with a clocking of 2:04.53.
Sophomore Sasha Schwendenwein finished second in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:51.22, while sophomore Jessica Shamburger earned a second-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 57.97.
Sophomore Lauren Van Cleave finished third in the 100-yard butterfly.
The Cougars' 200-yard medley relay team of Shamburger, Szanto, VanCleave and Schwendenwein started the day with a third-place finish.