Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Houston Swimming and Diving to Host C-USA Championship this Week

From University of Houston Media Relations Office

Some of the nation’s finest collegiate swimmers and divers will visit Houston this week to take part in the 2007 Conference USA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championship and Men’s Invitational at UH’s own Campus Recreation & Wellness Center Natatorium.

The meet opens at 3 p.m., Wednesday with the preliminaries of the men’s 1-meter diving. Finals of the 200-yard medley relay, men’s 1-meter diving and 800-yard freestyle relay are slated to start at 6 p.m.

The meet kicks into high gear with preliminaries beginning at 10 a.m., Thursday. Thursday’s schedule includes the 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard individual medley and 50-yard freestyle. The preliminaries for the women’s 3-meter diving are slated to begin around 1 p.m.

Finals for those events plus the 400-yard medley relay will begin at 6 p.m., Thursday.

In addition to the host Cougars, the meet features both the men’s and women’s teams from SMU and East Carolina and the women’s teams from Rice, East Carolina and Marshall. Hawai’i also will be competing on the men’s side.

Tickets will be available for purchase near the front of the CRWC Natatorium beginning one hour prior to the meet Thursday morning. All-session passes are available for $25 for adults or $10 for students with valid ID. Day tickets can be purchased for $10 for adults and $5 for students with ID. Students from any C-USA school with a valid free will be admitted free to the meet.

There will be no admission price for fans wishing to attend Wednesday’s sessions. Fans attending any session beginning Thursday morning will be charged accordingly.

Fans can buy an official C-USA meet program and that session’s heat sheet for only $5 beginning Thursday morning. Fans who buy a program and present it to sellers prior to each session can purchase additional heat sheets for future sessions for only $3 each.

This marks the fourth straight season that the Cougars have played host to the C-USA Women’s Championship and Men’s Invitational. UH is the only C-USA school to host the annual event at an on-campus site.

In 2006, SMU earned the women’s championship during its first year in the league. The Mustangs, who are ranked No. 12 in the latest CollegeSwimming.com poll, set nine meet records to earn the convincing win.

East Carolina finished second with 587 points a year ago, but the Cougars were a close third with 585 points. Rice, Tulane and Marshall rounded out the rest of the field.

On the men’s side, the Mustangs scored 974 points to sweep both crowns. East Carolina finished second with the Rainbow Warriors coming in third.

This will be the Cougars’ first meet since taking a 46-44 win at New Orleans on Jan. 28. That relay-meet win pushed the Cougars’ overall record in 2006-07 to an impressive 18-6 mark, doubling the previous single-season record win total.

Senior captain Szintia Szanto will take part in her final home meet this weekend after a stellar career at UH. This season, she has posted UH season-best times in the 200-yard butterfly, 100- and 200-yard breaststroke and 200-yard individual medley.

The Budapest, Hungary, native already has provisionally qualified for the 2007 NCAA Championships with her time in the 200-yard individual medley but will be looking for even faster times this week.

Sophomore and fellow Hungarian Andrea Pa’lmai leads the Cougars this season in the 1,000-yard freestyle, 1,650-yard freestyle, 200-yard backstroke and 400-yard individual medley. Fellow sophomore Sasha Schwendwein also has been a steady performer for the Cougars with season-best times in the 100-, 200- and 500-yard freestyle events.

The Cougars, under the leadership of five-time C-USA Diving Coach of the Year Jane Figueiredo, always boast one of the nation’s premier diving programs, and 2006-07 has been no different.

Sophomore Anastasia Pozdniakova, the reigning C-USA Freshman Diver of the Year, has been named C-USA Diver of the Week four times this season and recorded C-USA best marks on both the 1- and 3-meter springboards.

Senior captain Rachel Gitelson, who joins Szanto and swimmer Alejandra Salazar in competing in their final home meet, has posted the league’s best total on the platform, while junior Ginni van Katwijk was most recently honored as the C-USA Diver of the Week.

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