Sunday, September 23, 2007


(photo by Chris Price-TexSport Publications)

By Chris Price

(THE WOODLANDS, TEXAS, September 23, 2007) Derrick Mauk and Chuck Medema each won national titles at the United States Masters Swimming Long Course National Long Course Swimming Championships held at The Woodlands.

Mauk won his first-ever national title in the 50-meter backstroke, while Medema took his title in the 400-meter freestyle.

Both swimmers, along with eight teammates, took 23rd place in the team standings, out of 133 teams, representing the South Belt Area “All Stars” Swimming Team.

The “All Stars” had ten swimmers, ages 19-53 competing, competing against 901 other swimmers.

Mauk, who was competing in the 30-34 age group, also a silver medal in the 400-meter freestyle, bronze medals in the 100-meter and 200-meter backstrokes, sixth place in the 100-meter butterfly and seventh place in the 50-meter butterfly.

Medema, competing in the 25-29 age group, took a bronze medal in the 200-meter freestyle, sixth place in the 100-meter freestyle, eighth place in the 100-meter butterfly, and ninth place in the 50-meter freestyle and 50-meter butterfly.

University of Houston swimmer Kristine Kelly, who was competing in her last meet of the summer season before reporting back to school for the college swimming season, took the silver medal in the 100-meter backstroke, bronze medals in the 200-meter backstroke, 50-meter backstroke and 400 meter individual medley. She also added a fourth place in the 200-meter butterfly and fifth place in the 200-meter individual medley. She was competing in the 18-24 age group. Kelly’s greatest competition came against Fort Lauderdale Aquatics swimmer Dawn Jason, who is a member of Great Britain’s national team at the Commonwealth Games.

Hillsdale (Michigan) College swimmer Skylar Walker (18-24 age group) was also competing in her final meet of the summer season before leaving for her junior year in college, took ninth place in the 200-meter freestyle, 100-meter breaststroke and 50-meter breaststroke, along with thirteenth place in the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyles.

Landon Howard, competing in the 18-24 age group place seventh in the 50-meter backstroke, 100-meter butterfly, eighth in the 50-meter freestyle and 100-meter backstroke and tenth in the 100-meter freestyle

Lisa Hernandez also got into the scoring with a fourth place finish in the 200-meter breaststroke in the 25-29 age group, along with fifth place in the 400-meter freestyle, eighth place in the 50-meter breaststroke, tenth in the 200-meter freestyle, eleventh in the 100-meter breaststroke and fifteenth in the 100-meter freestyle.

Former Sam Rayburn High School standout Stacey Golden also contributed to the scoring with a sixth place in the 100-meter butterfly, along with an eighteenth place in the 50-meter freestyle.

The competitive fires were not limited to the younger adult “All Stars” swimmer. Co-head coaches Darla and Robert Kelly also hit the water in the national level meet for the first time in over twenty years.

“We felt the time was right to get into the water and go for it,” said Darla Kelly. “We have been working with these youngsters for years and wanted to have some fun ourselves.”

Both the Kelly competed in two events, with Darla finishing thirteenth in the 50-meter backstroke and twenty-first in the 50-meter freestyle. Robert finished nineteenth in the 50-meter breaststroke and was disqualified in the 100-meter breaststroke for two butterfly kicks on the turn.

“After the 50-meter breaststroke, Derrick and Kristine inquired why I didn’t take a butterfly kick on the pullout. The rule that allows one butterfly kick on the start and turn is relatively new to the sport and I had not practiced doing it. I went to the cool down pool and practiced it for a while. I felt I it was fine but obviously, I was not. I got DQed by an official that works some of our high school meets, and we all got a good laugh about it. It will be a long time before I live that one down,” said Robert Kelly.

The “All Stars” success and points was not limited to individual events. They entered seven relays and all seven scored and brought home medals.

Relay entries are determined by the combined ages of all four swimmers. Mauk, Howard, Medema, and former Sam Rayburn High School All State swimmer Rick Price swam two relays in the 100-119 years old age group. In the 200-meter freestyle relay, they took the silver medal, but were disqualified for an early takeoff in the 200-meter medley relay.

Walker, Golden, Hernandez, and Kristine Kelly combined to swim their relays in the 72-99 age group, finishing in fourth place in both the 200-meter medley relay and the 200-meter freestyle relay.

Coed relays, which consisted of two men and two women, were also contested with the “All Stars” fielding three.

In the coed 200-meter freestyle relay, Price, Walker, Medina, and the youngest Kelly finished in fifth place in the 100-119 age group. Kelly, and Price, then combined with Mauk and Hernandez to take fifth place in the 100-119 200-meter freestyle relay.

Howard, Walker, Medema, and Golden rounded out the relay scoring with a fourth place finish in the 72-99 age group 200-meter medley relay.

In addition, former J. Frank Dobie swimming coach and Pasadena Independent School District aquatic director Dennis Shippey also competed and scored at the Nationals. Shippey trains with the “All Stars” but competed with the Woodlands Masters Team where he can compete in relays with other swimmers his own age.

Shippey competed in the 60-64 year old age group took silver medals in the 50-meter and 100-meter breaststroke, a bronze medal in the 200-meter breaststroke, fourth place in the 50-meter butterfly, sixth place in the 100-meter freestyle, and seventh place in the 50-meter freestyle. He also added silver medals in the Woodlands 240-279 men’s 200-meter medley relay and the 200-meter freestyle relay.

The South Belt Area “All Stars” Swimming Team is an select swimming team consisting of swimming from ages 9-65 from the Deer Park, Pasadena, Pearland, Friendswood, Clear Lake and Houston South Belt areas.

Houston Downs Colorado State 38-27

By Robert H. Kelly

(HOUSTON, TEXAS, September 22, 2007) Freshman quarterback Case Keenum threw for 197 yards and two touchdowns while running for 66 yards and two more scores, to lead the Houston Cougars to a 38-27 victory over the the Colorado State Rams. Keenum went 18-of-22 in the air in the Houston win, while senior wide receiver Donnie Avery grabbed seven passes for 76 yards.

It was the 10th straight loss for Colorado State, which has not won since beating UNLV on October 7, 2006.

The Rams jumped out to a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter on a 37-yard touchdown pass from Caleb Hanie to Dion Morton. Houston responded with a 46-yard field goal by senior T. J. Lawrence.

Hanie gave the Rams a 14-3 lead late in the quarter, hooking up with John Mosure for a 21-yard score. In the second quarter, the Rams extended their lead to 17-3 with a 40-yard field goal by Jason Smith.

The Cougars came back early in the third quarter, as Keenum connected on a 30- yard pass to L. J. Castile. Colorado State added to its lead halfway through the quarter, as Hanie completed a 53-yard pass to Luke Roberts to put the Rams ahead, 24-10. A few minutes later Houston pulled within a touchdown, as Keenum found Perry McDaniel for a 27-yard score.

The Cougars tied the game a 24-24 in the closing minutes of the third quarter, as junior cornerback Kenneth Fontenette recovered a Kyle Bell fumble and returned it 37 yards for the touchdown.

The Rams regained the lead at 27-24 halfway through the fourth quarter on a 31-yard field goal by Smith. The Cougars answered back minutes later, as Keenum rushed for an eight-yard score. Keenum dove into the end zone once again with less than two minutes to play with a one-yard touchdown that gave the Cougars the 38-27 win.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

2007-08 Houston Swimming and Diving Preview

Houston has finished among the Top 25 leaders at the NCAA Championships for seven straight years

(HOUSTON, TX, Septemebr 20, 2007) Fresh off its seventh consecutive season among the Top 25 leaders at the NCAA Championships, the University of Houston swimming and diving team looks to extend that streak and rise even higher in 2007-08. The Cougars, who return 11 letterwinners from last season's squad, welcome seven award-winning newcomers to the program. UH also set a school single-season record with 18 dual-meet wins, doubling the previous record.

A year ago, the Cougars finished fourth at the Conference USA Championship as junior Andrea Pa'lmai won the 400-yard individual medley for the second straight season and sophomore Jessica Shamburger captured the 100-yard backstroke crown during her first league meet.

That duo, along with senior captain Nicole Vaiana and juniors Sasha Schwendenwein and Doreen Polotzek will provide leadership for the 2007-08 team, both in and out of the water.

The Cougar swimmers will be heavily counted upon this season as the UH diving program could be without its top two competitors this season. Both Anastasia Pozdniakova and senior captain Ginni van Katwijk could sit out the entire 2007-08 campaign as they train to represent their respective countries during the 2008 Olympic Games.

But, if the early signs are any indication, the 2007-08 season could be one of the best yet, according to head coach Mark Taylor.

"The team looks like it is ready to go. Some of them have already been training on their own to get themsleves ready," said Taylor, who begins his sixth year at UH. "They are in better shape this year than they were last year. Many of them have taken it upon themselves to keep themselves in shape all year long."

FREESTYLE: Schwendenwein was among the Cougars' steadiest performers a year ago and should emerge as a team leader in 2007-08.

The Randburg, South Africa, native posted UH season-best times in the 100-, 200- and 500-yard freestyle events while adding her name to the Cougar records book in all three events.

Schwendenwein also was a key member in relay events, earning four All-Conference honors in the 400- and 800-yard freestyle relays as well as the 200- and 400-yard medley relays.

Pa'lmai is another regular in the Cougar lineup in the distance events. A year ago, the Budapest, Hungary, native recorded the Cougars' fastest season times in both the 1,000- and 1,650-yard freestyle events, finishing at least 30 seconds ahead of her closest competitor in both events.

Like Schwendenwein, Pa'lmai was a key member in relay events with All-Conference USA recognition in the 400- and 800-yard freestyle relays and the 400-yard medley relay.
Shamburger should be another weapon for the Cougars in the sprint freestyle after a year of experience under her belt.

Competing in her first collegiate season in 2006-07, Shamburger led all Cougars with a time of 24.01 in the 50-yard freestyle, the seventh-fastest time in school history.

Polotzek joined the Cougars at the semester break in 2007 and was a valuable resource in the sprint freestyle events. The Essen, Germany, native also was a member of the Cougars' All-Conference USA 200-yard medley relay team.

Vaiana is the only senior swimmer in 2007-08 and will be looked to for leadership, both in and out of the water.

A year ago, Vaiana proved to be a versatile swimmer, posting the second-best times among all Cougar swimmers in the 100-, 200- and 1,000-yard freestyle events.
Linda Fox returns for her sophomore season and will add considerable depth in all freestyle events.

Freshmen Brittany Copeland, Lindsey Graves and Markee Johnson join the Cougar program for the first time in 2007-08 and should compete regularly in these events.

BREASTSTROKE: Donna MacLeod returns for her sophomore season after gaining a year of experience during her first collegiate season a year ago.
Last season, MacLeod posted the Cougars' second-fastest times in both the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke events.

Polotzek did not compete regularly in this event a year ago but should see considerable time in the water in this event in 2007-08.

BACKSTROKE: Shamburger enjoyed tremendous success in the backstroke as a true freshman and should be a leader for the Cougars in this event in 2007-08.

A year ago, the Spring native captured the 100-yard backstroke title at the C-USA Championship and was a member of three All-Conference USA relay teams.
Her time of 56.36 at that meet was the second-fastest time in UH history and set a Campus Recreation & Wellness Center Natatorium record by a Cougar swimmer.

For her impressive accomplishments, Shamburger was honored as the C-USA Freshman Swimmer of the Year, a first in program history.

While Shamburger dominated the 100-yard event, Pa'lmai was the Cougar leader in the 200-yard event. She posted the Cougars' nine fastest times in that event and finished as the runner-up at the C-USA meet.

Vaiana, Fox, Michelle Hall and Kristine Kelly should be valuable contributors in this event in 2007-08.

Freshman Paige Bissett joins Copeland and Johnson as the newcomers in the Cougar backstroke corps.

BUTTERFLY: Schwendenwein and Polotzek should emerge as the Cougars' returning leaders in this event.

Schwendenwein is the Cougars' leading performer in the 100-yard event, while Polotzek topped UH in the 200-yard event.

Hall returns for her junior season and should add considerable depth in this event.

Andrea Kells is the lone newcomer for the Cougars in the butterfly events and will add depth.

INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY: For the second straight season, the Cougars can boast of a C-USA champion in this event after Pa'lmai successfully defended her title in the 400-yard individual medley.

She recorded the Cougars' seven fastest times in the longer event and will again be a force to be reckoned with in C-USA.

Kelly and MacLeod were regular competitors in these events during their first collegiate season and will benefit from that year of experience in 2007-08.

DIVING: The Cougar diving team always ranks among the nation's best each year, and the 2007-08 campaign should be no different.

Under the leadership of diving head coach Jane Figueiredo - who enters her 18th season at Houston - Cougar divers always are well represented at the NCAA Championships.

However, the team will be changed this season with the temporary loss of the top two returnees.

Pozdniakova and van Katwijk are expected to sit out the year as they prepare to qualify for and represent their respective countries at the 2008 Olympic Games.

With that in mind, two freshmen -- Courtney Forcucci and Lacey Truelove -- could very well represent the entire Cougar diving team in 2007-08. Although both divers are young and inexperienced at the collegiate level, Figueiredo said she would not have brought the divers into the program if she believed they could not handle the challenge.

"We knew there was a chance that Ginni and Nastia weren't gong to compete, so we had to bring in some people that were going to be able to step right in," Figueiredo said. "I don't want to recruit someone and wait for four years."

Competing during her first collegiate season, Forcucci is unlike most freshmen after gaining plenty of experience through Junior Olympics competition.

Truelove possesses great tools for diving and gives the team a true platform specialist.

While each diver may go through some ups and downs during their freshmen seasons, Figueiredo is confident about their chances for success in their first year at UH.
"With freshmen, you always make a lot of changes. They are young and they don't know what this is all about," Figueiredo said. " It's going to be tough at times, but they can do it."

In 2006-07, divers Anastasia Pozdniakova and Ginni van Katwijk competed in their first NCAA Championships, scoring all 38 of Houston's points and earning All-America honors.

With a year of experience under their belt, more of the same will be expected.
Pozdniakova finished as the national runner-up on the 3-meter springboard at the NCAA meet and received All-America accolades in the 1-meter event.

A five-time C-USA Diver of the Week recipient, Pozdniakova swept both springboard events at the C-USA Championship and captured both titles at the NCAA Zone D meet to qualify for the NCAA postseason.

She was an easy selection as both the C-USA Diver of the Year and C-USA Diver of the Meet.

van Katwijk was a newcomer to the Cougar program a year ago but wasted little time in making her impact felt.

The Grootebroek, Netherlands, native was named the C-USA Diver of the Week in late January and joined Pozdniakova as the only competitors to finish among the Top Three leaders in all events at the C-USA Championship.
After finishing third on the 3-meter board at the NCAA Zone D meet, van Katwijk qualified for the NCAA Championship, where she finished second in the consolation finals on the platform. With that impressive showing, she also earned her first All-America honor.

van Katwijk was the latest Cougar diver to earn a C-USA postseason award, claiming the league's first Newcomer of the Year honor in 2007.

Watching over the divers will be Figuieredo, who continues to add to her impressive resume each season. In 2006-07, her divers were named C-USA Diver of the Year, C-USA Diver of the Meet and C-USA Newcomer of the Year.

With an impressive arsenal like that, Figueiredo was honored as the C-USA Diving Coach of the Year for the sixth straight season, making her the only league coach to win that award.

SCHEDULE: A year after winning 18 dual meets to set a school single-season record, the Cougars will face some of the nation's best swimming and diving programs in 2007-08.

The home schedule includes meets against Rice and LSU (Jan. 25-26) and New Orleans (Feb. 2). The Cougars also will play host to the Phil Hansel Duals Weekend for the second straight season on Oct. 26-27 with Rice, BYU, Florida International and New Orleans scheduled to visit the CRWC Natatorium.

On the diving side, the Cougars will welcome top divers to Houston on Nov. 15-17 for the Houston Diving Invitational.

On the road, the Cougars will compete against Southwestern (Oct. 12), Miami (Fla.) and Indian River Community College - which has won 32 straight NJCAA championships entering 2007-08 - (Nov. 3) North Texas (Jan. 18), SMU (Jan. 19) and Texas A&M (Feb. 1).

The Cougar swimmers will compete at the Miami (Ohio) Invitational on Nov. 29-Dec. 1, while the divers will take part at the Texas Invitational on Nov. 30-Dec. 1.

For the fifth consecutive season, the Cougars will play host to the Conference USA Championship on Feb. 27-March 1 at the CRWC Natatorium.

Houston is the only C-USA school to host the league's annual postseason event at an on-campus site.

The Cougars also will play host to the NCAA Zone D meet on March 14-16 at the CRWC Natatorium. This marks the second time and the first time since 2004 that the Cougars will welcome some of the nation's top collegiate divers to the Bayou City.

The season culminates with the 2008 NCAA Championships, hosted by Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio, on March 20-22.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Eleven Cities Apply to Host the 1st Summer Youth Olympic Games

(LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND, September 3, 2007) The International Olympic Committee (IOC) today announced that 11 cities have been put forward by their respective National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to apply to host the 1st Summer Youth Olympic Games in 2010.

The Candidate Cities, in alphabetical order, are: Algiers 2010 (Algeria), Athens 2010 (Greece), Bangkok 2010 (Thailand), Belgrade 2010 (Republic of Serbia), Debrecen 2010 (Hungary), Guatemala City 2010 (Guatemala), Kuala Lumpur 2010 (Malaysia), Moscow 2010 (Russian Federation), Poznan 2010 (Poland), Singapore 2010 (Singapore) and Turin 2010 (Italy).

The NOCs had until 31 August 2007, midnight, to notify the IOC that a city within their jurisdiction was interested in applying.

The 11 Youth Olympic Games Candidate Cities now have until 26 October to prepare and submit their Candidature Files by replying to the IOC questionnaire. An analysis of their Files by a panel of Olympic Movement experts will allow a short list of Youth Olympic Games Candidate Cities to be drawn up for further evaluations by an IOC Evaluation Commission.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Prairie View Wins 34-14 Over Texas Southern

Running back Calvin Harris scores with 8:33 left in the third quarter to lead Prairie View A & M to a 34-14 win over Texas Southern. (Photo by Darla Tamulitis-TexSport Publications).

By Robert H. Kelly

(HOUSTON, TEXAS, September 1, 2007) Based on an evenly balance passing and running attack, their defensive play, and 31 second half points, Prairie View A & M dismantled Texas Southern 34-14 in the season opener for both schools at Reliant Stadium.

The Panthers (1-0) came out from a 3-0 half time score and totally dominated the Tigers to win their third Labor Day Classic during Coach Henry Frazier’s tenure as head coach.

Prairie View’s balanced attack accounted for 156 yards passing and 155 yard rushing, while scoring two field goals along with four touchdowns.

Turnovers also played a major part in the win, with the Panthers forcing five turnovers in the second half.

Panther free safety Anthony Beck found the end zone after intercepting a Tino Edgecombe passes, returning it 94-yard for the touchdown. Quarterback Chris Gibson also got into the scoring act with a touchdown of his own. He went 10 for 21, passing for 103 yards while rushing for 123 yard on 13 carries.

Gibson scored his touchdown on a 52-yard run to put the score at 10-0. Running back Calvin Harris also put points on the board as the result of a six yard run with 8:33 left in the 3rd quarter. His effort took the score to 17-0 in favor of the Panthers.

Prairie View increased its lead to 20-0 with a Brady Faggard field goal with 2:15 left tin the third quarter. Texas Southern then marched 60 yards in five plays to the Panthers 8 yard line on their next possession, but Beck picked off the first and goal pass to shut down the Tigers.

The Tigers finally got on the board with a 54-yard pass to wide receiver Bryan Wilson with 4:32 remaining in the game. They added another touchdown with 1:16 left in the game but they would not be enough to overcome the onslaught of the Panthers.

In 62 meetings between the two schools, Texas Southern holds the most victories (40) to Prairie View’s 21. One game has ended in a tie.

Texas Southern will now face Alabama State on the road while Prairie View travels to Los Angeles to meet North Carolina A & T. Both games are set for next Saturday.