Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Houston Swimming and Diving Plays Host to 2008 C-USA Women¹s Championship

HOUSTON, TEXAS (February 26, 2008) ­For the fifth straight season, some of the nation's top collegiate swimmers and divers will visit Houston during the 2008 Conference USA Women¹s Swimming and Diving Championship and Invitational.

The meet begins at 3 p.m., Feb. 27 at the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center Natatorium with the preliminaries of the men's 1-meter diving. Finals begin at 6 p.m. and will include the men's 1-meter diving as well as the men¹s and women's 200-yard medley relay and 800-yard freestyle relay.

The final three days of the four-day meet features swimming preliminaries beginning at 10 a.m., each day. Diving preliminaries are slated to start at 1 p.m., with the finals for all events beginning at 6 p.m., each day.

In addition to the Cougars, the women¹s side of the meet features C-USA rivals East Carolina, Marshall, Rice and SMU as well as Cal State Bakersfield, Northern Colorado. The men¹s side of the Invitational features East Carolina, SMU, Hawai¹i and Cal State Bakersfield.

This marks the fifth straight season that Houston has hosted the league's postseason extravaganza. The Cougars are the only school to host the Championship at an on-campus site.

All-session tickets are available for only $25 for adults and $10 for youth. Single-day tickets are available for $10 for adults and $5 for students with ID. Youth includes children from 3 years old to high school. Children who are 2 years old and younger are admitted free.

All students from Conference USA schools are admitted free with a valid student ID. Fans should note that cash only will be accepted at the Tickets table.

There will be no charge for all fans for Wednesday night's opening session. Fans attending sessions beginning Thursday morning will be charged accordingly.

Gates will open, and tickets will be sold beginning one hour prior to the meet. In addition, a wide variety of Championship merchandise will be available near the Tickets table.

The Cougars, competing under sixth-year head coach Mark Taylor, finished fourth a year ago and look to improve their standing during the 2008 meet. UH finished the regular season with a 9-8 record in dual meets, marking the program's third straight winning season.

It was the first time since 1983-86 that UH accomplished that feat. This season, the UH swimmers are led by juniors Sasha Schwendenwein and Andrea Pa'lmai.

Schwendenwein has posted the Cougars¹ season-best times in the 50-, 100-, 200- and 500-yard freestyle events as well as the 200-yard butterfly. The Randburg, South Africa, native already has provisionally qualified for the 2008 NCAA Championships with her time of 1:49.88 in the 200-yard freestyle during the Miami (Ohio) Invitational on Nov. 30, 2007.

Pa'lmai also has emerged as one of the Cougars¹ most consistent performers. The Budapest, Hungary, native leads all Cougar swimmers in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke as well as the 200-yard backstroke.

As impressive as the Cougar swimmers have been this season and at past C-USA Championships, the UH divers have established themselves as some of the nation's best.

Under the leadership of 18-year head coach Jane Figueiredo, senior captain Ginni van Katwijk and freshmen Courtney Forcucci and Lacey Truelove are expected to do well at the 2008 meet.

The Cougars have dominated diving at the C-USA Championship, winning six straight championships on the 1- and 3-meter springboards and the platform.

Cougar divers also have been honored as the C-USA Diver of the Year and Diver of the meet during each of the last six seasons, while Figueiredo has been honored for six straight years as the Diving Coach of the Year.

SMU comes into the meet as the two-time defending champions, while Rice and East Carolina each finished second in the standings during the last two years.

On the men¹s side, SMU returns as the two-time defending champions with East Carolina and Hawai¹i finished second in each of the last two years.

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