Swimming & Diving Finishes Fourth At C-USA Championships
Best Team Finish Since Joining C-USA For 2013-14 Season
Conference USA Championships Day 4 Results | Conference USA Championships ALL EVENTS Results
ATLANTA — After four days of competition at the Conference USA Championships, the North Texas swimming and diving team leaves Atlanta with a fourth-place finish, the best team finish since joining the league for the 2013-14 season. The Mean Green capped the week with two more podium finishes, including a first-place finish that is the first for the program since joining the league.
Freshman Rebekah Bradley, who set the school record and placed second overall in the 100-yard backstroke on Friday, took home first place and the gold medal in the 200-yard backstroke on Saturday. She posted an NCAA B time standard in both the morning preliminaries (1:57.01) and evening finals (1:56.45). She becomes the second-fastest performer in school history, and her time in the finals is the second-fastest time in school history.
Like Bradley, sophomore Claudia Kitching also took home her second medal of the week, finishing in second place and winning the silver medal in the 200-yard breaststroke. She also posted an NCAA B time standard in both the morning preliminaries (2:14.90) and evening finals (2:13.18). She also becomes the second-fastest performer in school history, and her time in the finals is the second-fastest time in school history.
“We had a lot of ups and downs this week,” head coach Brendon Bray said. “We were a little apprehensive to get going the first couple of days, but we settled down the next day and we had a really good the last day. And we’re set up well for the future. Claudia Kitching, Sarah Vaisse, Rebekah Bradley, Sara Whelan and Caroline Culpepper were all very impressive and scored a lot of points for us. Samantha Scheck was a finalist on all three boards in diving, so we have a lot of things to look forward to in the future.”
Another school record also fell on Saturday, as senior Jasmine Abercrombie capped a stellar career on the board with a fifth-place finish and school-record score of 207.65 in the platform diving competition.
“It’s very rewarding for a coach to see a senior step up to the challenge of knowing it was her last meet and putting together a great lift,” diving coach Mark Murdock said. “She fought for every point that she earned. She did really well, and it’s great to see that happen, especially with a senior, who had just one year with a new coach and kind of had to change her style of diving, but she really accepted the challenge tonight.”
In the pool, Bradley and Kitching were joined in “A” finals by junior Ash Stone in the 200-yard backstroke and sophomore Caroline Culpepper in the 200-yard butterfly. Stone finished eighth overall, clocking a time of 2:01.15 in the finals, becoming the fourth-fastest performer in school history. Culpepper took fifth overall with a time of 2:01.80 in the finals. She becomes the second-fastest performer in school history, and her time is the sixth-fastest.
North Texas sent nine other swimmers to “B” finals, including a trio to the “B” final of the 100-yard freestyle, highlighted by senior Bianca Bocsa, who won the event with a time of 51.13.
Other “B” finalists included senior Gaby Colunga in both the 200-yard backstroke and 200-yard butterfly, senior Sarah Manning in the 200-yard backstroke, sophomore Isabelle Morris and freshman Katie Moore in the 100-yard freestyle, freshman Meaghan Rousset and sophomore Sarah Vaisse in the 200-yard breaststroke, and freshman Sara Whelan in the 200-yard butterfly.
On the boards, Abercrombie was joined in the “A” final by junior Samantha Scheck, who advanced to the “A” final in all three diving competitions. She posted the seventh-highest score in the morning preliminaries (174.80) and then finished eighth overall with a score of 169.80 in the evening
finals. Freshman Averie Ruiz and sophomore Cecilia Hernandez both competed in the “B” finals.
As a team, the Conference USA Championships caps one of the most successful seasons in school history. The 2015-16 season saw not only the best Conference USA finish in school history, but also the second-most dual-meet wins (7-4) and second-best winning percentage (.636) in school history.
Bradley, who holds three NCAA B time standard in both the 100-yard and 200-yard backstroke, and Kitching, who holds two NCAA B time standards in the 100-yard breaststroke and five more in the 200-yard breaststroke, will also await to learn if their times will qualify them for the NCAA Championships in March.
“We’re rising as a program,” Bray said. “We’re going to challenge in this conference and challenge nationally. If we had a couple of things go our way, we could have been challenging for that second or third spot. Regardless, we’re excited that we moved up a spot from last year, and we want to continue to establish ourselves in the conference. And I think there are great things to come next season.”