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Volume 72, Issue 55, Monday, November 6, 2006

Sports

UH laps field at Hansel Duals

Houston takes victory over Rice for first time since 1992 season 

by JONG LEE
The Daily Cougar

The Cougar swimming and diving team had their hands clutched and waited in anticipation. For the first time in over a decade, Houston had a chance to hand a loss to Rice. The team huddled together, hoping their last team relay time was just enough to get them by.

The Cougars (9-2) ended on a good note Saturday by winning four of five dual meets and picked up wins over Rice (176-171), Mesa State College (297-37), Trinity University (281.50- 66.50), and University of New Orleans (262-85) while dropping its only decision to University of Nevada (203-150). 

Senior Szintia Szanto finished first in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:02.61. She also finished second in the 100-yard breaststroke. With her senior season in full-swing, Szanto is optimistic about the rest of the season.

"I'm very excited about (senior season) because I've never seen our team be this good," Szanto said. "What I really like is to have this team's spirit, which is to have all the girls come together and cheer for each other. It's really great, and I'm very excited about conference and hopefully we can be up there."

Sophomore Andrea Pa'lmai took home wins in the 200-yard backstroke and the 400-yard individual medley, with times of 2:04.72 and 4:27.57 respectively. Sophomore Sasha Schwendenwein took first in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:59.04. The Cougar 400-yard medley relay team posted a time of 3:55.51 to take second place.

"It was really a tough two days," head coach Mark Taylor said. "We are extremely proud of the way we performed. The girls all stepped up and swam brilliantly. 

"We are looking forward to going back and dissecting everything that happened this weekend. Outstanding leadership from our upperclassmen, and our freshmen really stepped up and showed that they're going to be something to make in this conference championship," Taylor said.

Assistant swim coach Jarrod Marrs believes they're heading in the right direction.

"The girls are getting better every meet," Marrs said. "They swam so well, I couldn't be happier ...They're going to get better and better, it's definitely a positive."

The scores were read one by one. The announcement was made 176-171. The Cougars leapt in joy and screamed as they celebrated their first win against the cross-town rivals since 1992. The emotions ran high and Taylor quickly calmed them down. The team walked away all smiles to go congratulate the rest of the teams for coming out for the meet.

"We are extremely proud that we were able to beat Rice for the first time in 14 years," Taylor said. "It's truly a great accomplishment and all I can say is if it wasn't for the young ladies we have and how hard they've worked over the last year, two years, three years we've had them here in this program. They've been working for today and they got that."

"They're our in-town rivals and we've never beaten them since I've been here. It's been 14 years and my athletic director told me that we should beat them in everything we do, that's my goal." Taylor said.

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