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Sunday, December 6, 2020

Swimming & Diving

UH nearly takes down No. 3 Texas


The Cougars entered Wednesday’s dual meet against Texas with the challenge of facing the No. 3 team in the nation.

But both teams helped tackle an even bigger challenge: fighting breast cancer.

The Longhorns won the brief, 16-event Sprint for the Cure Meet, which UH hosts annually to raise awareness for breast cancer research.

Despite losing its last tuneup before the Conference USA Championships, which UH will host from February 24-27, head coach Mark Taylor was thrilled with his team’s performance

“We were fantastic. I mean I don’t think we could have swam any better if it was the first day of (the) conference (meet),” Taylor said. “They’re still tired, they’re still sore, they’re still cranky because we’re making them train a lot. But they stepped up and raced today, and that’s what we were supposed to do.”

Taylor said this meet is more a credit to the talent of the Longhorns.

“They’re ranked third. I think they’re higher than that, and we raced them; it was close,” Taylor said. “We really had outstanding performances. Andrea Kells looked fantastic today, and so did Kim Eeson. Moira Fraser from Zimbabwe has really busted out, just like we were hoping she would.”

Kells won the 50-yard butterfly with a time of 26.22.

Eeson finished second in both the 300-yard, and 50-yard freestyle events.

Beccy Hillis finished second in the 75-yard and 50-yard breaststroke events, and Jessica Schamburger finished second in the 50-yard backstroke.

Diver Anastasia Pozdniakova ran away with the 1-meter diving event, finishing with a score of 345.45. Lacey Truelove (277.35), and Julia Lonnegren (245.40) also delivered successful performances for UH, finishing second and third, respectively.

Pozdniakova also won the 3-meter diving event with a 378.98 score. Meanwhile, Truelove grabbed another second-place finish (296.18).

After watching his team compete against elite squads such as Texas, Taylor believes there’s a lot to be encouraged heading into the C-USA Championships.

“All of the relay starts started looking better. Little things like that, that we’re trying to improve on,” Taylor said. “Shaving off tenths of a second here, half a second there; we’re on our way.

“This was exactly what we needed. It prepares us to be ready to go out and do our jobs. We’re going to swim fast, we’re just on our way.”

Both Schamburger, and Pozdniakova were honored for senior night before the meet as a tribute to their careers as student athletes. But their time in the pool isn’t over yet.

“Now we have two weeks of rest and final preparation,” Taylor said. “They’re going to do awesome at the conference championships.”

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