Swimming & Diving take home first conference championship ever
No University of Houston swimmer or diver has ever held a first place conference trophy until last Saturday. And they did so in their own house.
In the 42nd year of the program’s existence, Houston’s swimming and diving team won the American Athletic Conference Championship. With a score of 772, Houston defeated the three-time defending champion SMU which placed second with 676.
“This program has a long history with Olympic medalists and finalists and NCAA champions and finalists, but we’ve never had a conference championship,” head coach Ryan Wochomurka said in a news release. “It’s something we set out to do as a coaching staff when we first got here. That’s the vision for this program and the opportunity to get just a little bit better. This is a step along the way in how we can continue to become more relevant nationally.”
The Cougars claimed three individual titles throughout the event. The first came in day two with freshman Laura Laderoute taking home gold in the 200-yard individual medley. She bested her record from earlier this season with a time of 2:00.02. In day three, freshman Peyton Kondis won the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:00.73 and junior Micaela Bouter won the 3-meter dive with a score of 328.70.
Bouter was named the American’s diver of the year.
By the end of the event, numerous Houston records were shattered.
The Cougars set four relay records over the four day event. The first was in the 200-yard medley relay with a team of sophomore Eleanna Koutsouveli, Kondis, Laderoute and junior Cait Horner. They placed in second with a time of 1:39.17.
The next came in the 800-yard freestyle medley with a team of freshman Zarena Brown, junior Ksenia Yuskova, senior Michaela Hamrick and sophomore Hannah Herbst. They placed fourth with a time of 7:13.35.
In day two, the Cougar team of Horner, Laderoute, freshman Zarena Brown and Yuskova broke the school’s record in the 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:31.61. They finished third in the event.
In the 400-yard medley relay, the team of Laderoute, Kondis, junior Sharo Rodriguez and Yuskova broke the program’s record time of 1:45.82. They finished second overall.
In the final event of the championship, Brown, Laderoute, Yuskova and Horner replaced Houston’s record in the 400-yard freestyle relay with a time of 3:20.71. They finished third overall.
For individual events, the Cougars rewrote four first place records in the program’s history.
In the 100-yard breaststroke, Kondis bested her record from earlier this season in the prelims with a time of 1:00.56.
Koutsouveli set the school record in the 100-yard backstroke in the prelims with a time of 53.74. She finished third overall with a time of 54.07 behind Laderoute in second with a time of 53.81. The next day in the 200-yard backstroke, Koutsouveli broke another record with a time of 1:55.97 to take home second.
The last record came in the 100-yard freestyle with Brown swimming a time of 49.80 in the prelims.
Wochomurka was named the AAC coach of the year, and diving coach Bob Gunter was named co-diving coach of the year.
“I’m excited for these kids and most importantly I’m excited for these seniors because they had a couple of years where they struggled, but they battled and they led us to this championship,” said Wochomurka. “We are not here today without our seniors.”