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Saturday, December 2, 2023

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Freshmen swimmers make waves


With a season-opening win behind them, the members of the UH swim team are ready for a successful campaign this season.

This season, 11 letter winners from last season’s squad are returning and are joined by seven award-winning freshmen.

The freshmen were a driving force in the 116-85 UH win on Oct. 12 at the Houston-Southwestern meet.

Paige Bissett notched two wins in individual events, finishing first in the 200-yard individual medley with 2:19.08 and the 100-yard backstroke with 1:02.15.

Fellow freshmen Brittany Copeland and Andrea Kells also had great showings at their first collegiate meet.

Copeland won the 50-yard freestyle in 25.71, while Kells took first in the 100-yard butterfly event with 59.73.

The Cougars, whose 18 dual-meet wins set a school single-season record last season, defeated the Pirates for the second straight season, winning seven individual events and on relay.

The swimming team is expected to take the reigns as UH lost its two top diving competitors junior Anastasia Pozdniakova and senior captain Ginni van Katwijk.

Pozdniakova and Katwijk are sitting out the 2007-08 season to train for the 2008 Olympic Games, in which they will be representing Russia and the Netherlands, respectively.

Juniors Andrea Pa’lmai and Sasha Schwendenwien are expected to emerge as leaders this season.

Pa’lmai, a regular in-distance events, won the 400-yard individual medley at last season’s Conference USA Championships to help the Cougars to a fourth place finish.

She also garnered All-Conference recognition in the 400-yard medley relay and the 400- and 800-yard freestyle relays.

Schwendenwein was also a key member of last season’s team, earning four All-Conference honors in relay events.

Nicole Vaiana, a versatile swimmer, is the lone returning senior on the team.

Sophomore Donna MacLeod returns as a leader in breastroke events after completing her first collegiate season in which she recorded the second-fastest time in both the 100 and 200-yard breastroke events.

MacLeod finished 22 seconds ahead of her closest competitor when she recorded a fist place finish in the 1,000-yard freestyle with 11:25 at the Oct. 12 Houston-Southwestern meet.


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