UH experiments in tuneup for C-USA Championships
The Cougars swam against the sixth-ranked Texas A&M Aggies in a dual meet Friday at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Natatorium and did so with a noticeably smaller team.
The meet consisted of 35 swimmers for Texas A&M going against 20 swimmers for UH. The Cougars, therefore, were faced with the difficult task of not only winning but also placing.
Unfortunately for UH, the final tally had Texas A&M scoring 177 points compared to 110 for the Cougars.
While the Aggies are loaded with talented swimmers and divers, UH head coach Mark Taylor said depth was a significant factor.
“Texas A&M is probably one of the top three teams in the country,” Taylor said. “They’re just incredible, are so talented (and) have so much depth, and the one thing we don’t have this year is the depth.”
Despite the results, Taylor said he was proud of the way the team swam.
“We had a lot of positive results, (and) the girls’ attitudes were excellent,” Taylor said. “We actually had some girls do best times tonight, and they shouldn’t physically be able to do best times as hard as they’re working right now. That only comes when you rest for the big championship meets.
“That’s what we want right now. If they do best times now, they’re going to swim even faster in the conference championships.”
Among the winners for the Cougars were Beccy Hillis in the 100-yard breaststroke with a mark of 1 minute, 5.23 seconds and diver Anastasia Pozdniakova, who’s making a habit of sweeping diving events.
Pozdniakova finished first in the 1-meter with a 355.28 score and the 3-meter with 401.63. And despite winning only three events, the Cougars still placed in 12 of the 16 events that featured at least three participants.
The Cougars also used the meet to experiment with racing swimmers in events different than what they’re accustomed to.
Reka Kovacs normally does the breaststroke and individual medley, but she did the butterfly. Natalie Newcomb also did the butterfly, but normally swims breaststroke and freestyle. Rachel Holcomb does freestyle, but did the butterfly, and Andrea Kells swims fly or breast, but she swam freestyle. Kim Eeson and Haley Weathers are both freestyle, but they also did the butterfly.
“We wanted to try some out,” Taylor said. “People swim different in practice then they do in meets and, by racing in a meet, we can see better what the potential for that athlete is in the future. If it’s not there, we just have to go on and try a different event.”
The Cougars will finish the regular season against Texas at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center in the Second Annual Sprint for the Cure meet, which raises awareness for breast cancer research, before resting for the Conference USA Championships.