Swimming & Diving

UH creeps closer to lead in C-USA title meet

Going into the second day of the Conference USA Swimming and Diving Championships, the Cougars were tied for third place with East Carolina with 62 points, 22 points behind frontrunner SMU (80) and just six back of Rice (68).

At the conclusion of Thursday’s meets, UH didn’t catch SMU (270), but took sole possession of third place with 205 points and trails second-place Rice by one.

The Cougars were able to improve their standings via a superb race by Kim Eeson, an intense medley relay and their diving team.

“It was all according to our gameplan,” swimming head coach Mark Taylor said. “We knew what our strengths were, and we played toward our strengths — that’s why we expected our divers to step up and go put four people in the top eight. They help our score immensely.”

In the 3-meter diving event, Anastasia Pozdniakova ran away with a score of 394.30. However, Pozdniakova was ably assisted by her fellow divers. Lacey Truelove finished second with a score of 327.15. Jessalyn Almond performed well and finished fifth with a 306.30 score.

In the 500-yard freestyle, Eeson had a commanding lead during the race, but ceded until the last lap when she was surpassed by Rice’s Karen Gerken, and wound up finishing second place in 4 minutes, 52.40 seconds. Eeson’s time, though, was the sixth fastest in school history.

“I thought she was awesome,” Taylor said. “I thought she fought really, really well — I thought she did a super job of hanging on towards the end there. It was a great swim for her so we’re really thrilled.”

Taylor said though that Eeson would’ve preferred to finish first.

“She doesn’t like to lose at all; she’s tough,” Taylor said.

The Cougars ended the event with a rowdy performance in the 400-yard medley relay, finishing second to SMU in 3:45.54. Swimming for the Cougars was Jessica Shamburger (backstroke), Beccy Hillis (breaststroke), Andrea Kells (butterfly) and Eeson (freestyle).

“In our medley relay, that’s one of our fastest times in school history,” Taylor said. “Jessica Shamburger, with pain in her shoulder, swam unbelievable and made her fastest time of the year; it put us right in the hunt. Beccy Hillis got right out there and nailed a great hundred breaststroke. Eeson got out there and did incredible as well.”

The Cougars hope to better their performances in today’s events.

“We like getting silver medals, but it’s not quite as good as getting gold medals, and that’s what we’re going to go after tomorrow,” Taylor said. “But to only be one point behind Rice and ahead of East Carolina, we’re ecstatic.”

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