Sports Swimming & Diving

Swimming and diving takes third straight conference title

Junior Zarena Brown took home seven medals at the American Athletic Conference Championships. | Courtesy of UH Athletics

Houston won its third straight American Athletic Conference Championship Saturday with over 300 points more than the team that took second place.

In the 800-yard freestyle relay, Houston won gold with the team of sophomores Mykenzie Leehy, Samantha Medlin, Morgan Rosas and junior Zarena Brown.

The unit of juniors Laura Laderoute and Peyton Kondis, sophomore Katie Higgins and Leehy also won gold in the 200-yard medley relay.

In the 400-yard medley, Houston decisively took gold with a time of 3:36:65, two full seconds faster than the second-place team, with the squad of Laderoute, Kondis, Higgins and Brown.

Brown won gold in the 500-yard freestyle, while sophomore Monique Rae and Medlin took sixth and seventh, respectively, in the event.

Laderoute won first in the 200-yard IM, Kondis took third, senior Eleanna Koutsouveli finished sixth and sophomore Ioanna Sacha ended seventh.

The 50-yard freestyle saw Leehy take second and sophomore Kathryn Power take fifth.

Brown, Laderoute, Power and Leehy later teamed up to win the 200-yard and 400-yard freestyle relays.

Junior Maria Jimenez won bronze in the 400-yard IM while Koutsouveli took fourth and Rosas placed eighth.

Houston was unable to collect any hardware in the 100-yard butterfly, but Higgins and sophomore Rebecca Brandt took points by finishing fifth and sixth, respectively.

Brown won gold again in the 200-yard freestyle, and Leehy was right behind her in second. Medlin also finished in the top eight at seventh.

Kondis, Jimenez and junior Angeliki Mavrantza finished second, third and fourth in the 100-yard breaststroke and nearly had a clean sweep of the podium.

Laderoute won the 100-yard backstroke while Sacha took fourth and Power fifth.

In the long distance race of the 1650-yard freestyle, Houston’s best swimmers were freshman Haley Benjamin, who finished seventh, and sophomore Reese Lamph, who finished eighth.

Unlike the 100-yard breaststroke, Houston was able to secure the clean sweep of the medals in the 200-yard backstroke with Rae, Koutsouveli and Laderoute finishing first, second and third. Sacha was also close at fifth.

The 100-yard freestyle saw more medals fall into Houston hands as Brown and Leehy repeated their 200-yard performances by taking first and second. Power finished seventh with a personal best time of 50.64s in the event.

Kondis, Jimenez and Mavrantza took silver, fourth and fifth in the 200-yard breaststroke, respectively.

The 200-yard butterfly was one of the few events that Houston did not medal in, but Brandt did take fourth. 

On the platforms, Houston divers took an array of medals.

Freshman Katie Deininger took fourth in the 1m dive, the bronze in the 3m dive, the gold in the platform dive and won AAC Freshman of the Year after a phenomenal season.

Junior Lauren Burrell finished fifth in the 1m dive and took the silver medal in the 3m dive.

The event wrapped up the Cougars’ season, and the team will now look to see if anyone qualified for the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships.

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