Sports Swimming & Diving

No. 21 Houston takes Phill Hansel Invitational for third straight year

The No. 21 Cougars accumulated over 1,700 points over three days in Houston's win at the Phil Hansel Invitational. | Courtesy of UH athletics

The No. 21 Cougars accumulated over 1,700 points over three days in Houston’s win at the Phill Hansel Invitational. | Courtesy of UH athletics

For the third year in a row, No. 21 Houston won the Phill Hansel Invitational on Saturday afternoon at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center after beating the competition by almost 600 points.

Preliminaries began on Thursday with the Cougars closing out the first day with a total of 537 points and eight swimmers advancing to the finals of the 500 yard freestyle. Junior Samantha Medlin and senior Zarena Brown both posted first-place finishes.

In the final, Brown came out on top with the best time of her career at 4:44.89.

Senior Peyton Kondis topped her previous record in the 200 yard individual medley with a time of 1:58.50 to advance to the final. Junior Ioanna Sancha and senior Laura Lauderoute were right behind her to complete the prelim sweep in the event for Houston, as well as advancing to the finals. 

The 50-yard freestyle saw seven Cougars advance to the finals, led by junior Mykenzie Leehy at 22.83. Leehy smashed the previous record in the final set in 1983 with a time of 22.60. 

For the diving squad, all six Cougars made their way to the final behind senior Lauren Burrell. Burrell led in the finals once again with a 288.20 points. 

The second day of action would follow in the same suit as the first with Kondis shattering her fourth record in just two days and swimming her fastest time of the season in the 100 breaststroke (59.16). The time is currently the second-best in the NCAA. 

The 100-yard butterfly saw five Cougars advance to the finals, with junior Katie Higgins taking second place with a time of 54.24 and scoring Houston another 28 points. 

Brown and Leehy were back on top in the 200 yard freestyle, leading eight Cougars to the finals and finishing at first and second place.

Diving would take a different turn this day as Houston swept all of the top spots in the 3-meter. Burrell was back on top in the final with 311.85 points, followed by sophomore Katie Deininger in second place with 282.25 points and sophomore Makayla Wallar in third with 275.50. 

Houston would end with a total 1,187 points to go into the final day of the Invitational. 

In the 100-yard backstroke on day three, five Cougars advanced to the finals, but it was Sancha that came out on top and set another program record with a 1:55.08 first-place finish. Laderoute followed in second at 1:56.38. 

Leehy was back at it again, setting another program record in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 48.66 to advance to the final and claim the top spot there as well. 

Kondis swept the backstroke events, finishing first in the final of the 200 yard with a time of 2:10.58 after breaking Houston’s previous record in the prelims. She was followed by senior Angeliki Mavrantza in third place in the finals with a time of 2:11.34.

On the boards, three Cougars advanced to the finals but only one could come out on top. Sophomore Chase Farris won the event with 239.60 points, followed closely behind by Deininger with 229.55 points. 

Over the three days, Houston acquired 1,737 points to take first place and leading the second place finisher, Rice, by 593 points. 

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