<b>Erin Flanigan</b><br>Hanszen College

Women's Swimming & Diving

Swimmers Finish Sixth At U.H. Invitational

Nov. 19, 2011

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HOUSTON - Rice true freshman Erin Flanigan posted a pair of third place finishes in two individual events to lead the Rice swim team on the final day of competition at the U.H. Invitational Saturday night across town at the Cougars' Recreation & Wellness Center Natatorium.

Rice again moved up a spot in the team standings to finish sixth in the 10-team field with 360.5 points. SMU won the three-day competition with 855 points. Wyoming was second (496 points), followed by New Mexico State (493), host Houston (434.5) and Colorado State (429). Idaho (340 points), New Mexico (259), the Air Force Academy (198) and C-USA foe Tulane (98) rounded out the final four spots behind Rice.

Flanigan registered third place finishes in both the mile and the 200-yard butterfly with the Owls' fastest marks in each event. The Austin, Tex., native swam a Rice season-best 16:54.40 in the mile to lead a 3-4-5 Owl finish in the championship final. Sophomore Quincy Christian went under the 17-minute mark for the first time this season (16:57.47) to take fourth while senior Alex O'Brien followed with a 17:00.92. Even with three in the top five, the Owls' distance racers weren't quite finished scoring. Nicole Delaloye (17:32.75) and Danielle Spence (17:34.39) both logged season-bests for 12th and 14th, respectively.

Flanigan came back to take third in the finals of the 200-butterfly with a 2:03.70 while senior Shelby Bottoms was fifth (2:04.35). The duo had earned the No. 3 & 4 seeds after some solid results in the morning prelims, highlighted by Flanigan's Rice season-best 2:03.11 and Bottoms' 2:04.34 (that she nearly went on to match in the finals).

Bottoms teamed with Chelsea Fong, Casey Clark and Lilly Marrow on the Owls' 400-freestyle relay that finished fifth with a season-best mark of 3:27.10. The relay was the Blue & Gray's only other finish in the top eight.

Freshman Madison Livingston (2:22.05) and O'Brien (2:24.65) placed 14th and 16th, respectively, in the 100-breaststroke. Sophomore Michelle Gean was 16th in the 200-backstroke after a prelim time of 2:04.52.

Rice also did get two other bright signs that did not appear in the final point totals. One was the return of junior Stephanie Wei to action after being sidelined by an injury the last few weeks. Wei swam a 2:06 23 in the 200-backstroke to take 20th among a field of 50 entrants. The other bright spot to keep an eye on was Casey Clark winning the `C' finals of the 100-free with a season-best 51.91 - the 12th-fastest mark among 87 original entrants.

The complete results from all three days of the three-day invitational meet are viewable at the above links.

The Rice swimmers have one dual meet before taking a break due to the University's final examinations next month. The Owls next compete at longtime rival Texas A&M on Dec. 3 in College Station. The meet is scheduled to start at 1 pm.

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