Feb. 20, 2013
HOUSTON - The Tulane University women's swimming and diving team got off to a red-hot start to the 2013 Conference USA Championship meet as the Green Wave set program records in the 200 medley relay and 800 free relay on Wednesday evening at the University of Houston's Campus Recreation and Wellness Center Natatorium.
With a combined 62 points through two events, the Green Wave are currently third among the seven participating teams with 62 points. Tulane trails second-placed Houston by just a pair while Rice leads the team standings with 74 points. East Carolina is fourth with 60 points, followed by Marshall and SMU with 54 and 40, respectively.
"This was a great start for us, not only in the swims and the team's overall mentality, but also letting the rest of the conference know that we're here," Tulane interim head coach T.J. Natal said. "We talked about it with the relay girls before that the rest of the team will be looking at them to see how they swim and relay it back to themselves. Setting a record in not just one relay but both of them and having them that far underneath the school record, that definitely gives us a morale boost and it can help carry us through the next couple of days."
Freshmen Elizabeth Cook and Mia Schachter, along with seniors Kayla Alf-Huynh and Kristine Gu opened the record-setting day with a 1:41.29 in the 200 medley to finish second in the event. Their time is almost two seconds faster than the previous Tulane mark of 1:43.15 set by Alf-Huynh, Erin Cunningham, Grace Tarka and Hagar Elgendy at the C-USA meet on Feb. 23, 2011.
Cook swam a leadoff split of 26.10 in the 50-yard backstroke, followed by Schachter's 27.45 50-yard butterfly, Alf-Huynh's 24.60 50-yard breaststroke and Gu's 23.14 50-yard freestyle.
"It wasn't just one individual swimming that much faster," Natal said. "The great thing was it was really a combined effort of all four girls in the relays. Something that made it a little more special in the medley relay was Mia having the fastest breaststroke split in the entire meet. All the other coaches were talking about it as well as parents from the other teams. Everybody was really taking notice of it. It really was a combined effort. All of the girls went best times in both of the relays and that shows you how far underneath the school records we were."
One event later, senior Allie Evans, senior Gisele Calderon, junior Cari Caprio and senior Lauren Pfohl joined forces to post a 7:23.20 in the 800 free to finish fifth overall. The quartet's mark was nearly five-and-a-half seconds better than the former record of 7:28.69 established by Cara Davidoff, Kate Naglick, Victoria Givens and Tiffany Brown on Feb. 22, 2006, at that year's C-USA Championship.
Evans posted a 1:51.07 leadoff split, followed by Calderon's 1:50.05, Caprio's 1:51.30 and Pfohl's anchor leg of 1:50.78.
"I think today was just the start for us," Natal added. "We sort of opened up all the other teams' eyes as to what we were here to do, and it also kind of reassured us. It showed us what a great meet this is going to be. We talked as a team about really wanting to rewrite the record book in individuals and relays across the board. I think this really set us up for a dynamite meet."
The field at the 2013 C-USA Swimming & Diving Championship returns to action on Thursday with the 500 free, 200 IM, 50 free and concludes with the 400 medley relay. From there, the teams will swim the 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast, 100 back and 200 free relay on Friday, before holding the 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, 200 fly and 1650 free on Saturday. Preliminaries for all swimming events begin each day at 10 a.m. with finals slated to begin at 6 p.m.
In addition, the preliminaries and semifinals of the three-meter springboard are slated for Thursday morning with the final scheduled for the evening. Friday, meanwhile, will feature the complete competition in the one-meter springboard with the platform scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m.