Fourteen men’s and women’s individual champions from the 2018 conference meet return to defend their titles in 2019. The Houston women hold 11 top marks in 2019 heading into this year’s championship, while the SMU women own six top marks in The American in this year. ECU leads the men with seven top marks on the league’s performance list, while the Cincinnati and UConn men each hold five No. 1 marks in The American.
AAC Swimming Championships Set to Begin Wednesday in Indianapolis (Conference Champs 3rd time in a row!)
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
* The Cougars will head to the conference championships holding 11 of the top marks in the conference.
* 14 individual champions from last year will return to the meet this year, including four from Houston who combined for six individual championships (Zarena Brown, Peyton Kondis, Eleanna Koutsouveli, Lauren Burrell).
* Houston returns 11 podium finishers from the 2018 meet including Kondis who will be seeking her third straight title in the 100 Breaststroke, winning the event in 2017 and 2018.
* Brown is a six-time individual champion and member of three Houston relays that posted first-place finishes, looking to repeat her stellar performance from last seasons meet.
* Laura Laderoute has been on a hot streak as of late, recently shattering the program record in the 100 Breaststroke at Houston and posting the best time this season in the event in The American.
* Burrell will be seeking her second title in the 3-Meter, currently holding the second best mark in the event in The American this season, followed by Katie Deininger with the third-best mark.
* Houston has posted a conference leading 11 NCAA B-Cut marks this season, including three from Brown.
* Head Coach Ryan Wochomurka is a two-time American Athletic Conference Women’s Coach of the Year, only the second coach in Houston history to win the award multiple times.
Day 1 streams
" It was a great night," said Head Coach Ryan Wochomurka. “Starting with the boards and Coach Bob’s (Gunter) kids. Lauren and Katie getting to finals in the 1-meter, Claire and Makayla getting into the consolation final. They got us off to a great start.”
“To go two-for-two in the relays was very exciting with the school record there on the 200 Medley Relay. It’s a good start and we’ll take that start. Now we have to try and capitalize on that in the morning and execute some great races to get us into the championship finals tomorrow night to score some points. I’m pleased with where we are at, but it’s a long meet and we have six sessions to go. One session out of seven done and we’ve got six to go. We’ll see if we can come out swinging in the morning.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
* The divers got things going for the Cougars, competing in the 1-Meter springboard. Katie Deininger and Lauren Burrell finished in fourth-place and seventh-place, respectively, to move onto the finals in the event.
* Deininger posted an NCAA Diving Zone qualifying mark in the prelims with 274.95 points, her best dive coming on her third attempt when she scored 50.40 points after completing a reverse 1 ½ somersault pike.
* Burrell closed out prelims with 256.50 points, her best dive coming in the third round when she notched 55.20 points after completing a Forward 2 ½ somersault tuck.
* In the finals, the duo finished in the top-five, racking up 29 points for the Cougars.
* Makayla Wallar and Claire Liptak advanced to the consolation final where they finished 11th and 16th overall, respectively. Wallar finished with 246.50 points in the B-Final, while Liptak posted 218.90 points.
* Houston wasted no time setting the standard in the swimming events, taking top honors in both the 800 Freestyle Relay and the 300 Medley Relay.
* Mykenzie Leehy, Samantha Medlin, Morgan Rosas and Zarena Brown combined for a time of 7:11.17 in the 800 Freestyle Relay, taking an early lead and never looking back. Houston won the race by over four seconds.
* In the 200 Medley Relay Laura Laderoute, Peyton Kondis, Katie Higgins and Leehy would best the program record and come from behind to take first-place by 18 milliseconds with a time of 1:37.47.
* Houston closed out the day with 116 points and in first-place overall.
Day 2 Streams
“It was a very impressive day,” said Head Coach Ryan Wochomurka. "Certainly, we had some great swims in the morning and positioned ourselves for the finals this evening. To win three out of four events tonight was special. To finish the night with a school record on that 200 Freestyle relay we hadn’t won before was exciting. "
“We’re three sessions into a seven-session meet. Tomorrow morning will be very telling for the final outcome when you look at point totals. Day three of a meet like this for us is like a golf tournament. It’s moving day. Hopefully we can move, shift a little bit, and put a little separation from a point’s standpoint. Tomorrow morning in the prelims is certainly going to be the biggest challenge. I’m proud of Zarena, Laura, that relay, and certainly Mykenzie for getting on the podium. Our (athletes in the individual Medley) were fantastic tonight. To have four in the finals (of the 200 IM), to have Sam and Monique both make the championship final in the 500 Free, and Haley did a great job in the consolation final. Today was a great day all around and I’m excited to see what we can do tomorrow”.
HOW IT HAPPENED
* The Cougars picked up right where they left off on the previous day, sending four swimmers to finals of the 500 Freestyle. Zarena Brown led the group, finishing in first-place with an NCAA B-Cut time of 4:47.20 in the prelims and advancing to the A-Final where she clocked her second NCAA B-Cut time of 4:45.58 for first-place. Monique Rae ( 6th; 4:53.12), Samantha Medlin(7th; 4:53.25), and Haley Benjamin (13th; 4:54.50) rounded out the field for the Cougars.
* Houston continued to put itself in a good position heading to the evening session after sending a field-leading five swimmers to the finals of the 200 Individual Medley.
* Laura Laderoute led the Cougars, finishing second in the prelims at 2:00.17, followed by Ioanna Sacha in third-place (2:00.17), Peyton Kondis is fourth-place (2:00.24), Eleanna Koutsouveli in seventh-place (2:01.60), and Morgan Rosas in tenth-place (2:02.09).
* In the finals of the 200 IM, Laderoute won the event for the second time in three years after clocking a personal record and NCAA B-Cut time of 1:59.20. Kondis also clocked a personal best and NCAA B-Cut time, finishing third-place at 1:59.50. Eleaanna Koutsouveli (6th; 2:00.27), Ioanna Sacha (7th; 2:00.36), and Morgan Rosas (11th; 2:02.97) rounded out the field for Houston.
* In the final event of the day, Mykenzie Leehy and Kathryn Power advanced to the finals of the 50 Freestyle after posting lifetime best in the prelims. Leehy led Houston with a second-place finish at 22.89 and Power finished in fifth-place at 23.35.
* In the finals of the event, Leehy and Power each posted lifetime best, with Leehy taking second place at 22.76 and Power in fifth-place at 23.16.
* The Cougars once again made a statement in the final event of the day, posting a program best time of 1:30.59 in the 200 Freestyle Relay for first-place. Brown, Laderoute, Power and Leehy posted the third relay win of the meet for the Cougars. The victory also marks the first time the Cougars have won the 200 Freestyle Relay at the conference meet.
* Laderoute has now won the 200 IM twice in three years and Brown is now a back-to-back champion in the 500 Freestyle.
* Houston will head into the third day of competition leading the field with 303 points.
Day 3 Streams
“It was an exciting day for us,” said Head Coach Ryan Wochomurka. “The divers really got us going early, putting three in the championship final. At night, for them to finish how they did is fantastic. I’m really proud of Coach Bob’s kids. What they were able to do for us today is phenomenal. Zarena winning the 200 Freestyle for the second year in a row. Laura Laderoute winning in the 100 Backstroke. Our (swimmers in the Individual Medley) were fantastic, again they continue to be fantastic. Gaby had a phenomenal double from the 400 IM, getting on the podium and turning around an hour later and getting on the podium in the 100 Breaststroke. Peyton Kondis had a phenomenal swim in the 100 Breaststroke.”
“There we so many good things, it is hard to encapsulate it all. To cap it all with a school record in the relay, coming from behind to win for the second year in a row in dramatic fashion was certainly exciting. To be four-for-four in relays at this point of the meet is fantastic. We’ll see if we can make it a clean sweep tomorrow. I’m excited for tomorrow and ready for it to get here so we can execute some good races in the morning to set ourselves up for finals, and then hopefully a big jump in the pool as a team tomorrow night.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
* The Cougars got going early, sending five swimmers to the finals of the 400 Individual Medley.
* Eleanna Koutsouveli, Gaby Jimenez, Morgan Rosas, Rebecca Brandt and Haley Benjamin all swam in the finals of the event where Jimenez would led Houston with a second-place finish at 4:17.56, setting a new lifetime best and posting the fourth-best time in program history.
* Koutsouveli finished fourth-place at 4:19.16, posting her fourth top-four finish in the event for her career. Rosas turned in an eighth-place finish (4:25.20), followed by Brandt in ninth-place (4:23.62) and Benjamin in 11th-place (4:26.10).
* In the 100 Butterfly both Katie Higgins and Brandt advanced to the finals of the event after finishing in fifth and sixth-place in the prelims, respectively.
* Higgins led the Cougars with a fifth-place finish in the finals at 54.54, followed by Brandt in sixth-place at 54.96.
* For the second year in a row the Cougars took gold in the 200 Freestyle. Brown claimed gold in the event for the second consecutive year, posting a time of 1:45.50. Mykenzie Leehy finished in second-place at 1:47.13, followed by Samantha Medlinin seventh-place at 1:49.48. With the win, Brown is one of two swimmers in The American to win the title twice.
* In the 100 Breaststroke three one hundredths of a second separated first and second-place. Two-time Champion Peyton Kondisnotched a second-place finish in the event with a time of 59.84, followed by Jimenez in third-place with a lifetime best time of 1:00.83. Angeliki Mavrantza turned in a fourth-place finish at 1:01.03.
* Laura Laderoute became the second Cougar in three years to win the 100 Backstroke after leading the field with a finishing time of 53.21. Ioanna Sacha turned in a fourth-place finish at 54.62, followed by Katie Power in fifth-place (54.87) and Monique Rae in 11th-place (55.71).
* In the final swimming event of the day Houston picked up its fourth relay victory, posting a program-best time of 3:34.65 in the 400 Medley Relay. Laderoute, Kondis, Higgins and Brown combined for the time that was just shy of the NCAA B-Cut standard after coming from behind to win the event.
* On the boards, three Cougars advanced to the finals of the 3-Meter. Katie Deininger, Lauren Burrell and Makayla Wallaradvanced to the final where two Cougars posted top-three finishes. Defending champion Burrell closed out the event in second-place with 309.05 points, and Deininger notched a third-place finish with 293.80 points. Wallar closed out the event in eighth-place with 264.30 points.
* Burrell’s best dives came on her second and fourth attempts when the junior notched 54.60 points off of a Forward 3 ½ Somersault Tuck and a Reverse 2 ½ Somersault tuck.