Special to HNN Provided by Herd Zone
ATLANTA – The Marshall swimming and diving team moved into second place after the third session of the 2017 Conference USA Championships at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center in Atlanta.

Thursday evening was highlighted with a conference championship swim in the 200 individual medley by freshman Catherine Bendziewicz. Touching fourth at the 150 yard mark, Bendziewicz came from behind with a monster freestyle leg to dip under the two minute barrier. Her time of 1:59.29 finished a half second ahead of second place Rice. With the win, she became only the fifth Marshall swimmer to win an individual conference championship.

Marshall also had three other swimmers competing in the 200 IM. Caroline Wanner finished sixth at 2:02.31. Emma Lockyer was 12th (2:04.16) and Maggie Stovall placed 15th (2:05.39).

Anna Lynch finished seventh in the 500 Freestyle (4:53.11) earlier in the evening session. Savannah Ruedt was 10th with a lifetime best of 4:54.33. Angelica Di Marzio finished 12th (4:55.31) and Madi Pulfer was 14th (4:59.91).

In the 50 Freestyle, Marshall found the podium again. Freshman Sirena Rowe was runner-up with a time of 22.47. Gloria Mavrova moved up from 8th to finish 5th with a lifetime best, 22.74. In the consolation final, Marshall went 1-2 to finish ninth and 10th overall. Chloe Parsemain blasted a lifetime best, 23.20, and Lauren Cowher was right behind at 23.25.

Swimming gave way to 3-meter diving. Senior Megan Wolons was the silver medalist with a score of 312.25, and fellow senior Kelly Toner finished fifth with a lifetime best score of 259.20. In the consolation final, senior Rachel Sleichter finished 11th (209.15) and freshman Madison Young was 15th (201.15).

The final event of the evening was arguably the most exciting. Marshall shot to a half second lead in the 200 freestyle relay over FIU. Rowe led with a lifetime best, 22.29, a time that would have won the 50 free.  Rowe exchanged to Mavrova, who rolled a 22.47 but was six one-hundredths of a second behind when she touched at the halfway point. That’s when Cowher took back the lead for Marshall with a 22.57 split, putting Marshall ahead by 34 one-hundredths of a second. Parsemain did her best to hold off the hard charging FIU anchor, but it wasn’t enough. FIU touched in at 1:29.68, while Marshall finished at 1:30.12. The Herd set a school record by almost two seconds in the event.

Marshall sits second in the team standings with 251 points. FIU leads with 344. Rice is third (225), followed by North Texas (133), Old Dominion (99) and Florida Atlantic (86).


Quotes by head coach Bill Tramel

On Catherine Bendziewicz…

“What a night. It’s really special when you win an individual title. We are so happy for Catherine. Her high school coach, Heath Edwards, even called tonight to congratulate her. Everyone is so excited for her.”

On the night…

“Tonight was just great all-around. Sirena popping a time that is going to be on the cusp of qualifying for the NCAA Championships. And the relay, how awesome was that. Who says swimming isn’t exciting?  And the diving title was on the line until the last dive too. Our divers really came through today. All 4 of them.”

Looking ahead to tomorrow…

“Tomorrow is a great day for us. We had three swimmers that didn’t even compete today. Their first event is tomorrow. So we get stronger. We are trying to focus on just performing our lifetime bests because we can't control how others perform. That formula has worked well for us. It will be fun.”


The C-USA Swimming and Diving Championships continues Friday, with time trials starting at 10:30 a.m. ET. The finals will begin at 6 p.m., and will be streamed live on ESPN3. For more information about the event, check out the C-USA Swimming and Diving Championship central page with live results, streaming info and more.