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The Pool Remains Blue (& Gold) Thursday Morning as Ruele Ties Meet Record

When it comes to winning long races, big meets and the heart of your Desired, you've got to get yourself in position to be in position. FIU walked into Thursday morning with a 14-point lead over Marshall and Rice at the Conference USA Women's Swimming & Diving meet. After Thursday morning's preliminaries, FIU's might walk out of Georgia Tech's McAuley Athletics Center after Thursday night's finals in position to end the competitive phase of the meet Friday.

That's a long way away, but a distance that gets shorter each time FIU packs the top flight of a final.

FIU freshmen Naomi Ruele and Ilari Manzella led Panthers domination of the 50 freestyle and 500 free, respectively. While Ruele's 22.33 tied the meet record set by SMU's Isabella Arcila in 2013 and broke her own FIU record of 22.73, sophomore Letizia Bertelli (23.03), juniors Jenny Alfani (23.08) and Jenny Deist (23.09) came in second, fourth and fifth. Freshman Mauri Laudrisen (23.21) gave FIU five of the eight finalists. Marshall has two. North Texas has one. Do the math and you'll see Rice, the meet favorite if you went by national rankings, has none.

Manzella (4:49.80) and sophomore Kyna Periera (4:50.01) came in first and second in the 500 prelim. Sophomore Skye Carey (4:57.07) makes three FIU finalists. Rice has two. Marshall has one.

Rice did put four finalists to FIU's two in the 200 individual medley, including top qualifier Jaecey Parham (2:00.41). FIU seniors Becky Wilde (2:03.77) and Jessica Piper (2:04.19) just have to stem the damage, especially with the 3-meter diving being this evening also.






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