HOUSTON-Stephanie North and Amber Boucher highlighted the first day of competition for Boise State women's swimming and diving Friday, at the Holiday Inn & Suites Med Center Invitational, hosted by Rice University. North and Boucher finished 1-2 in the 50-yard freestyle for the third time in as many races, separated this time by just four one-hundredths of a second as North grabbed the overall victory.
The Broncos sit in second place after the first day of competition with 217 points. Arkansas leads the field with 335 points, winning three events, Friday. Meet host Rice is third, followed by Nebraska and Houston. The Owls grabbed the day's other event victory.
"We are prepared to swim faster than we did tonight," said head coach Kristin Hill. "The 1-2 finish was a highlight, place-wise, and we had some strong 500 freestyles for this time of the season. Tomorrow will be a better day."
Boise State started the meet taking second in the 400-yard medley relay with the eighth-fastest time in school history. Freshmen Jessica Bottelberghe and Heather Harper swam the first two legs before seniors Boucher and North closed out the race just behind Arkansas, which also took third.
Jenn Cahill made her season debut in the 500-yard freestyle, finishing seventh in 5:02.60, the fastest time clocked by a Bronco this year. Cahill was followed immediately by teammate Emily Irvin's season-best 5:02.99 for eight place. The other Broncos set season bests in the 500 freestyle, but Arkansas took four of the top five spots- including the top three- to build its lead early.
Bottelberghe led Boise State in the 200-yard individual medley with a sixth-place finish. Sydney Johansen (eighth), Christine Raininger (11th) and Chelsea Miller (13th) also scored in the event for the Broncos. Johansen and fellow freshman Emily Campbell turned in season-best times.
The Razorbacks finished second through fifth in the 200 IM before the Broncos could respond with North and Boucher in the 50 freestyle. Stevie Hughey also scored an 11th-place finish for Boise State in the last individual event of the session.
The day ended with the 800-yard freestyle relay, the first time the Broncos competed the event this season. Boise State again finished second to Arkansas, as the team of Boucher, Bottelberghe, Cahill and North clocked the seventh-fastest time in school history.
Action continues Saturday, with two sessions. The morning events start at 9 (CT) and the meet will wrap up with the third session beginning at 1:30 p.m. (CT). Two diving events will also take place Saturday, at the University of Houston. The three-meter event will begin at 11 a.m. (CT), followed immediately by the one-meter competition.