Swimming Breaks School Records Again, Takes Fourth At Speedo Cup

Dec. 3, 2000

LONG BEACH, Calif. - - Broken school records were the norm for the Oregon State women's swim team at the Speedo Cup, as OSU set school standards for the third consecutive day en route to a fourth-place finish on Saturday in Long Beach, Calif., at the Belmont Plaza.

The Beavers racked up 741 points, edging out UCLA for fourth in the field of 25 and finishing behind runaway winner USC, which had a score of 988, Pacific (845), and Hawaii (815).

Freshman Birte Steven broke a school record for the fifth time this season, this time in the 200-yard breaststroke, while Naya Higashijima bettered her own mark in the 200 butterfly for her second school record of the year.

'It was a great evening for us,' OSU coach Mariusz Podkoscielny said. 'This was, by far, the best Speedo Cup we've had. Even though we've finished higher in the past (third in 1999-00, second in 1998-99), we out-swam our previous best times and did so against tougher competition.

'We accomplished what we wanted to,' Podkoscielny continued. 'It was actually a lot more than we expected. The girls swam their hearts out, and we took a huge step here this weekend.'

Steven, the lone freshman on the squad, shattered her old school record in the 200 breaststroke with her time of 2:14.43 on Saturday as she won her 14th race of the season. Steven set the old standard of 2:17.29 in her first collegiate meet on Oct. 21 at San Jose State. Steven has now qualified for the NCAA Championships in two events - the 100- and 200 breaststroke.

Equally impressive was Higashijima's school-best performance in the 200 butterfly, as she sped to a time of 2:01.43, beating her old school record of 2:01.96 by better than half a second. The sophomore took second in the race.

Paula Finlay, OSU's lone entrant in the 200 backstroke, moved into fourth place on the top-10 performers list with a time of 2:06.31 as she set a new personal best while she finished 10th.

Arianna Higuera's 52.11in the 100 freestyle moved her into fourth on the top-10 list in that event, while Jill Personius moved into seventh on the 1,650 freestyle list with a 17:45.61.

The team of Higuera, Suzanne Starkey, Bonnie Renwick, and Steven took third in the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 3:28.84.

OSU set six school records in the final rounds of competition on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

'I'm so proud of this team,' Podkoscielny said. 'It was fun, a lot of people came up to us after the meet and congratulated us on the development of our team. We're definitely an upcoming team, OSU is making waves.'

TOP TEN TEAM SCORES

1. USC 988, 2. Pacific 845, 3. Hawaii 815.5, 4. Oregon State 741, 5. UCLA 734.5, 6. Cal-Santa Barbara 587.5, 7. BYU 573.5, 8. Cal-San Diego 377.5, 9. San Diego 374.5, 10. San Jose State 371.

(Winners and Oregon State finishers)

1,650 FREESTYLE - 1. Asa Sandlund, USC 16:30.46, 20. Jill Personius, OSU 17:45.61, 29. Amy Imwalle, OSU 17:55.83, 36. Jill McMinn, OSU 18:06.43, 40. Dana Stoddard, OSU 18:13.05.

200 BACKSTROKE - 1. Sarah Marshall, Pacific 2:01.01, 10. Paula Finlay, OSU 2:06.31.

100 FREESTYLE - 1. Sarah Simonsen, Hawaii 50.79, 7. Arianna Higuera, OSU 52.11.

200 BREASTSTROKE - 1. Birte Steven, OSU 2:14.43, 10. Kristen Severance, OSU 2:22.98, 19. Sheila Tehranchi, OSU 2:26.79.

200 BUTTERFLY - 1. Michala Kwasny, USC, 2. Naya Higashijima, OSU 2:01.43, 20. Melissa Hsieh, OSU 2:10.94, 30. Jill McMinn, OSU 2:12.72.

400 FREESTYLE RELAY - 1. Hawaii (Simonsen, Thomas, Parkinson, Du Plessis), 3:24.65, 3. OSU (Higuera, Starkey, Renwick, Steven), 3:28.84, 14. OSU (Buckley, Hedlind, Personius, Finlay), 3:37.65.

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