Swimming On A Roll After Speedo Cup, Ready For Trip To Florida

Dec. 8, 2000

CORVALLIS, Ore. - -

The Oregon State women's swim team is on a roll after what coach Mariusz Podkoscielny said was the team's best performance at the Speedo Cup last weekend, and that success is due in large part to the squad's cohesiveness and senior leadership.

'Probably the biggest thing is that they really came together as group out of the pool,' Podkoscielny said. 'The seniors are starting to sense that this is their last year, and they're working extra hard in and out of the water.

'Every year we're maturing more and more,' Podkoscielny said of his squad that features five seniors. 'It was kind of hard for the current seniors when they started, since they didn't have any real leadership on the team, so they have played the role of seniors since they were freshmen. Now they've grown into those shoes as seniors and it's really helped the team come together as a group. It helps with the goals, the execution, the practices, and it helps all- around.'

The Beavers' goals are within reach: a high placing at the Pacific-10 Championships and qualification of individual swimmers for the NCAAs are both realistic possibilities this season.

'I think so,' Podkoscielny said when asked if there was extra motivation for the squad now that its goals were in sight. 'We came off of a very good year last year, and I'm sure that there's a sense on the seniors' part that this is their last shot - `My college career is coming to an end, how do I want it to be remembered?'

'Leadership always comes from the top - the upperclassmen and seniors,' Podkoscielny said. 'It comes from their attitude and how they've matured through the years. They spread the good word (about our program) and share their experiences. It's fun to watch them evolve at the meets and in practice.'

Though the season has thus far been successful, with school records falling 10 times already, there are areas that need improvement.

Turns have been an area of concern for the Beavers this season, but the group has yet to correct the problem, according to Podkoscielny.

'I'd like to say (we have) corrected the problem,' the fifth-year coach said. 'But I think we still have a little work to do. We thought we were doing a little better, but then a lot of things came out in the open at the Speedo Cup. A lot of the time we were better than our opponents between the walls - which is a good thing, because it's racing - but we want to be able to put together a whole package. We know we can get faster just by making a couple of adjustments.

'Florida is not necessarily going to be the best time and place to do that because we're going to be limited with time and we're going to be hitting it hard work-wise,' Podkoscielny said. 'We'll still spend a little time doing those things.

'The last six or seven weeks after we come back after New Years, we're going to be polishing it all up, so there's not going to be a lot of time for the hard work. It's mainly going to be stroke work, speed work and working on explosiveness.'

The Beavers will swim a double dual against Miami and the College of Charleston on Sunday, Dec. 17, in Miami, and have added a meet against Coe College on Monday, Dec. 18 in Coral Springs, Fla. This will be the first time OSU has met any of the schools.

'Our main concern is going to be the University of Miami,' Podkoscielny said. 'They won a National Championship years back and they're an up-and-coming team again. They have the best diving program in the nation, by far. We're going to be handicapped right away by 32 points (due to the fact that OSU does not field a diving team).

'They have a real good team,' Podkoscielny said. 'They are a solid team, it's going to be a situation where we have to do real well in the events in which we're good and not give those up while trying to challenge their (strong) events.

'On paper, we're split pretty evenly as far as what kind of events that we should be able to take, but it's a dual meet and anything's possible,' Podkoscielny said.

The trip to Florida provides a welcome respite to the repetitive training that takes place in Corvallis over winter break. The change of scenery proved to be a wise move last year, as the swimmers responded well.

'We're excited,' Podkoscielny said. 'Last year when we went to Florida, it was just an amazing experience. They worked 10-times harder than they would have here. Swimming - let's face it - is a boring sport to train for. They swim four hours a day, doing 25 yards and flip turns, and in some cases they end up doing hundreds and hundreds of laps a day, wall-to-wall. The environment never changes and it really gets into your head, so it's emotionally and mentally draining.

'Add to that Christmas break - if you stay here in Corvallis - the college life kind of dies out, so it's hard for them in and out of the water,' Podkoscielny said. 'We found it was a pretty bad idea to stick around here for Christmas break. Last year, when we went to Florida, it was just amazing.'

HEAD COACH MARIUSZ PODKOSCIELNY: Mariusz Podkoscielny is in his fifth season as head coach at Oregon State. In his first four years, OSU had a dual meet record of 14-25 overall and 2-11 in the Pacific-10. Podkoscielny, 32, is a 9-time All-American and 2-time Olympian.

Prior to coming to OSU in the fall of 1996, Podkoscielny had been an assistant men's and women's coach at Arizona since 1993.

A native of Gdansk, Poland, Podkoscielny was a member of the Arizona swim team from 1988-92 was one of the fastest distance swimmers in UA history. He was also on the Polish National Team from 1980-92 and competed in the 1988 and 1992 Olympics.

OSU VS. MIAMI, COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON, AND COE COLLEGE: The meet in Coral Springs, Fla., will be the first time OSU has met Miami, the College of Charleston, or Coe College.

OSU FOURTH IN SPEEDO CUP FIELD OF 25: The Beavers rolled to a fourth-place finish at the Speedo Cup, held Nov. 30-Dec. 2 in Long Beach, Calif. OSU set six school records in the final rounds alone on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, including two by Birte Steven.

STEVENS NATATORIUM: For the second season in a row, Oregon State scheduled all its home swim meets on campus as the Beavers moved into Stevens Natatorium in the 1999-2000 season. OSU had a 3-1 dual meet record at home in 1999-2000 and has a 1-0 mark this year.

Stevens Natatorium is adjacent to Dixon Recreation Center, near Gill Coliseum. The pool opened in 1994 but was not outfitted for competition until prior to this season.

OSU had scheduled its home meets at Corvallis' Osborn Aquatic Center since the community pool opened for the 1979-80 season. A few meets were still held on campus at Langton Pool.

DUAL MEET RECORD: Oregon State has a 3-2 mark in dual meets this year with six dual meets remaining. Last year, OSU had its best dual meet record since 1989-90, as the Beavers went 7-3 overall and 2-1 in the Pacific-10.

OREGON STATE SCHOOL RECORDS: Oregon State has set ten school records this season. Here's a look at the records that have been set - five of which have been posted by freshman Birte Steven:

1,000 freestyle	Naya Higashijima 10:16.57, Oct. 21 at San Jose State100 breaststroke	Birte Steven, 1:03.23, Oct. 21 at San Jose State200 breaststroke	Birte Steven, 2:17.29, Oct. 21 at San Jose State100 breaststroke	Birte Steven, 1:03.22, Nov. 11 vs. Nevada400 medley relay	Starkey, Steven, Renwick, Higuera, 3:49.01,	Nov. 30 at Speedo Cup200 medley relay	Starkey, Steven, Renwick, Higuera, 1:44.90,	Dec. 1 at Speedo Cup100 butterfly	Bonnie Renwick, 57.04, Dec. 1 at Speedo Cup100 breaststroke	Birte Steven, 1:02.45, Dec. 1 at Speedo Cup200 breaststroke	Birte Steven, 2:14.43, Dec. 2 at Speedo Cup200 butterfly	Naya Higashijima, 2:01.43, Dec. 2 at Speedo Cup

OREGON STATE EVENT WINNERS: In the dual meet season, freshman Birte Steven leads the Beavers with 14 wins. A look at this season's winners (not including relay events):(Wins while swimming as an exhibtion entry are inparentheses, those wins are not included in total)

1. Birte Steven 	**142. Naya Higashijima	83. Paula Finlay 	44. Suzanne Starkey	3tie. Arianna Higuera	36. Erin Buckley 	1tie. Bonnie Renwick	1tie. Jill McMinn	1tie. Jessica Randleman	(1)*- represents a win at the Speedo Cup, Nov. 30-Dec. 2.

BEAVERS' PLACES ON SCHOOL TOP-10 LISTS: The 2000-2001 Oregon State team holds 62 of the 140 places on the list of top 10 performers in each event.

Here are the members of the 2000-2001 OSU squad with the most entries on the school's all-time leaders list:

1. Naya Higashijima 	7 (200 free, 500 free, 1,000 free, 1,650 free, 100 fly, 200 fly)2. Paula Finlay 	6 (200 free, 200 back, 100 breast, 200 breast, 200 IM, 400 IM)3. Arianna Higuera	5 (50 free, 100 free, 200 free, 100 fly, 200 IM)tie. Bonnie Renwick	5 (50 free, 100 free, 100 back, 100 fly, 200 IM)5. Sarah Cohen	        4 (100 breast, 200 breast, 200 IM, 400 IM)tie. Amy Imwalle	4 (200 free, 500 free, 1,000 free,1,650 free)tie. Birte Steven	4 (100 breast, 200 breast, 200 IM, 400 IM)tie. Suzanne Starkey	4 (50 free, 100 back, 200 back, 100 fly)

WHERE THE BEAVERS RANK ON SCHOOL LISTS: Here are OSU's school records and where members of the 2000-2001 Beavers (listed in bold type) rank on the school's top-10 lists through Dec. 8:

50 FREESTYLE1. Amy van Loben Sels	23.11	19944. Arianna Higuera	23.99	20006. Suzanne Starkey	24.32	20017. Bonnie Renwick	24.36	200110. Erin Buckley	24.57	1998100 FREESTYLE1. Amy van Loben Sels	50.64	19954. Arianna Higuera	52.11	20017. Bonnie Renwick	53.19	20009. Trista Hedlind	53.25	2000200 FREESTYLE1. Traci Lamoure	1:50.91	19983. Naya Higashijima	1:52.89	20004. Melissa Hsieh	1:54.28	19985. Arianna Higuera	1:54.57	20007. Paula Finlay 	1:54.99	20008. Amy Imwalle  	1:55.12	19999. Erin Buckley	        1:55.19	199810. Trista Hedlind	1:55.52	2000500 FREESTYLE1. Naya Higashijima	4:54.99	20006. Amy Imwalle  	5:06.95	19999. Jill Personius	5:10.63	20001,000 FREESTYLE1. Naya Higashijima	10:16.57	20014. Jill McMinn  	10:38.50	20005. Amy Imwalle  	10:43.96	19996. Dana Stoddard	10:44.56	19991,650 FREESTYLE1. Naya Higashijima	16:55.87	20004. Amy Imwalle  	17:28.21	19995. Dana Stoddard	17:35.08	19997. Jill Personius	17:45.61	20018. Jill McMinn  	17:51.30	2000100 BACKSTROKE1. Tori Eisenbeis	57.23	19952. Suzanne Starkey	57.27	20017. Bonnie Renwick	59.73	20019. Erin Buckley 	1:00.50	2001200 BACKSTROKE1. Christy Ryerson	2:03.41	19944. Paula Finlay 	2:06.31	20017. Suzanne Starkey	2:08.73	2000100 BUTTERFLY1. Bonnie Renwick	57.04	20012. Naya Higashijima	57.17	20013. Kristin Martinec	57.20	19994. Melissa Hsieh	58.03	19985. Suzanne Starkey	58.12	200110. Arianna Higuera	59.31	1999200 BUTTERFLY1. Naya Higashijima	2:01.43	20013. Melissa Hsieh	2:07.67	19985. Kristin Martinec	2:09.34	199910. Jill McMinn 	2:11.28	2000100 BREASTSTROKE1. Birte Steven 	1:02.45	20012. Paula Finlay 	1:04.39	20003. Kristen Severance	1:06.45	20007. Sheila Tehranchi	1:07.35	19999. Sarah Cohen  	1:07.81	1999200 BREASTSTROKE1. Birte Steven 	2:17.29	20013. Paula Finlay 	2:20.09	20004. Sarah Cohen  	2:21.70	19995. Kristen Severance	2:22.78	20007. Sheila Tehranchi	2:23.93	2000200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY1. Paula Finlay 	2:05.46	20002. Birte Steven 	2:05.84	20014. Arianna Higuera	2:08.10	19997. Kristen Severance	2:09.76	20018. Sarah  Cohen 	2:10.96	19999. Bonnie Renwick	2:11.20	2000400 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY1. Erica Stephens	4:28.16	19982. Birte Steven 	4:29.86	20014. Paula Finlay 	4:33.00	20015. Sarah Cohen  	4:34.82	19998. Naya Higashijima	4:35.85	200010. Sheila Tehranchi	4:41.33	1999

NOTE: This list complete through Dec. 8.

BEAVER SPORTS INFORMATION: Oregon State women's swimming sports information director Travis Lahman can be reached at (541) 737-3720.

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