Swimming Goes Down To The Wire With Nemesis Washington, Falls 136-126
Jan. 13, 2001
SEATTLE, Wash. - - In a meet that came down to the final race of the afternoon, the Oregon State women's swim team came up just shy of knocking off Pacific-10 rival Washington for the first time in the history of the series. The Beavers fell 136-126 despite a dominant performance from sophomore Naya Higashijima and capturing eight of the meet's 14 races on Saturday in Seattle.
OSU, which is 0-24 in the series against the Huskies, got a standout effort from Higashijima, as she shattered her own school record in the 1,000-yard freestyle on her way to winning the event with a time of 10:14.96 - topping the old mark of 10:16.57. Higashijima captured two other races on the day, with wins in the 200 butterfly in a time of 2:02.93, and the 500 freestyle with a 5:03.30.
Oregon State (6-3 overall, 0-1 Pac-10) trailed by just a point at 123-122 heading into the final meet of the day - the 200 freestyle relay - and a win would have given them the meet. The Huskies were not to be denied though, as they edged the group of Melissa Hsieh, Suzanne Starkey, Bonnie Renwick, and Arianna Higuera 1:36.92-1:37.08.
'I'm so proud of them, the seniors in particular,' OSU head coach Mariusz Podkoscielny said of his team. 'The seniors are the reason why we are where we are today.
'It took their best meet of the season for UW to win, we didn't rest for this meet,' Podkoscielny said. 'We can look back without any regrets, because our swimmers know they did everything they could to get ready. We knew we should have won.'
The Beavers took the lead in the meet at 95-93 after they captured three of the top four places in the 200 breaststroke, as freshman Birte Steven set the pace with a 2:20.67. Steven leads the Beavers with 19 wins this year.
Higashijima won the following race - the 500 freestyle - giving OSU a tenuous 105-102 advantage with three races remaining.
OSU was unable to crack the top two in the 100 butterfly, as Renwick placed third, and the Beavers relinquished the lead at 117-109.
OSU stormed back to within one at 123-122 as Paula Finlay, a sophomore, and Steven combined to take first and second in the 200 individual medley. Finlay won in a time of 2:07.91, edging out Steven's 2:08.53.
'Their second-through-fourth places just got in front of ours,' Podkoscielny said of the fact that UW earned more points than the Beavers by winning many of the second-, third-, and fourth-places. 'When we won races, they were getting those spots, and when they won, they took a lot of the third- and fourth-places. That was the difference in the meet.'
Arianna Higuera snared a victory in the 100-freestyle with her time of 53.45, winning by a nose over UW's Melody Staubitz' 53.53.
OSU's 200 medley relay team of Starkey, Steven, Renwick, and Higuera got the day off to a good start when they won with a mark of 1:48.04.
Oregon State will be back in action on Jan. 27, as they host Fresno State in an 11 a.m. dual meet in Stevens Natatorium on the OSU campus.
'We've got Fresno State coming up, and we'd like to get back on a winning track,' Podkoscielny commented.
WASHINGTON 136, OREGON STATE 126
(Winners and Oregon State finishers)
200 MEDLEY RELAY - 1. OSU (Starkey, Steven, Renwick, Higuera), 1:48.04, 4. OSU (Polvi, Finlay, Hsieh, Personius), 1:54.88.
200 FREESTYLE RELAY - 1. UW (Harada, Fanning, Staubitz, Hingsbergen), 1:36.92, 2. OSU (Hsieh, Starkey, Renwick, Higuera), 1:37.08, 4. OSU (Buckley, Higashijima, Personius, Polvi), 1:43.31.