Swimming Ready For Weekend Showdowns With NW Rival Washington State

Jan. 30, 2001

CORVALLIS, Ore. - - Washington State at Oregon State, Fri., Feb. 2 at 7 p.m.

Washington State at Oregon State, Sat., Feb. 3 at 11 a.m.

With two dual meets against Washington State this weekend, the Oregon State women's swim team (7-3 overall, 0-1 Pac-10) will have to push aside the fatigue from grueling practices in preparation for the Pacific-10 Championships and zero in on the Cougars, who promise to be the Beavers' biggest challenge to date this season.

'I've said it before,' OSU head coach Mariusz Podkoscielny said. 'Washington State will be our toughest opponent that we face this year. They are a very improved team, and their most dangerous aspect is their depth.'

Both teams are in similar situations coming into this weekend with regards to training, as the two squads have been training rigorously in preparation for Pac-10s, yet are now beginning to rest a little more in order to be fresh for the Conference Championships. Therefore, the Beavers must take aim at the race itself, and do their best not to let lingering fatigue be a factor.

'Racing will be our focus,' Podkoscielny said. 'Both teams are going to be in a weird position, WSU had a tough meet last weekend against the University of Nevada. They lost two meets (111.5-150.5, 88-114), but the meets were at a higher altitude, so it was a little different situation.

'They're in a tough part of their training, when you're in between the hard part of your training and starting to rest, sometimes you get caught in a hole. So both teams will be asked to focus a little more on racing rather than how they feel in the water.'

The Cougars' chief threat is their depth, a factor that cost OSU in its loss to Washington earlier this year when the Beavers won eight of fourteen races, but surrendered most of the second-, third-, and fourth-place spots to the Huskies.

'The most points come from a win, so that puts pressure on us to win, but as we saw against Washington, wins by themselves don't win a dual meet,' Podkoscielny commented. 'I think we're going to have to pitch a complete game in order to win against Washington State. There is no room for mistakes.

'I think the key for us is going to be getting off to a good start,' Podkoscielny continued. 'If we get off to a good start with the relay, we can gain some momentum and get people excited and involved.'

OSU has swum more dual meets against the Cougars than any other school, and brings a 9-25 mark against WSU into the weekend. Last year's sweep of WSU in the Palouse marked the first Beaver win over the Cougars since the 1981-82 campaign. This weekend may prove to be the most competitive matchup of the series, which dates back to 1976.

'Both teams were going back-and-forth throughout the years, and when (WSU head coach) Rocco (Aceto) came in four years ago, he inherited a fairly good team from the standpoint that he had a NCAA qualifier, which definitely helped recruiting,' Podkoscielny said.

'Throughout the years, they were lacking depth,' Podkoscielny continued. 'That was probably their Achilles' heel, but they fixed their problem this year with a solid recruiting class. They had a solid recruiting year last season when they got a lot of good swimmers, but this year, they have quality and depth.

'Their reloading year happened last year,' Podkoscienly said. That put them ahead of us as far as strengths and weaknesses on the team, but what we have - and hopefully it will play a role this weekend - is a lot more experience. Hopefully our swimmers will be able to come out on fire and do a good job.

The Beavers have had vocal and supportive crowds in their two previous meets this year, which should be the case again this weekend.

'I hope people come out, it will be a great two days of racing,' Podkoscielny said. 'We're excited - we just have to keep our swimmers healthy and focused, and hopefully we can put it all together this weekend.'

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 and 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.WASHINGTON STATE: The Beavers are 9-25 against the Cougars, in what is OSU's longest-running series with another school. The teams began competition in 1976.

The Beavs swept two back-to-back meets last season in Pullman, when OSU clinched its first winning season with a victory in the first meet, then earned its seventh victory for the first time since the 1990-91 campaign. OSU's wins were by counts of 140-121 and 118-85. Prior to last season, OSU's last win over the Cougars came in the 1981-82 season.

WSU is 7-3 this season, but dropped two duals to Nevada over the weekend, 111.5-150.5 and 88-114. The Cougars did beat Washington on Nov. 16, by a count of 123-82.

BEAVER SENIORS LEAD THE WAY: The five seniors on this year's squad - Arianna Higuera, Amy Imwalle, Erin Buckley, Kristen Severance, and Melissa Hsieh - hold 18 of the spots on OSU's top-10 performers list, 62 of which are held by current squad members. Higuera has five, Imwalle four, and Buckley, Hsieh and Severance three each.

STEVEN QUALIFIES FOR NCAAs: Freshman Birte Steven has qualified with provisional times for the NCAA Championships in the 100- and 200 yard breaststrokes. Steven's time of 1:02.45 in the 100 breaststroke is well within the standard range for qualification on a 25-yard course, as is her time of 2:14.43 in the 200 breaststroke.

Steven wasted no time in adding her own chapters to the OSU recordbooks, as she has set school standards eight times this season,with records in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke, as well as the 400 individual medley. She also was a member of the OSU record-setting teams in the 200 and 400 medley relays.

OSU LOOKS FOR MOST DUAL MEET WINS SINCE 1982: Oregon State has a chance at nine wins this year, as they stand at 7-3 with two meets remaining. The Beavers won seven dual meets last season, but have not won eight or more since going 9-1 in the 1982 campaign under coach Bob Yamate. OSU's highest win total was 12 in 1980.

SOPHOMORE REWRITING THE RECORDBOOKS: Sophomore Naya Higashijima owns four of the 14 individual school records, and has broken school marks three times this season. Here's a look: 500 freestyle, 4:54.99, 1,000 freestyle, 10:14.96, 1,650 freestyle: 16:55.87, 200 butterfly, 2:01.43.

OSU VS. FRESNO STATE: The Beavers earned their seventh victory for the second consecutive season with a 145-117 win over the Bulldogs on Jan. 27 in Stevens Natatorium. OSU got three wins from Naya Higashijima and Paula Finlay, as the squad got back on a winning track after a setback at Washington.

OSU led 85-84 after nine races, but pulled away to secure the win on the strength of two wins by Finlay, a win by Higashijima, Bonnie Renwick, and Birte Steven, and the 200 freestyle relay team. The win was OSU's first over the Bulldogs in the history of the three-meet series.

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 has a 2-0 dual meet record at home this year, and went 3-1 last season.

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 the 1999-2000 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.

OREGON STATE SCHOOL RECORDS: Oregon State has set school records 15 times this season. Here's a look at the records that have been set - eight 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, 1:02.67, Dec. 1 at Speedo Cup100 breaststroke	Birte Steven, 1:02.45, Dec. 1 at Speedo Cup400 individual medley	Birte Steven, 4:27.99, Dec. 1 at Speedo Cup100 backstroke  	Suzanne Starkey, 57.15, Dec. 1 at Speedo Cup200 breaststroke	Birte Steven, 2:15.55, Dec. 2 at Speedo Cup200 breaststroke	Birte Steven, 2:14.43, Dec. 2 at Speedo Cup200 butterfly   	Naya Higashijima, 2:01.43, Dec. 2 at Speedo Cup1,000 freestyle 	Naya Higashijima, 10:14.96, Jan. 13 at Washington

OREGON STATE EVENT WINNERS: In the dual meet season, freshman Birte Steven leads the Beavers with 21 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	        (1) **212. Naya Higashijima	(2) 183. Paula Finlay 	124. Arianna Higuera	85. Suzanne Starkey	56. Erin Buckley 	1tie. Bonnie Renwick	(1) 2tie. 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. Current OSU squad members hold 10 of the 14 individual school records, including four by Higashijima. Steven holds three, while Renwick, Finlay, and Starkey have one apiece.

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)tie. ie. Suzanne Starkey	5 (50 free, 100 free, 100 back, 200 back, 100 fly)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)

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 Jan. 29:

50 FREESTYLE1. Amy van Loben Sels	23.11	19944. Arianna Higuera	23.99	20016. 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	20016. Suzanne Starkey	52.56	20017. Bonnie Renwick	53.19	200010. 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	10:14.96	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. Suzanne Starkey	57.15	20017. Bonnie Renwick	59.73	20019. Erin Buckley 	1:00.50	2001200 BACKSTROKE1. Christy Ryerson	2:03.41	19944. Paula Finlay 	2:05.45	20015. Suzanne Starkey	2:05.93	2001100 BUTTERFLY1. Bonnie Renwick	57.04	20012. Naya Higashijima	57.17	20013. Kristin Martinec	57.20	19994. Suzanne Starkey	58.00	20015. Melissa Hsieh	58.03	199810. 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	1:05.94	20015. Sheila Tehranchi	1:06.97	20019. Sarah Cohen  	1:07.81	1999200 BREASTSTROKE1. Birte Steven 	2:14.43	20013. Paula Finlay 	2:21.23	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. Birte Steven 	4:27.99	20014. Paula Finlay 	4:33.00	20015. Sarah Cohen  	4:34.82	19998. Naya Higashijima	4:35.85	200010. Sheila Tehranchi	4:41.33	1999NOTE: This list complete through Jan. 29.

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

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