Swimming Breaks School Record, Places Three Swimmers In Pac-10 Finals

Feb. 22, 2001

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. - - Even though the Oregon State swim team may not have swam up to its potential on the first day of the Pacific-10 Championships, the Beavers still placed three swimmers in the Thursday's final rounds and broke a long-standing school record in the process. OSU is in ninth place with a score of 102, just 13 points behind Washington.

The Beavers set a new school record in the 200-yard freestyle, as the group of Arianna Higuera, Trista Hedlind, Bonnie Renwick, and Suzanne Starkey finished in 1:35.73 to place eighth. The old record was 1:36.50, and had stood since 1995 when all-American Amy van Loben Sels, J.J. Bontrager, Shireen Taylor and Traci Lamour set the standard.

Arianna Higuera swam to within 0.01 of her career-best time in the 50 freestyle, as she turned in a time of 23.96 to place 19th. The senior set her personal-best in the morning's preliminary round when she finished in 23.95.

In the 500 freestyle, sophomore Naya Higashijima recorded a 4:56.32 to place 17th overall and win the C-final.

Paula Finlay finished 22nd in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:06.21, completing what is believed to be the first time OSU has placed a swimmer in each of an evening's finals.

Although there are positives to Thursday's outcome, head coach Mariusz Podkoscielny has his sights set higher than another ninth-place finish.

'We got off to a slow start this morning,' the fifth-year head coach said. 'We didn't swim as well as we were capable of. We were one of the few teams that swam better at night (than in the morning's prelims), but we just didn't get enough people in the finals to score.

'We're confident we'll do better in the next two days,' Podkoscielny continued. 'Traditionally, the first day is our weakest.'

OSU also edged out Washington in the 400 medley relay as Starkey, Birte Steven, Hagashijima, and Higuera turned in a 3:49.54.

In the morning preliminary round, Steven swam an exhibition 500 freestyle in 5:05.31, good for fifth on OSU's all-time performances list. The race marked the first time the freshman had swam the 500 freestyle this year.

'I think we got the jitters out of our systems today,' Podkoscielny said. 'We're looking forward to the next two days.'

USC leads the Championship at 360.50, just ahead of Arizona, which has 342.The teams will swim the 200 medley relay, 400 individual medley, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke and 800 freestyle relay Friday.

FINAL RESULTS, DAY ONE

1. USC 360.5, 2. Arizona 342, 3. UCLA 324, 4. California 294, 5. Stanford 282.5, 6. Arizona State 170, 7. Washington State 131, 8. Washington 115, 9. Oregon State 102.(Winners and Oregon State placers)

200 FREESTYLE RELAY: 1. California 1:30.78, 8. OSU `A' (Higuera, Hedlind, Renwick, Starkey), 1:35.73 (school record), exhibition OSU `B' (Buckley, Hsieh, Finlay, Gustafson) 1:39.48.

500 FREESTYLE - 1. Jessica Foschi, Stanford 4:39.74, 17. Naya Higashijima, OSU 4:56.32.

200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY - 1. Shelley Ripple, Stanford 1:57.83, 22. Paula Finlay, OSU 2:06.21.

50 FREESTYLE - 1. Haley Cope, California 22.32, 19. Arianna Higuera, OSU 23.96 (23.95 preliminary).

400 MEDLEY RELAY - 1. Stanford 3:35.40, 8. OSU `A' (Starkey, Steven, Higashijima, Higuera), 3:49.54, exhibition OSU `B' (Renwick, Finlay, Hsieh, Hedlind), 3:57.42.

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