Beavers Eyeing Best School Finish Ever At Swimming Championships
March 19, 2002
THURSDAY, March 21 - SATURDAY, March 23
Oregon State at NCAA Championships, Austin, Texas, All day
Naya Higashijima and Birte Steven will represent Oregon State in the 2002 NCAA Swimming Championships marking the first time in OSU history that the Beavers will be sending more than one competitor to the meet which begins Thursday in Austin, Texas.
Higashijima and Steven will both compete in three events. Higashijima will race in the 500 freestyle Thursday, 400 individual medley Friday and the 200 butterfly Saturday. Steven will compete in the 200 individual medley Thursday, 100 breaststroke Friday and 200 breaststroke Saturday.
'We're going to compete hard and try to qualify for the finals in each of our races,' OSU head coach Mariusz Podkoscielny said. 'Our highest team finish ever is 35th and we'd like to improve on that.
'I'm really thrilled as a coach because the girls have worked really hard and it is a great experience to compete in the NCAAs. We had a lot of people with consideration times and that shows what a bright future we have here.'
As a freshman last year, Steven placed 16th in the 200-yard breaststroke and 17th in the 100 breaststroke in the championships. This is Higashijima's first time competing at the NCAAs.
Preliminary races will be held during the morning session of each day with the finals occuring at the evening session. Only the top 16 finishers in each event score team points.
ALL-TIME AT THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: Oregon State finished in a tie for 45th at last year's meet. The Beavers placed in a tie for 38th in 1994 and had their highest finish of 35th in 1995.
LAST MEET: Oregon State capped off its history-setting performance in the Pacific-10 Conference Swimming Championships by setting school records in eight events en route to a 7th place finish in team competition.
The Beavers' 477 team points is the most points ever scored at the Pac-10 Championships by OSU, which had never broken the 300-point mark. Oregon State finished ahead of Washington (449.5) and Washington State (401.5), giving the Beavers their highest finish since placing 7th in 1991.
'It is great for our seniors to be able to celebrate by finishing their careers this way,' OSU head coach Mariusz Podkoscielny said. 'It has been a goal to move out of 9th place, and to move to 7th ahead of great Washington and Washington State teams is amazing.
'This has been a process that took a few years to develop, but it blossomed this year. We swam against a variety of competitors, faced difficult circumstances and we were challenged every time. We were mentally prepared to be in this type of meet.'
HEAD COACH MARIUSZ PODKOSCIELNY: Mariusz Podkoscielny is in his sixth season as head coach at Oregon State. Since taking over the Beaver program at the start of the 1996-97 season, Podkoscielny's teams have a dual meet record of 28-35 overall and 2-18 in the Pacific-10.
Podkoscielny, 33, 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.
BEAVERS FACE TOP-FLIGHT SCHEDULE: This season, Oregon State has competed against 6 teams ranked in the CSCAA coaches poll as of Mar. 1: No. 1 Stanford, No. 3 California, No. 3 Arizona, No. 8 Southern California, No. 11 UCLA and No. 12 Arizona State.
STEVENS NATATORIUM: Oregon State swims its home meets at Stevens Natatorium on the OSU campus. The Beavers went 3-1 at home in dual meets this season and have an all-time record of 8-4 in the pool.
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 WINNING STREAK: Oregon State's 7-meet winning streak this season, which ended Feb. 1, is the third-longest winning streak in the history of the program. The Beavers won 6 straight duals between the 1987-88 and 1988-89 seasons. Oregon State's longest winning streak is 11, a feat accomplished twice. The 1979-80 team won its last 8 meets and the following season started with 3 wins. In 1981-82, OSU finished with 5 wins and the Beavers won their first 6 dual meets during the 1982-82 season.
OREGON STATE SEASON FINISHES: The Beavers finished this season with a 7-5 dual meet record, marking the third consecutive year that OSU finished with a winning record, that's the longest streak since a 4-year run above .500 from 1987-88 to 1990-91.
OREGON STATE SCHOOL RECORDS: Members of Oregon State's 2001-02 squad hold 11 of the 14 individual event school records. The Beavers have already begun rewriting the book this season, having broken school records 23 times in 12 different events. A look at the occasions when OSU has set school marks this season:
1,000 FREESTYLE: Naya Higashijima, 10:09.39, Oct. 26 vs. Utah.400 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY: Naya Higashijima, 4:26.56, Nov. 3 vs.San Jose State.400 MEDLEY RELAY: Suzanne Starkey, Birte Steven, Naya Higashijima andKristin Huston, 3:48.03, Nov. 29 at Speedo Cup.200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY: Paula Finlay, 2:04.54, Nov. 29 at Speedo Cup.500 FREESTYLE: Naya Higashijima, 4:54.86, Nov. 29 at Speedo Cup (prelims).500 FREESYLE: Naya Higashijima, 4:54.05, Nov. 29 at Speedo Cup (finals).200 FREESTYLE: Kristin Huston, 1:50.61, Nov. 30 at Speedo Cup.100 BUTTERFLY: Suzanne Starkey, 56.14, Nov. 30 at Speedo Cup.800 FREESTYLE RELAY: Naya Higashijima, Paula Finlay, Birte Steven andKristin Huston, 7:31.50, Nov. 30 at Speedo Cup.200 MEDLEY RELAY: Suzanne Starkey, Birte Steven, Bonnie Renwick andKristin Huston, 1:44.09, Nov. 30 at Speedo Cup.1,000 FREESTYLE: Naya Higashijima, 10:08.93, Dec. 1 at Speedo Cup.1,650 FREESTYLE: Naya Higashijima, 16:43.75, Dec. 1 at Speedo Cup.200 BUTTERFLY: Naya Higashijima, 2:00.32, Dec. 1 at Speedo Cup.200 BREASTROKE: Birte Steven, 2:13.95, Dec. 1 at Speedo Cup.200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY: Birte Steven, 2:04.01, Feb. 28 at Pac-10 Championships.400 MEDLEY RELAY: Suzanne Starkey, Birte Steven, Naya Higashijima andKristin Huston, 3:46.45, Feb. 28 at Pac-10 Championships.400 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY: Mari Embertson, 4:20.23, Mar. 1 at Pac-10 Championships.400 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY: Naya Higashijima, 4:18.98, Mar. 1 at Pac-10 Championships.100 BREASTSTROKE: Birte Steven, 1:02.22, Mar. 1 at Pac-10 Championships.100 BUTTERFLY: Suzanne Starkey, 55.77, Mar. 1 at Pac-10 Championships.800 FREESTYLE RELAY: Kristin Huston, Naya Higashijima, Birte Steven andPaula Finlay, 7:27.56, Mar. 1 at Pac-10 Championships.1,650 FREESTYLE: Naya Higashijima, 16:34.60, Mar. 2 at Pac-10 Championships.200 BREASTSTROKE: Birte Steven, 2:12.99, Mar. 2 at Pac-10 Championships.200 BUTTERFLY: Naya Higashijima, 1:58.07, Mar. 2 at Pac-10 Championships.
OREGON STATE EVENT WINNERS: So far this season, Naya Higashijima tops OSU swimmers in individual event victories with 31 wins. The Beaver leaders through Mar. 20 (exhibition wins in parentheses, and not included in total):
1. Naya Higashijima (2) 312. Birte Steven (1) 233. Kristin Huston 144. Suzanne Starkey 4(tie) Verena Hass 36. Paula Finlay 27. Jessie Hong 1(tie) Mari Embertson 1(tie) Bonnie Renwick (1) 1(tie) Sheila Tehranchi 1
BEAVERS' PLACES ON SCHOOL TOP-10 LISTS: Current OSU squad members hold 61 of the 140 places on the Beavers' list of the top 10 performers in each individual event. Current Beaver swimmers with entries on the OSU all-time leaders list through Mar. 20:
1. Naya Higashijima 82. Birte Steven 73. Paula Finlay 6(tie) Suzanne Starkey 65. Verena Haas 56. Bonnie Renwick 4(tie) Kristin Huston 4(tie) Mari Embertson 49. Jessie Hong 310. Kristin Martinec 2(tie) Jillian McMinn 2(tie) Dana Stoddard 2(tie) Sheila Tehranchi 2(tie) Grace Peterson 2(tie) Nicole Reynolds 216. Stephanie Chambers 1Jill Personius 1
WHERE THE BEAVERS RANK ON SCHOOL LISTS: Here are OSU's school records and where members of the 2001-2002 Beavers (listed in bold type) rank on the school's individual top-10 lists through Mar. 20:
50 FREESTYLE1. Amy van Loben Sels 23.11 19942. Kristin Huston 23.40 20026. Suzanne Starkey 23.96 20028. Bonnie Renwick 24.36 2001