Beavers Take Something New To Hawai'i

Dec. 16, 2002

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THURSDAY, DECEMBER 19Oregon State, Cincinnati, Dartmouth, Central Washinton at Hawai'i; Honolulu, Haw.; 8 p.m. PST

When Oregon State (3-2 overall duals, 0-2 Pacific-10 duals) finished final exams and packed its bags for its annual winter training trip, the Beavers took along something new - votes in the national coaches poll. When the Dec. 10 rankings were released, OSU (3-2 overall duals, 0-2 Pacific-10 duals) didn't crack the top 25, but did receive votes in the College Swim Coaches Association of America dual meet poll for what is believed to be the first time in school history.

'It's nice to be in consideration for the top 25,' OSU head coach Mariusz Podkoscielny said. 'But as far as swimming, a lot of teams that will probably be in the top 25 at the NCAAs aren't even listed, and you're going to have some teams in top 25 (poll) that might not be there at NCAAs.

'It's nice to be in this position and it means a lot to program. But as far as the big picture, we're looking at Pac-10s and NCAAs as our main goal. We're not looking at getting votes as the end of the line, or even one of our goals for the season.'

The Beavers will compete in a pentagonal dual Thursday. OSU, which left Corvallis on Dec. 12, will meet host Hawai'i, Dartmouth, Cincinnati and Central Washington on Thursday, then complete their workouts before returning home for the holidays.

'We're trying to build up endurance and get good training over the holiday break, and come back in January ready for the second half of the season,' Podkoscielny said. 'The main goal for this trip is to prepare us for the rest of the season, and we'll have a chance to race against good teams we don't normally face.'

Three of the Beavers' opponents recently participated in invitationals. Hawai'i (2-6 overall) took 11th at the Texas Invitational, and Cincinnati (3-4) is coming off a seventh-place finish at the Miami (Ohio) Invitational. Central Washington (2-4) took first at the Northwest Invitational Dec. 6-7.

Dartmouth (2-1) has not competed since defeating Vermont in a dual meet Nov. 24. Dartmouth is planning on eliminating the men's and women's swimming and diving programs at the conclusion of this season in an effort to reduce the athletics department budget.

Diving competitions will be held at the meet. Because OSU does not field a diving squad, the Beavers will start the swimming portion of its meets against some opponents with a deficit to overcome.

Podkoscielny said that Anna Zucker is day-to-day and might participate Thursday. The sophomore co-captain is recovering from knee surgery and has not competed this season.

When the Beavers return to competition, they will have six dual meets in just over a month before preparing for the Pacific-10 Championships and NCAA Championships.

'We are excited about the second half of the season,' Podkoscielny said. 'We are at the halfway point and we have a lot to look forward to.'

OREGON STATE ALL-TIME VS OPPONENTS: The Beavers are competing against Dartmouth and Cincinnati in dual meet competition for the first time. OSU is 4-2 all-time against Central Washington and the Beavers are on a 2-meet win streak against the Wildcats; the teams last met in 1989, with OSU winning 150-55 in Corvallis. The Beavers defeated Hawai'i 134-97 last season in Honolulu in the teams' first-ever meeting.

OSU THIRD AT HUSKY INVITE: The Beavers placed third overall out of 28 teams at the four-day Husky Invitational on Dec. 5-8. OSU set 13 school records in 10 events and 3 meet records.

'It was a great weekend for us,' OSU head coach Mariusz Podkoscielny said. 'Throughout the week we performed well in both prelims and finals.'

Junior Birte Steven qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 100- and 200-yard breaststrokes and senior Naya Higashijima met the standard for the 200 butterfly.

OSU had at least 1 finisher in the top 9 in each of the 14 individual events. The Beavers had a total of 20 championship finalists, including 3 in the 200 breaststroke. Five of the 20 earned second-place finishes.

'We learned a lot about the freshmen,' Podkoscielny said. 'We had 10 of them swimming in an invitational format for the first time. It was a good experience for us and a huge learning experience, and we did it with a great result at the end, which is nice.'

HEAD COACH MARIUSZ PODKOSCIELNY: Mariusz Podkoscielny is now in his seventh season as head coach at Oregon State, having turned the program around since arriving prior to the 1996-97 season. Under his leadership, the Beavers have posted 3 straight winning dual meet seasons, going 24-15 for a .615 winning percentage since the start of the 1999-2000 season.

Since Podkoscielny took over the Beaver program, his teams have a dual meet record of 31-37 overall and 2-20 in the Pacific-10.

Podkoscielny, 34, 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.

In June, 2002, Podkoscielny was honored as the OSU Female Sport Coach of the Year at the fourth annual Benny Awards.

SENIOR ALL-AMERICAN NAYA HIGASHIJIMA: Naya Higashijima has led the Beavers in individual event victories in all 3 of her seasons at OSU, and in her career has 90 first-place finishes in dual meet and invitational competition. So far this season, Higashijima has a team-high 14 wins. As a freshman, Higashijima won 21 races, as a sophomore she won 24 and as a junior 31, including her first 20 individual races to start the season.

Higashijima made her first trip to the NCAA Championships in 2002 as she qualified in the 500-yard freestyle, 400 individual medley and the 200 butterfly. She set a school record in the 500 freestyle and 200 butterfly, and placed 10th in the 200 butterfly to gain her first All-American honor.

JUNIOR ALL-AMERICAN BIRTE STEVEN: The phrase 'first-ever' was commonly associated with Birte Steven after her performance at the 2002 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships.

Steven became the first-ever OSU swimmer to earn All-America honors twice in the same meet with her 16th-place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke and her 11th-place finish in the 200 breaststroke. Combined with her 16th-place finish at the 2001 NCAAs in the 200 breastroke, Steven is OSU's first-ever 3-time All-American.

Steven has 57 first-place finishes in dual meet and individual competition in her career at OSU. This season, Steven has 11 wins. As a freshman, Steven shared team-high honors in individual event victories with Naya Higashijima at 24 scoring wins. In her sophomore season, Steven placed first in 23 races.

OREGON STATE RECEIVES VOTES IN NATIONAL POLL: Oregon State received votes in the College Swimming Coaches Association of America Top 25 poll released Dec. 10; it is believed to be the first time ever that OSU has received votes in the national women's swimming poll. The Pac-10 currently has 7 teams ranked in the top 25, led by Stanford at No. 4.

SENIORS CAREER RECORD: Seniors Paula Finlay, Naya Higashijima, Jillian McMinn and Suzanne Starkey have helped Oregon State compile a 24-15 dual meet record during their careers. In their first 3 years they posted a 21-13 dual meet record on the strength of 3 consecutive seven-win seasons. That mark (.618 winning percentage) is the best 3-year record since OSU joined the Pac-10 and NCAA swimming prior to the 1986-87 season.

BEAVERS AMONG NATION'S TOP 50 TIMES: Oregon State had a number of marks among the top 50 times in NCAA Divison I through December 8. Here's where the Beavers rank among the national leaders:

50 FREESTYLE50. Kristin Huston	23.58500 FREESTYLE30. Naya Higashijima	4:50.76100 BACKSTROKE45. Suzanne Starkey	56.61100 BUTTERFLY36. Suzanne Starkey	55.76200 BUTTERFLY10. Naya Higashijima	1:58.50200 BREASTSTROKE4. Birte Steven	2:12.02100 BREASTSTROKE7. Birte Steven	1:01.6831. Paula Finlay	1:03.80200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY39. Birte Steven	2:03.62400 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY48. Monika Miroslaw	4:23.40200 MEDLEY RELAY12. Oregon State	1:42.98400 MEDLEY RELAY13. Oregon State	3:44.31200 FREESTYLE RELAY36. Oregon State	1:35.66400 FREESTYLE RELAY36. Oregon State	3:28.77800 FREESTYLE RELAY26. Oregon State	7:31.76

STEVENS NATATORIUM: Oregon State swims its home meets at Stevens Natatorium on the OSU campus. The Beavers defeated Nevada in the first home meet this season and will host a total of four dual meets during the 2002-03 season.

The Beavers went 3-1 at home in dual meets last season and have an all-time record of 9-4 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 SEASON FINISHES: The Beavers 7-5 dual meet record last year marked 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 EVENT WINNERS: Naya Higashijima leads OSU swimmers in individual event victories this season with 14 wins. A look at Beaver event winners for the 2002-03 season (exhibition wins as a non-scoring competitor in parentheses) through Dec. 8:

1. Naya Higashijima	142. Birte Steven	(1) 113. Kristin Huston	54. Kristi Kuhlmey	2(tie). Ausra Pacebutaite	26. Christina Kinney	1(tie) Suzanne Starkey	1(tie) Monika Miroslaw	1

BEAVERS RE-WRITING RECORD BOOK: So far this season Oregon State has set 13 records in 10 different events. All of the record-setting swims took place during the Husky Invitational:

1,000 FREESTYLE: Naya Higashijima, 9:56.74; Dec. 5.     400 MEDLEY RELAY: Ausra Pacebutaite, Birte Steven, Suzanne Starkey, Kristin Huston, 3:44.31; Dec. 6.     500 FREESTYLE: Naya Higashijima, 4:50.86; Dec. 6 (prelims).     500 FREESTYLE: Naya Higashijima, 4:50.76; Dec. 6 (finals).     200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY: Birte Steven, 2:03.62; Dec. 6.     200 FREESTYLE RELAY: Kristin Huston, Suzanne Starkey, Ausra Pacebutaite, Paula Finlay, 1:35.66; Dec. 6.     100 BACKSTROKE: Suzanne Starkey, 56.51; Dec. 7.     100 BUTTERFLY: Suzanne Starkey, 55:76; Dec. 7.     100 BREAST: Birte Steven, 1:01.70; Dec. 7 (prelims).     100 BREAST: Birte Steven, 1:01.68; Dec. 7 (finals).     200 MEDLEY RELAY: Suzanne Starkey, Birte Steven, Christina Kinney, Kristin Huston, 1:42.98; Dec. 7.     200 BREAST: Birte Steven, 2:12.86; Dec. 8 (prelims).     200 BREAST: Birte Steven, 2:12.02; Dec. 8 (finals).

BEAVERS' PLACES ON SCHOOL TOP-10 LISTS: Members of OSU's 2002-2003 squad hold 65 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 Dec. 8:

1. Naya Higashijima 	82. Birte Steven	73. Suzanne Starkey	64. Paula Finlay	55. Mari Embertson	4(tie) Kristin Huston	4(tie) Christina Kinney	4(tie) Danielle Kinney	4(tie). Kristi Kuhlmey	4(tie) Monika Miroslaw	411. Jessie Hong	3(tie) Ausra Pacebutaite	3(tie) Grace Peterson	314. Nicole Reynolds	2(tie). Ashleigh Thomas	216. Jillian McMinn	1(tie) Leah Schaab	1

OSU FRESHMEN: So far this season, seven Oregon State freshmen hold a combined 22 spots on the school's top-10 performance list. Christina Kinney, Danielle Kinney, Kristi Kuhlmey and Monika Miroslaw each have hold 4 spots.

WHERE THE BEAVERS RANK ON SCHOOL LISTS: Here are OSU's school records and where members of the 2002-2003 Beavers (listed in bold type) rank on the school's individual top-10 list through Dec. 8:

50 FREESTYLE1. Amy van Loben Sels	23.11	19942. Kristin Huston	23.40	20024. Suzanne Starkey	23.85	20039. Ausra Pacebutaite	24.46	2003100 FREESTYLE1. Amy van Loben Sels	50.64	19952. Kristin Huston	50.98	20027. Suzanne Starkey	52.42	2001200 FREESTYLE1. Kristin Huston	1:50.61	20023. Kristi Kuhlmey	1:51.72	20034. Naya Higashijima	1:52.24	20026. Birte Steven	1:54.20	20029. Danielle Kinney	1:54.54	2003500 FREESTYLE1. Naya Higashijima	4:50.76	20032. Kristi Kuhlmey	4:57.61	20035. Grace Peterson	5:01.83	20027. Danielle Kinney	5:02.48	20039. Birte Steven	5:05.31	20011,000 FREESTYLE1. Naya Higashijima	10:00.85	20022. Kristi Kuhlmey	10:15.57	20033. Birte Steven	10:19.01	20027. Grace Peterson	10:26.76	20028. Danielle Kinney	10:33.89	20039. Jillian McMinn	10:38.50	20001,650 FREESTYLE1. Naya Higashijima	16:34.60	20022. Kristi Kuhlmey	17:04.35	20036. Grace Peterson	17:16.71	20027. Danielle Kinney	17:22.84	2003100 BACKSTROKE1. Suzanne Starkey	56.51	20034. Ausra Pacebutaite	57.54	20039. Kristin Huston	59.37	200210. Ashleigh Thomas	1:00.24	2003200 BACKSTROKE1. Christy Ryerson	2:03.41	19942. Jessie Hong	2:04.55	20035. Paula Finlay	2:05.45	20016. Ausra Pacebutaite	2:05.61	20037. Suzanne Starkey	2:05.93	20019. Ashleigh Thomas	2:07.87	2003100 BUTTERFLY1. Suzanne Starkey	55.76	20033. Naya Higashijima	56.46	20014. Christina Kinney	56.61	200310. Monika Miroslaw	58.96	2003200 BUTTERFLY1. Naya Higashijima	1:57.72	20022. Monika Miroslaw	2:03.66	20033. Suzanne Starkey	2:04.54	20025. Christina Kinney	2:06.56	2003100 BREASTSTROKE1. Birte Steven	1:01.68	20032. Paula Finlay	1:03.80	20033. Mari Embertson	1:05.90	2003200 BREASTSTROKE1. Birte Steven	2:12.02	20032. Paula Finlay	2:16.61	20023. Mari Embertson	2:19.59	20038. Nicole Reynolds	2:23.87	2002200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY1. Birte Steven	2:03.62	20032. Paula Finlay	2:04.54	20023. Mari Embertson	2:06.13	20034. Christina Kinney	2:06.99	20035. Monika Miroslaw	2:07.52	20039. Jessie Hong	2:08.39	200210. Naya Higashijima	2:08.40	2002400 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY1. Naya Higashijima	4:18.98	20022. Mari Embertson	4:20.23	20023. Birte Steven	4:21.54	20024. Monika Miroslaw	4:23.40	20035. Leah Schaab	4:25.77	20037. Paula Finlay	4:28.30	20018. Jessie Hong	4:28.31	20029. Christina Kinney	4:30.19	2003
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