Beavers Begin Homestand With Dual Against Fresno State

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Jan. 20, 2003

Corvallis, Ore. - Oregon State begins its final homestand of the women's swimming season Saturday when it hosts Fresno State in an 11 a.m. non-conference dual meet at Stevens Natatorium.

The meet will be the first home dual for the Beavers (9-2 overall duals, 0-2 Pacific-10 duals) since they defeated Nevada on Nov. 9.

'We had a big, loud crowd at our first meet,' OSU head coach Mariusz Podkoscielny said. 'We hope to duplicate that.'

The Bulldogs (6-2-1) have competed on the road in all but one of their duals this season.

'This is our first realistic test as to where we are in getting prepared for the Pac-10s and NCAA Championships,' Podkoscielny said. 'Going to Brigham Young and Utah, at that altitude, wasn't a realistic reference. This meet is important to us because it will prepare us for the Pac-10s and because it is the first of three meets at home.'

Fresno State had a coaching change at the beginning of the season and is now led by interim coaches Tom Milich and An Baxter.

'Their coach took a job at another university and they were without a coach for the first few weeks,' Podkoscielny said. 'They found interim coaches who have done a tremendous job. They are swimming lifetime bests and are definitely a better team.

'Fresno State is particularly strong in backstroke events and they are solid in sprints. I'm very impressed with what they are going to come in with.'

The 14-event meet will mark the first time that OSU swimmers have the opportunity to compete in the 1,650-yard freestyle in a dual meet this season. The Beavers swam the event in the Husky Invitational in December.

Oregon State, which received votes in the College Swim Coaches Association of America Top 25 poll released Jan. 16, closes out its home schedule Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 when it hosts Washington State.

OREGON STATE-FRESNO STATE ALL-TIME SERIES: Oregon State has an all-time record of 2-3 against the Bullodgs. The Beavers are currently on a two-meet win streak, having won last season's meet 153-141 in Fresno, and the 2001 meet 145-117 in Corvallis. The Bulldogs swept two meets from the Beavers in 1992 and had a 10-point victory in 2000.

OSU TAKES TWO: Oregon State followed up a 148-134 win Jan. 10 at Utah with a strong team performance Jan. 11, as the Beavers won nine out of 11 swimming events and defeated Brigham Young 131-106 in non-league swimming.

Naya Higashijima placed first in three individual events and Birte Steven won two for the Beavers. Ausra Pacebutaite and Monika Miroslaw also picked up event victories for Oregon State, and the Beavers won both relay events.

'It was just a team effort,' OSU head coach Mariusz Podkoscielny said. 'It was great to see an even better meet after such an emotionally-charged meet (at Utah).'

Oregon State started the BYU meet by winning the 200-yard medley relay and followed that up with a 1-2-3 finish by Higashijima, Kristi Kuhlmey and Danielle Kinney in the 1,000 freestyle. Steven then won the next event, the 200 freestyle.

At Utah, Higashijima, Ausra Pacebutaite and Steven each won two individual events, and a 1-2-3 Oregon State finish in the final individual event - the 200 individual medley - helped the Beavers rally to defeat the Utes.

'The meet was up in the air until the last two events,' Podkoscielny said. 'When we felt we had the Utes on their heels they would come back. The 200 individual medley put us back where we needed to be point wise.'

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 4 straight winning dual meet seasons, going 30-15 for a .667 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 37-37 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 102 first-place finishes in dual meet and invitational competition. So far this season, Higashijima has a team-high 26 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 69 first-place finishes in dual meet and individual competition in her career at OSU. This season, Steven has 22 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 Jan. 16. The Beavers first received votes in the Dec. 10 poll; it is believed to have been the first time OSU ever 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.

OREGON STATE WIN TOTALS: The Beavers 9-2 dual meet record this season matches the second-best win total in the program's history. The Beavers also reached nine wins in 1980-81 and 1981-82. The school record for wins in a season is 12, set by the 1979-80 team.

This is the fourth consecutive year that OSU will finish with a winning record; that matches the school's second-best streak from 1987-88 to 1990-91. The school record for consecutive winning seasons is seven (1977-78 to 1983-84). This is the fourth straight, and the 10th ever, that an Oregon State team has recorded at least seven wins.

SENIORS CAREER RECORD: Seniors Paula Finlay, Naya Higashijima, Jillian McMinn and Suzanne Starkey have helped Oregon State compile a 30-15 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 TIMES: Oregon State had a number of marks among the season's top 75 times in NCAA Divison I through Dec. 25. Here's where the Beavers rank among the national leaders:

50 FREESTYLE55. Kristin Huston	23.58500 FREESTYLE29. Naya Higashijima	4:50.761,000 FREESTYLE15. Naya Higashijima	9:56.74100 BACKSTROKE44. Suzanne Starkey	56.51100 BUTTERFLY34. Suzanne Starkey	55.76200 BUTTERFLY7. Naya Higashijima	1:58.50200 BREASTSTROKE3. Birte Steven	2:12.02100 BREASTSTROKE6. Birte Steven	1:01.6833. Paula Finlay	1:03.80200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY37. Birte Steven	2:03.62400 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY49. Monika Miroslaw	4:23.40200 MEDLEY RELAY10. Oregon State	1:42.98400 MEDLEY RELAY13. Oregon State	3:44.31200 FREESTYLE RELAY35. Oregon State	1:35.66400 FREESTYLE RELAY29. Oregon State	3:28.77800 FREESTYLE RELAY23. 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. This seaon, OSU is 1-0.

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.First things first

OREGON STATE EVENT WINNERS: Naya Higashijima leads OSU swimmers in individual event victories this season with 26 wins. A look at Beaver event winners for the 2002-03 season (exhibition wins as a non-scoring competitor in parentheses) through Jan. 11:

1. Naya Higashijima	262. Birte Steven	   (1) 223. Kristin Huston	9(tie) Suzanne Starkey	95. Ausra Pacebutaite	86. Kristi Kuhlmey	6(tie) Monika Miroslaw	28.  Paula Finlay	1(tie) Christina Kinney	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 Jan. 11:

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	3(tie) 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 hold four 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 Jan. 11:

50 FREESTYLE1. Amy van Loben Sels	23.11	19942. Kristin Huston	23.40	20024. Suzanne Starkey	23.85	20039. Ausra Pacebutaite	24.46	2003

100 FREESTYLE1. Amy van Loben Sels 50.64 19952. Kristin Huston 50.98 20027. Suzanne Starkey 52.42 2001

200 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 2003

500 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 2001

1,000 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 2000

1,650 FREESTYLE1. Naya Higashijima 16:34.60 20022. Kristi Kuhlmey 17:04.35 20036. Grace Peterson 17:16.71 20027. Danielle Kinney 17:22.84 2003

100 BACKSTROKE1. Suzanne Starkey 56.51 20034. Ausra Pacebutaite 57.54 20039. Kristin Huston 59.37 200210. Ashleigh Thomas 1:00.24 2003

200 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 2003

100 BUTTERFLY1. Suzanne Starkey 55.76 20033. Naya Higashijima 56.46 20014. Christina Kinney 56.61 200310. Monika Miroslaw 58.96 2003

200 BUTTERFLY1. Naya Higashijima 1:57.72 20022. Monika Miroslaw 2:03.66 20033. Suzanne Starkey 2:04.54 20025. Christina Kinney 2:06.56 2003

100 BREASTSTROKE1. Birte Steven 1:01.68 20032. Paula Finlay 1:03.80 20033. Mari Embertson 1:05.90 2003

200 BREASTSTROKE1. Birte Steven 2:12.02 20032. Paula Finlay 2:16.61 20023. Mari Embertson 2:19.59 20038. Nicole Reynolds 2:23.87 2002

200 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 2002

400 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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