Beavers To Complete Home Schedule With Two Duals Against Washington State

Jan. 27, 2003

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FRIDAY, JANUARY 31

Washington State at Oregon State; Stevens Natatorium; 7 p.m.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 1

Washington State at Oregon State; Stevens Natatorium; 11 a.m.

Oregon State wraps up the home portion of its women's swimming season this weekend when it hosts Washington State on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 11 a.m. in a pair of Pacific 10 Conference dual meets at Stevens Natatorium.

The Beavers (10-2 overall, 0-2 Pac-10) are coming off a 134-120 victory at home over Fresno State last Saturday and have won eight consecutive dual meets.

Washington State (4-3, 0-1) last competed Jan. 17 and 18 when it dropped two duals to Nevada.

'WSU coach Erica Quam has brought a new perspective to the team and they have responded well,' Oregon State coach Mariusz Podkoscielny said of the Cougars. 'I don't expect the meet to be as intense as it has in the past, but it is a Pac-10 dual meet and we will be looking for our best performances.'

OSU has competed in back-to-back duals once this season, and Washington State has twice. Both meets this weekend will consist of 13 events.

'We are going to have to put back-to-back performances together, and it is always a little harder the second day,' Podkoscielny said. 'We have to make sure that we are ready mentally and physically to go twice at a high intensity level.'

Saturday's competition marks the final home meet for seniors Paula Finlay, Naya Higashijima, Jillian McMinn and Suzanne Starkey. The foursome has a 31-15 dual meet record during their careers and has been an integral part of a program that has had a winning season each year since their arrival.

'It makes you reflect on the past and it is bittersweet,' Podkoscielny said. 'On one hand you are excited and happy to see them grow throughout the years and get to this point with the success they've brought into the program. At the same time it is sad to see them go. I've really cherished watching them race this season. This has been a special group.'

It's history OREGON STATE-WASHINGTON STATE ALL-TIME SERIES: Oregon State has an all-time record of 9-26 against the Cougars. Washington State has won the last four duals, including a sweep of last year's meets in Pullman by scores of 159-103 and 113-90. Oregon State ended a 17-meet losing streak to the Cougars with two victories in 2000. Washington State has won 16 consecutive meets in Corvallis. The Beavers won the first six duals of the series, which began in 1978.

OSU CRUISES BY FSU: Kristin Huston won three individual events and five other Oregon State swimmers earned first-place finishes as the Beavers defeated Fresno State 134-120 in non-league swimming Jan. 25 at Stevens Natatorium.

Oregon State (10-2) jumped out to an early lead with a win in the 400-yard medley relay and followed that with a victory in the 1,650 freestyle by Naya Higashijima. Huston finished first in the day's third event, the 100 backstroke, and OSU picked up wins in five of the next six races. First-place finishers included: Birte Steven (100 breaststroke), Suzanne Starkey (200 butterfly), Huston (50 and 200 freestyles) and Jessie Hong (200 backstroke).

'We wanted to take control of the meet at the beginning,' OSU head coach Mariusz Podkoscielny said. 'Fresno State is a very improved team and they swim tough here. Some of our girls moved to other events today and it was nice to see them swim events for the first time this year and do well. That gives us more options and better flexibility for championship meets.'

Kristi Kuhlmey had the final win of the day in the 500 freestyle for Oregon State, which improved to 2-0 at home this season.

'Without a doubt we have the best swimming crowd of any teams that we compete against,' Podkosceilny said. 'We have a good following of fans and it feels good.'

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 31-15 for a .670 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 38-37 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 103 first-place finishes in dual meet and invitational competition. So far this season, Higashijima has a team-high 27 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 70 first-place finishes in dual meet and individual competition in her career at OSU. This season, Steven has 23 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 10-2 dual meet record this season is the second-best win total in the program's history. 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 season, 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 31-15 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 and Fresno State at home 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 10-4 in the pool. This seaon, OSU is 2-0. 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.

OREGON STATE EVENT WINNERS: Naya Higashijima leads OSU swimmers in individual event victories this season with 27 wins. A look at Beaver event winners for the 2002-03 season (exhibition wins as a non-scoring competitor in parentheses) through Jan. 25:

1. Naya Higashijima	272. Birte Steven	    (2) 233. Kristin Huston	124. Suzanne Starkey	(1) 105. Ausra Pacebutaite	86. Kristi Kuhlmey	77. Monika Miroslaw	28. Paula Finlay	        1(tie) Christina Kinney	1(tie) Jessie Hong	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. 25:

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. 25:

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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