Beavers to meet No. 5 Arizona and No. 21 Arizona State this weekend

Jan. 4, 2005

Corvallis, Ore. - FRIDAY, JANUARY 7Oregon State at No. 5 ArizonaTucson, Ariz.; 1 p.m. PSTSATURDAY, JANUARY 8Oregon State at No.18 Arizona StateTempe, Ariz.; 11:30 a.m. PST

Oregon State ends its three week competition drought this weekend when the Beavers (4-3 overall, 0-2 Pacific-10) travel to Arizona to face both the No. 5 Arizona Wildcats (3-0 overall, 2-0 Pacific-10) and No. 21 Arizona State Sun Devils. This is the first ever meeting between the Beavers and either of the two Arizona schools in a dual meet.

Once again this season the Beavers are facing ranked opponents with hopes of not only scoring, but of competing for the win. Coming off a strong training trip in Hawaii where the Beavers won two of three duals, OSU head coach Larry Liebowitz is optimistic about his team's chances this weekend.

'We swam great in Hawaii and I think we are going to get more comfortable in the face of high level competition.' Liebowitz said. 'I think we will compete heads up against both of them and do real well.'

Competing against tough Pacific-10 opponents has been a season long goal for Liebowitz. Liebowitz scheduled as many ranked teams as he could to help his team gain valuable experience before the Pacific-10 Championships.

'The goal was to have our swimmers not be intimidated of other teams in the Pac-10 championships,' Liebowitz said. Last year (at the Pacific-10 championships) I felt our girls were hesistant to get in the pool and I don't want them to be thrown of their game by who is in the lane next to them.'

After the trip to Arizona, the Beavers will host their only home meet of the year in a double dual against Washington State and Idaho. OSU then wraps up their season with a dual meet against No. 25 Washington in Seattle. As the Beavers head into the the twilight of the their season, coach Liebowitz is confident his team is on track for a superb finish.

'The key people are in very good shape and looking really good,' Liebowitz said. 'I think we are going to do quite well this year.'

This week freshman Courtney Eads has a chance to break into the top 15 all-time event winners for Oregon State. Eads, currently with 13 total wins, needs only two more victories to rank 15th on the list. Atop the list of OSU dual meet winners is Naya Higashijima with 104 in her career.

COLLEGE QUICK 50 OREGON STATE SWIMMERS IN THE TOP 50: Several Oregon State swimmers are among the top 50 in various events so far this season, as compiled by Stu Corliss of Taper and Shave through Dec. 8

Starting in the 50 freestyle, senior Kristin Huston ranks 49th with her season best of 23.43 seconds. In the 200 freestyle, freshman Courtney Eads ranks 40th with her time of 1:49.43. Eads also ranks seventh in the 500 freestyle with her time of 4:45.91 and 18th in the 200 butterfly with a time of 2.00:36. In the 100 backstroke, junior Ausra Pacebutaite ranks 23rd with her time 55.58. Pacebutaite also has a top time in the 200 backstroke with her school record time of 2:01.01, which is good enough to place her 38th so far this season. Freshman Felicia Castaneda ranks 32nd in the 100 breaststroke with her time of 1:03.50. Erika Wirth ranks 49th in the 100 butterfly with her time 55.80. In the 200 butterfly, Monica Miroslaw has the 29th-fastest time at 2:01.48. The Beavers' only All-American, Mari Embertson ranks 38th in the 400 individual medley with a time of 4:21.78.

The OSU relays have been a focal point for the team this year and they have been performing up to national standards. Several of the relays rank in the top 20 of the College Quick 50. In the 200 freestyle relay, the Beavers rank 18th with a time of 1:33.77. In the 400 freestyle relay, the Beavers rank 16th with a time of 3:24.27. The Beavers time of 7:30.56 is good enough for 28th in the 800 freestyle relay. In the medley relays, the Beavers rank 17th in the 200 with a time of 1:43.64 and 17th in the 400 with a time of 3:46.11.

The History OREGON STATE ALL-TIME VS. THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS: While members of the same Pacific-10 conference, neither of the Arizona schools have swam against Oregon State in a head-to-head meet. Both Arizon and Arizona State are perennially ranked in the top-25 in the country and finish strong at the Pacific-10 championships.

Not so long ago OREGON STATE VS. RICE, DARTMOUTH, AT NO. 19 HAWAII: Oregon State's Courtney Eads finished first overall in the 500-yard freestyle and Felicia Castaneda was first overall in the 100 breaststroke as the Beavers won two dual meets and lost one at the Hawai'i Quadrangular on December 16. OSU beat Rice 64-31 and Dartmouth 87-27 but lost to No. 19 Hawai'i 70-41.

OSU now steps away from competition until swimming Pac-10 duals at No. 5 Arizona and No. 21 Arizona State on Jan. 7-8.

Eads had a total of six dual meet wins on the day, also taking the 200 freestyle against Dartmouth and Rice and the 100 butterfly against Dartmouth. Kristin Huston had four dual meet wins for the Beavers, winning the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle against both Rice and Dartmouth.

Mari Embertson and Ausra Pacebutaite had two dual wins each for the Beavers. Emberston took the 200 individual medley against Rice and Dartmouth, while Pacebutaite won the 100 backstroke against Rice and Dartmouth.

Leading the way HEAD COACH Larry Liebowitz: Liebowitz, who has extensive international and club coaching experience, spent the last 8 seasons as assistant head coach for the women's and men's programs at Southern California before coming to Oregon State in the summer of 2003. He is in his second season as OSU's head coach.

In Liebowitz's first season at Oregon State, the Beavers had their best-ever showing at the NCAA Championships by placing 20th and matched their best-ever finish at the Pacific-10 Championships by placing seventh. OSU is now 9-6 in dual meets under Liebowitz; the Beavers had a 7-4 dual record during Liebowitz's debut season at Oregon State.

In 2002-03, Liebowitz helped guide the USC women to third-place finishes in the NCAA Championships and the Pacific-10 Championships. The Trojan men's team was third in the Pac-10 and fifth at the NCAAs.

Liebowitz, 53, served as an assistant coach for the U.S. men's team at the 1999 Pan American Games and was also an assistant coach at the 1997 World University Games. He was coach of the United States men's team in the 1995 Pan Am Games and coach of the 1988 Costa Rica Olympic team.

Even Stevens STEVENS NATATORIUM: Oregon State swims its home meets at Stevens Natatorium on the OSU campus. OSU has an all-time record of 13-5 in the pool after going 1-1 there during the 2003-04 season. 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.

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