Feature: Making A Splash

June 28, 2007

By Caitlin Scott
Daily Evergreen

June 28, 2007

Pullman, WA (CSTV U-WIRE) -- WSU graduate Erin McCleave will be representing WSU and her home country of Australia at the 2007 World University Games in Bangkok, Thailand.

'I'm excited - I'll swim the best I can, and hopefully come out with some good times and enjoy my experience,' she said.

McCleave will be swimming the 400- and 800-meter freestyle in the competition and has been training every day with the WSU swim team, she said.

The World University Games comprises 12 core sports and up to 5 optional sports determined by the host nation. Participants are selected by having qualifying times from their competitions and then applying for the games.

'Erin being selected for the World University Games is a really great opportunity for her to get exposure on a global level,' said Suzanne Yee, assistant coach for the WSU swim team.

McCleave has had continual improvement throughout her tenure at WSU in the past four years and will be training for Olympic trials in March, said Yee. 'Since she has experience, she's going into it well prepared both mentally and physically,' she said. McCleave said she hopes to have fun and experience a new culture. McCleave has been swimming since she was four or five years old and started swimming competitively when she was 13, she said.

'My inspiration for swimming [was] my club coach,' McCleave said. 'He's like my second dad. He coached me growing up for almost 10 years.' Now that McCleave has graduated from WSU and will no longer swim with the WSU team, she said swimming would always be a part of her life, whether it's recreational or competitive. 'She works really hard. She's always the first in the pool and the last one out,' Yee said. 'She's considerate of her teammates and is always conscious of being a good teammate.' McCleave left WSU as the holder of five individual WSU records and two school records as part of the 800 freestyle relay team and the 400 medley relay team. She also earned two All-America honors at the 2007 NCAA Swimming Championships, and become the third swimmer in WSU's history to earn the award and the second to receive the honor multiple times. McCleave also attended the U.S. Spring National Championships where her time of 16:41.42 in the 1500 freestyle rated her 22nd in the world at the time, according to a press release.

'Once she knew she had the times to go, she was open to talking about going to the games,' said Yee. 'She's level headed and wants to have a goal in mind - if it makes sense, then it's a stepping stone for her.' After the games, McCleave a two-time All-Pac-10 Academic First Team selection and an NCAA Academic All-American, will return to Australia for the Australian Short Course Championships in Melbourne. Afterward, she heads back to Pullman and will begin training for the Australian Olympic Trials which take place March 22-29, 2008 at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre.

'She's worked hard all spring and summer and it will be fun to represent her country and her school,' Yee said. The World University Games are held every two years under the support of the International University Sports Federation. The Games are the second largest global high performance multi-sport event after the Olympics.

(C) 2007 Daily Evergreen via CSTV U-WIRE

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