UW Women Open Up Pac-10 Championships Tonight
Feb. 27, 2008
LONG BEACH, Calif. - The University of Washington women's swimming team opens up the Pac-10 Championships tonight in Long Beach, Calif., seeking their best finish in program history. The Huskies have not finished higher than sixth since joining the Pac-10 in swimming for the 1986-87 season, but are coming off one of their most successful dual meet seasons in school history.
The Pac-10 Championships include diving scores and since the Huskies do not field a diving team that puts them at a disadvantage from the start. While UW head coach Whitney Hite would like to see his program come through with a finish in the top half of the standings - there are nine Pac-10 women's teams - his main goal is to have as many girls possible qualify for the NCAA Championships in late March.
'Our number one priority here is getting people qualified for the NCAAs,' said Hite. 'Not having a diving team puts us at a disadvantage in the team scores. However, we're here to get girls on to the next meet.'
The Huskies finished the season with one of their best-ever dual meet records, 11-4, and went 3-4 against Pac-10 schools. It was the first time in at least 10 years that Washington has competed in a dual meet against every Pac-10 school during the regular season, finishing 3-4 in the conference, including a big win over then No. 21 USC on January 25.
'We've had a great dual meet season, but really this is the meet that we have been gearing for,' said Hite. 'I'm excited to see everyone swim. I believe we're going to have our best showing in quite some time, if not ever.
'We have rested pretty well for this week because we have worked so hard this year,' commented Hite about his team's training leading up the conference championships. 'Now we get to enjoy the fruits of our labor. We've had a mission since September to swim good here and qualify a lot of people for the NCAAs.'
Freshman Ariana Kukors is expected to score the most points for the UW women. She is entered in the maximum number of events, four relays and three individual events. Kukors, who has set seven school records this season, will swim in the 400 and 800 freestyle relays, the 200 and 400 medley relays, the 200 breaststroke and the 200 and 400 individual medley events.
Also expected to contribute major points for Washington are juniors Kim Jasmer and Genevieve Patterson and sophomore Erin Campbell. Jasmer was the only Husky to score points at the NCAA Championships last season, single-handedly leading the UW to a 35th-place national finish after placing 11th in the 500 freestyle and 14th in the 1650 freestyle to earn all-america honors.
The Pac-10 Championships open tonight at 6 p.m., and will run through Saturday. Just two events, the 200 medley relay and the 800 freestyle relay, are on the schedule tonight.