Washington State Swimmers Saddle Up for Texas Invite

Dec. 2, 2008

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This Week: The Washington State swim team (4-0) will travel south to Austin, Texas, for a three-day invite hosted by the University of Texas at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center...racing will begin at 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 4 and will continue through to Dec. 6...first session will take place at 10 a.m. and second session at 6 p.m. all three days...invite will feature No. 17 Texas, No. 20 Wisconsin, Nebraska and University of Houston as well as ranked Pacific-10 foes No. 4 Arizona, No. 15 UCLA and No. 16 ASU...of the 21 WSU swimmers that will compete this week, five are seated in the top 10 of their events...senior Elyse Peterson is seated third in the 100 breast and 10th in the 200 breast...sophomore Rugile Mileisyte is seated fifth in the 100 back, sixth in the 50 free and ninth the 100 free...junior Michaela Ahlin is seated fifth in the 200 fly, sixth in the 500 free and ninth in the 100 fly...senior Afton Picket is seated seventh in both the 100 back and 200 back...sophomore Talor Whitaker is seated ninth in the 200 IM...WSU 400 free relay team is seated fourth while both the 400 and 200 medley relay squads are seated fifth...WSU last attended the Texas Invite in 2006...Cougars finished ninth out of 16 teams with 100 team points.

Head Coach Erica Quam on the Texas Invite: 'We're really excited. We have had a schedule that has allowed us to build some confidence and we did get a chance to swim against Notre Dame early in the season. I think that just having our team get up week in and week out, no matter what competitor we were facing demonstrates the kind of character we have as a team. I think they are really eager and excited to face some faster competitors and be pushed a lot more and I think that that's what's going to take us to the next level. I think the whole field of competitors at the Texas Invite is very strong. It will be great to go up against Wisconsin, one of the best teams in the Big 10. It will be great to go up against Texas, Nebraska and University of Houston who are some of the best teams in the southwest. I think it's kind of nice to have a change in venue to see some of the Pac-10 teams and see UCLA, Arizona and ASU at a different pool on Texas's ground. Texas has a fast pool. It's one of the best. It's one of my favorite places to swim as a coach and as a competitor too so I think it will be a great environment.'

Cougar Catch-up: WSU improved its season record to 4-0 with a victory over Seattle University Saturday, Nov. 22 at Gibb Pool...Cougars defeated the Redhawks 153-50...the victory gave Cougar Head Coach Erica Quam her third 4-0 start during her career at WSU and makes her the only coach in program history to do so.

Last Season: Washington State finished the 2007-08 season with a 5-2 dual meet record, its fourth-consecutive winning season under seventh-year head coach Erica Quam...18 swimmers posted 87 lifetime bests in the seven dual meets and four invitational meets the Cougars competed in...16 swims made the evening final sessions at the 2008 Pacific-10 Conference Championships...five records were broken throughout the season, all during the Pac-10 Championships...the 800 freestyle relay team of Michaela Ahlin (Tyreso, Sweden; junior), Rugile Mileisyte (Alytus, Lithuania; sophomore), Talor Whitaker (Chesterton, Ind.; sophomore), and Sierra Burton (Carmel, Calif.; sophomore) set the school record with a time of 7:23.26...this year's team holds 38 spots on the Cougars' all-time top 10 list in 14 individual events.

2008-09 Outlook: This year's squad returns 10 veterans including individual school record holders Rugile Mileisyte (100 back), Elyse Peterson (100 breast) and Michaela Ahlin (200 butterfly)...800 freestyle and 400 medley relay record holders consisting of Mileisyte, Peterson, Ahlin and sophomore Sierra Burton are also returning...11 new swimmers join the Cougar line-up this season.

Coaching Staff: Erica Quam enters her seventh year as WSU head swim coach...under Quam the Cougars have set 12 school records and earned 76 spots on the Cougar individual top 10 lists, three placements at the NCAA Championships and 24 first-team All-Academic honors...Quam has also guided two All-Americans and one Olympian...she is joined by assistant coach Lindsay Henahan and student assistant coach Lina Daugvilaite...Henahan is in her first year as an assistant...she joins WSU women's swimming after serving four years as the assistant coach at the Rochester Institute of Technology...Daugvilaite, a 2008 WSU graduate and four-season athlete for the Cougars, is in her first year as a student assistant coach.

Next up for the Cougars: The Washington State swimmers will train on their own over the holiday season before returning to Pullman at the end of December to travel to UC Irvine for a 10-day training camp.