2017 Pac-12 Swimming (W) & Diving (M/W) Championships: Washington State freshman phenoms help build program
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. – Coming off of a record-setting 2015-16 season, Washington State women’s swimming had a bright future.
Three freshmen have helped the Cougars build the program and keep the momentum going.
Ryan Falk, Luci Brock, and Angela Mavrantza came to Pullman from all across the globe – literally. Falk hails from Portland, Ore., Brock from Edmonds, Wash., and Mavrantza all the way from Athens, Greece.
Though they’re all from different places, there was a common thread in why each woman chose WSU.
“I chose Washington State because when I visited all the girls were extremely inviting,” Brock said. “The whole atmosphere was just great, I loved the energy, and everybody was super cool.”
Mavrantza echoed that sentiment.
“I didn’t visit…so when I was talking to [the coaches], they were really nice, and they helped me know how the environment was going to be, even if I was away [from home].”
As the only three freshmen on a team with eight seniors, coming into Pullman might have been intimidating. But those seniors, and the rest of the team, has welcomed the talented newcomers.
“They’re all such good leaders, and they’ve helped us through the transition so well,” Falk said with a smile. “It’s just been so nice, they’re all so friendly.”
Head coach Tom Jager could not be happier with his incoming class.
“The freshmen always bring great energy, and these guys are great racers. They’re tough, and they’re just starting, so we’re pretty excited about that.”
And they proved just how tough they are on night one of the Pac-12 Swimming (W) and Diving (M/W) Championships Wednesday. Falk anchored the women’s 800-yard freestyle relay, touching the wall in a time of 7:14.51, helping shatter the old school record by nearly 4 seconds.
For Falk, it was a big moment.
“I love my school so much, and I love my team, and I just want to do well for them. I was really excited tonight to break our record, and everyone on our team was so excited…We’re all so motivated, and it’s fun to see everyone try to get to the new level.”
NEW SCHOOL RECORD!! Addisynn Bursch, Rachel Thompson, Jasmine Margetts and Ryan Falk crush the 800 free relay record with a time of 7:14.51!
— WSU Women's Swimming (@CougarSwimming) February 23, 2017
Not bad for your first-ever championship in the highly-competitive Conference of Champions. The three girls will have more opportunities later in the week, as more individual races get underway, and that’s something they’re looking forward to.
“I think all of us are swimming one event a day,” Brock said. “And it’s just really exciting. I’m kind of nervous, but really excited to try and do best times in all my events.”
The level of competition in the Pac-12 is pushing the newcomers to their best and encouraging them to set high goals for themselves. It’s something that Falk is looking forward to.
“It’s so cool to be here, because we have so many fast people in this conference, and they can help us get better and grow, and it’s so motivating, and we just really want to move up.”
Mavrantza agreed. “It’s very motivating to see these people trying their best, and I think it helps you get the best out of you.”
Perhaps Brock says it best.
“The sky’s the limit.”
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