Steven To Compete At NCAA Women's Swimming Championships

March 12, 2001


It hasn't happened often for Oregon State women's swimming, but for the second time in the history of its program, OSU will send a swimmer to the NCAA Championships, as Birte Steven qualified for the prestigious event in both the 100- and 200-yard breaststrokes.

Steven's top time in the 100 breast was a school-record 1:02.24, which she swam at the Pacific-10 Conference Championships in February. Her time of 2:14.43 in the 200 came at the Speedo Cup in December, and also stands a school-best.

Regarded as the second-fastest meet in the world, next to the Olympic Games, the NCAA Championships represent a huge step for Oregon State swimming. To qualify means to be among the top 50 programs in the nation, and of those 50, roughly five are newcomers each year, so to be among that group is an impressive feat.

'This is huge,' OSU head coach Mariusz Podkoscielny said. 'Birte's qualifying puts us in among the elite programs in the country. To be a new team in that field is a great accomplishment. It's pretty hard to break in to that group, so hopefully we're here to stay.

Steven had a strong showing at the Pac-10s, placing eighth in both the 100 and 200 breaststrokes while swimming against some of the top competitors in the world. Steven set school records nine times this year - including five in the 100 breaststroke.

The last OSU swimmer to swim in the NCAAs was Amy van Loben Sels, who qualified in 1994 and 1995 in the freestyle sprints and earned All-America status.

'Birte's excited and ready to go,' Podkoscielny said. 'The outcome will depend a lot on what heat she draws, but hopefully she can get that second swim at night (in the finals) and earn All-America honors.'

'She will have seen quite a few of the same swimmers at the Pac-10s, so she knows how strong the competition will be. The qualifying times this year were unusually fast - much faster than most years, so we know this will be a great challenge.'

HEAD COACH MARIUSZ PODKOSCIELNY: Mariusz Podkoscielny completed his fifth season as head coach at Oregon State. In his first five years, OSU has a dual meet record of 21-30 overall and 2-14 in the Pacific-10, including 7-5 overall this year and 0-3 in the Pac-10. Podkoscielny, 32, is a 9-time All-American and 2-time Olympian.

Prior to coming to OSU in the fall of 1996, Podkoscielny had been an assistant men's and women's coach at Arizona since 1993.

A native of Gdansk, Poland, Podkoscielny was a member of the Arizona swim team from 1988-92 and was one of the fastest distance swimmers in UA history. He was also on the Polish National Team from 1980-92 and competed in the 1988 and 1992 Olympics.

OSU AT THE PAC-10s: The Beavers finished ninth this year with a score of 285 at the Championships, which included six of the nation's top 17 programs. Five of those teams were ranked 10th or higher.

The Beavers broke four school records: Naya Higashijima in the 1,000 freestyle and the 1,650 freestyle, Birte Steven in the 100 breaststroke, and the 200 freestyle team of Arianna Higuera, Trista Hedlind, Bonnie Renwick and Suzanne Starkey.

Steven became just the third OSU swimmer to place in the top eight of an event, as she placed eighth in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes. Teammate Paula Finlay placed eighth two years ago in the 100 breaststroke.

The highest OSU has placed at the Pac-10s was seventh, in 1991. OSU placed second at the Northwest Regionals three times, most recently in 1983.

BEAVER SENIORS LEAD THE WAY: The five seniors on this year's squad - Arianna Higuera, Amy Imwalle, Erin Buckley, Kristen Severance, and Melissa Hsieh - hold 17 of the spots on OSU's top-10 performers list, 63 of which are held by current squad members. Higuera has five, Imwalle four, Hsieh and Severance three each, and Buckley two.

OSU WINS SEVEN DUALS: For the second season in a row, the Beavers won seven dual meets. Prior to the 2000 campaign, OSU had not won seven duals since 1991, nor had they enjoyed a winning season since the same year.

SOPHOMORE REWRITING THE RECORDBOOKS: Sophomore Naya Higashijima owns four of the 14 individual school records, and has broken school marks five times this season. Here's a look: 500 freestyle, 4:54.99, 1,000 freestyle, 10:14.31, 1,650 freestyle: 16:54.91, 200 butterfly, 2:01.43.

STEVENS NATATORIUM: For the second season in a row, Oregon State scheduled all its home swim meets on campus as the Beavers moved into Stevens Natatorium in the 1999-2000 season. OSU had a 2-2 dual meet record at home this year, and went 3-1 last 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.

OREGON STATE SCHOOL RECORDS: Oregon State has set school records 19 times this season. Here's a look at the records that have been set - nine of which have been posted by freshman Birte Steven:

1,000 freestyle 	Naya Higashijima 10:16.57, Oct. 21 at San Jose State100 breaststroke	Birte Steven, 1:03.23, Oct. 21 at San Jose State200 breaststroke	Birte Steven, 2:17.29, Oct. 21 at San Jose State100 breaststroke	Birte Steven, 1:03.22, Nov. 11 vs. Nevada400 medley relay	Starkey, Steven, Renwick, Higuera, 3:49.01,	Nov. 30 at Speedo Cup200 medley relay	Starkey, Steven, Renwick, Higuera, 1:44.90,	Dec. 1 at Speedo Cup100 butterfly   	Bonnie Renwick, 57.04, Dec. 1 at Speedo Cup100 breaststroke	Birte Steven, 1:02.67, Dec. 1 at Speedo Cup100 breaststroke	Birte Steven, 1:02.45, Dec. 1 at Speedo Cup400 individual medley	Birte Steven, 4:27.99, Dec. 1 at Speedo Cup100 backstroke  	Suzanne Starkey, 57.15, Dec. 1 at Speedo Cup200 breaststroke	Birte Steven, 2:15.55, Dec. 2 at Speedo Cup200 breaststroke	Birte Steven, 2:14.43, Dec. 2 at Speedo Cup200 butterfly   	Naya Higashijima, 2:01.43, Dec. 2 at Speedo Cup1,000 freestyle 	Naya Higashijima, 10:14.96, Jan. 13 at Washington200 freestyle relay	Higuera, Hedlind, Renwick, Starkey, 1:35.73,	Feb. 22 at Pac-10s100 breaststroke	Birte Steven, 1:02.24, Feb. 23 at Pac-10s1,000 freestyle 	Naya Higashijima, 10:14.31 (1,650 split),	Feb. 24 at Pac-10s1,650 freestyle 	Naya Higashijima, 16:54.91, Feb. 24 at Pac-10s

OREGON STATE EVENT WINNERS: In the dual meet season, Birte Steven and Naya Higashijima led the Beavers with 24 wins. A look at this season's winners (not including relay events):(Wins while swimming as an exhibtion entry are inparentheses, those wins are not included in total)

1. Birte Steven	(1)     **242. Naya Higashijima	(2) 243. Paula Finlay 	134. Arianna Higuera	85. Suzanne Starkey	56. Erin Buckley 	1tie. Bonnie Renwick	(1) 2tie. Jill McMinn	1tie. Jessica Randleman	(1)*- represents a win at the Speedo Cup, Nov. 30-Dec. 2.

BEAVERS' PLACES ON SCHOOL TOP-10 LISTS: The 2000-2001 Oregon State team holds 63 of the 140 places on the list of top-10 performers in each event. Current OSU squad members hold 10 of the 14 individual school records, including four by Higashijima. Steven holds three, while Renwick, Finlay, and Starkey have one apiece.

Here are the members of the 2000-2001 OSU squad with the most entries on the school's all-time leaders list:

1. Naya Higashijima 	7 (200 free, 500 free, 1,000 free, 1,650 free, 100 fly, 200 fly)2. Paula Finlay 	6 (200 free, 200 back, 100 breast, 200 breast, 200 IM, 400 IM)3. Arianna Higuera	5 (50 free, 100 free, 200 free, 100 fly, 200 IM)tie. Bonnie Renwick	5 (50 free, 100 free, 100 back, 100 fly, 200 IM)tie. Suzanne Starkey	5 (50 free, 100 free, 100 back, 200 back, 100 fly)tie. Birte Steven	5 (100 breast, 200 breast, 200 IM, 400 IM, 500 free)6. Sarah Cohen  	4 (100 breast, 200 breast, 200 IM, 400 IM)tie. Amy Imwalle	4 (200 free, 500 free, 1,000 free,1,650 free)

WHERE THE BEAVERS RANK ON SCHOOL LISTS: Here are OSU's school records and where members of the 2000-2001 Beavers (listed in bold type) rank on the school's top-10 lists through March 12:

50 FREESTYLE1. Amy van Loben Sels	23.11	19944. Arianna Higuera	23.99	20016. Suzanne Starkey	24.32	20017. Bonnie Renwick	24.36	200110. Trista Hedlind	24.56	2001100 FREESTYLE1. Amy van Loben Sels	50.64	19954. Arianna Higuera	52.11	20016. Suzanne Starkey	52.56	20018. Bonnie Renwick	53.19	200010. Trista Hedlind	53.25	2000200 FREESTYLE1. Traci Lamoure	1:50.91	19983. Naya Higashijima	1:52.89	20004. Melissa Hsieh	1:54.28	19985. Arianna Higuera	1:54.57	20007. Paula Finlay 	1:54.99	20008. Amy Imwalle	        1:55.12	19999. Erin Buckley 	1:55.19	199810. Trista Hedlind	1:55.52	2000500 FREESTYLE1. Naya Higashijima	4:54.99	20005. Birte Steven 	5:05.31	20017. Amy Imwalle  	5:06.95	199910. Jill Personius	5:10.63	20001,000 FREESTYLE1. Naya Higashijima	10:14.31	20014. Jill McMinn  	10:38.50	20005. Amy Imwalle  	10:38.58	20016. Dana Stoddard	10:44.56	19991,650 FREESTYLE1. Naya Higashijima	16:54.91	20014. Amy Imwalle  	17:28.21	19995. Dana Stoddard	17:35.08	19997. Jill Personius	17:45.61	20018. Jill McMinn  	17:51.30	2000100 BACKSTROKE1. Suzanne Starkey	57.15	20017. Bonnie Renwick	59.44	20019. Erin Buckley 	1:00.50	2001200 BACKSTROKE1. Christy Ryerson	2:03.41	19944. Paula Finlay 	2:05.45	20015. Suzanne Starkey	2:05.93	2001100 BUTTERFLY1. Bonnie Renwick	57.04	20012. Naya Higashijima	57.17	20013. Kristin Martinec	57.20	19994. Suzanne Starkey	58.00	20015. Melissa Hsieh	58.03	199810. Arianna Higuera	59.31	1999200 BUTTERFLY1. Naya Higashijima	2:01.43	20013. Melissa Hsieh	2:07.67	19985. Kristin Martinec	2:09.34	199910. Jill McMinn 	2:11.28	2000100 BREASTSTROKE1. Birte Steven 	1:02.24	20012. Paula Finlay 	1:04.39	20003. Kristen Severance	1:05.94	20014. Sheila Tehranchi	1:06.26	20019. Sarah Cohen  	1:07.81	1999200 BREASTSTROKE1. Birte Steven 	2:14.43	20013. Sheila Tehranchi	2:21.17	20014. Paula Finlay 	2:21.23	20005. Kristen Severance	2:21.58	20016. Sarah Cohen  	2:21.70	1999200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY1. Paula Finlay 	2:05.46	20002. Birte Steven 	2:05.84	20014. Arianna Higuera	2:08.10	19997. Kristen Severance	2:09.44	20018. Sarah  Cohen 	2:10.96	19999. Bonnie Renwick	2:11.20	2000400 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY1. Birte Steven 	4:27.99	20013. Paula Finlay 	4:28.30	20015. Sarah Cohen  	4:34.82	19998. Naya Higashijima	4:35.85	200010. Sheila Tehranchi	4:41.33	1999

NOTE: This list complete through Mar. 12

BEAVER SPORTS INFORMATION: Oregon State women's swimming sports information director Travis Lahman can be reached at (541) 737-3720.

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