More Records Fall As Beavers Move Into 8th at Conference Swimming Championships

March 1, 2002

LONG BEACH, Calif. - Oregon State's success in the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool continued Friday as the Beavers broke school records in four events and moved into 8th place at the Pacific-10 Conference Swimming Championships.

Five OSU individuals and two Beaver relay teams met NCAA Championship consideration times in an event, as the Beavers continued to re-write the school's record book in Long Beach. OSU broke three school records in the opening day of the meet Thursday and 12 school records were set at the Belmont Pool when the Beavers competed in the Speedo Cup earlier this season.

'This is by far the best day ever for Oregon State,' OSU head coach Mariusz Podkoscielny said. 'This is the fastest Pac-10 Championships and for us to be able to get in there and score more points in two days then we have in three days in past competitions is just outstanding.'

Naya Higashijima placed 7th in the 400-yard individual medley and Mari Embertson 8th for OSU. Embertson broke Higashijima's school record in her preliminary race with a time of 4 minutes, 20.23 seconds, but Higashijima took the record right back when she swam her preliminary race in 4:18.98. Both times met the NCAA's consideration time of 4:24.73, and the pair's top eight finish marked the first time that OSU has placed more than one swimmer in a final race.

In the 100 breaststroke, Birte Steven finished sixth with a finals time of 1:02.22 and Paula Finlay came in 14th at 1:04.37. Steven's time broke her own school record by .02 seconds and met the NCAA consideration mark.

Starkey, Steven, Bonnie Renwick and Huston took sixth place in the 200 medley relay with a school record time of 1:43.01, and Huston, Higashijima, Steven and Finlay placed sixth in the 800 freestyle relay with a time of 7:27.56, which also broke a school record. Both teams made consideration times for the NCAA Championships.

Also meeting consideration times was Kristin Huston in the 200 freestyle and Suzanne Starkey in the 100 butterfly for Oregon State. Beavers also swimming in finals Saturday also included Jessie Hong (24th place) in the400 individual medley, Starkey (22nd) and Bonnie Renwick (24th) in the 100 backstroke.

'Mari Embertson was the star of the day as she made the biggest drop in her event,' Podkoscielny said. 'Naya, Birte and Suzanne were just great today. When you swim well it is contagious. We have a lot of confidence right now and that is very important.

'We've broken three relay school records and we are challenging big schools,' Podkoscielny said. 'This is the kind of stuff that has never ever happened before. This team has already made history and I can't wait for Saturday.'

OSU trails Washington by 1.5 points for seventh place and the Beavers hold a 17 point advantage over ninth place Washington State heading into the meet's final day Saturday.

'The breaststrokers are going to be key and we will have Naya in the 200 fly and mile,' Podkoscielny said. 'We also need to get points out of the backstroke. The relay is going to be the last event, and determining our team finish might come down to the relay like it did in our dual meet against UW, so we have to be prepared for that.'

Team results: 1. Stanford, 916, 2. USC, 792.5, 3. California, 765, 4. Arizona, 740, 5. UCLA, 664.5, 6. Arizona State, 539.5, 7. Washington, 319.5, 8. Oregon State, 318, 9. Washington State, 301.

200 MEDLEY RELAY - 1. California, 1:39.20, 6. OSU (Starkey, Steven, Renwick, Huston), 1:43.01. 400 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY - 1. Michala Kwasny, USC, 4:09.48, 7. Naya Higashijima, OSU, 4:20.88 (4:18.98 preliminary time) 8. Mari Embertson, OSU, 4:22.12 (4:20.23 prelim), 24. Jessie Hong, OSU, 4:36.87 (4:28.31 prelim). 100 BUTTERFLY - 1. Shelly Ripple, Stanford, 53.46, 12. Suzanne Starkey, OSU, 56.21(55.77 prelim). 200 FREESTYLE - 1. Natalie Coughlin, California, 1:43.30, 23. Kristin Huston, OSU, 1:50.74 (1:50.66 prelim). 100 BREASTSTROKE - 1. Tara Kirk, Stanford, 58.68, 6. Birte Steven, OSU, 1:02.22, 14. Paula Finlay, 1:04.37 (1:03.88 prelim). 100 BACKSTROKE - 1. Natalie Coughlin, California, 50:71, 22. Suzanne Starkey, OSU, 57.75, 24. Bonnie Renwick, OSU, 58.65 (58.35 prelim). 800 FREESTYLE RELAY - 1. Arizona, 4:01.99, 6. Oregon State A (Huston, Higashijima, Steven, Finlay), 7:27.56, 10 . Oregon State B (Personius, Hong, Stoddard, Peterson), 7:51.72.

Preliminary times (OSU only)400 YARD INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY - 32. Nicole Reynolds, 4:39.64. 200 FREESTYLE - 40. Jill Personius, 1:55.48, 48. Grace Peterson, 1:58.57, 49. Dana Stoddard, 2:02.04. 100 BREASTSTROKE - 27. Sheila Tehranchi, 1:06.81, 31. Nicole Reynolds, 1:07.45.

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