Swimmers Back On Road For Double-Dual Versus California And San Jose State

Nov. 14, 2002

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- -

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Oregon State vs California, at San Jose State; San Jose, Calif.; 1 p.m.

Oregon State will take part in its second double-dual meet of the season Friday afternoon when it competes against San Jose State and No. 4 California in San Jose.

The Beavers (2-1, 0-1 Pacific-10) split their first double-dual meet of the year Oct. 19 against UCLA and California-Santa Barbara and defeated non-league opponent Nevada last Saturday.

The Golden Bears (2-1) last swam Nov. 2 in a victory over Clemson. Their lone loss came Nov. 1 to second-ranked Georgia. San Jose State (1-2) split a double-dual last Saturday, defeating California-Santa Cruz and losing to Utah.

California is led by two-time Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year Natalie Coughlin. The Golden Bears finished eighth at the NCAA Championships last season, in which Coughlin won three events and set NCAA records in each of them.

'California is a top-five team in the nation and the amount of talent they have is pretty amazing,' Oregon State head coach Mariusz Podkoscielny said. 'San Jose State is a team that keeps getting better each year, and we will be in the hole because of diving.

' I know we are going to be better than our first double dual, but I still think regular college dual meets have a better atmosphere.'

The Spartans and Bears will pick up 32 diving points against the Beavers because OSU does not field a diving team.

OSU will be without sophomore co-captain Anna Zucker and sophomore Jessie Hong, who are recovering from injuries.

'There was a flu bug going around this whole week, so we will be running on one or two less cylinders,' Podkoscielny said. 'That's OK because it is good to test our abilities under different circumstances. Last year we had unstable circumstances and it really helped us to be tougher and to swim harder.'

OREGON STATE VERSUS FRIDAY'S OPPONENTS: Oregon State is 11-1 all-time versus San Jose State and 0-3 all-time versus California. The Beavers won last season's dual with the Spartans 99-87 in Corvallis. OSU has won five consecutive duals over SJSU with its lone loss in the series coming in 1997. Oregon State and California have not competed against each other in a dual since the Golden Bears won in 1997.

OSU'S HOME OPENER: Birte Steven and Naya Higashijima each won two events and six other Beavers won individual races as Oregon State defeated Nevada 141.5-115.5 Saturday, Nov. 9 at Stevens Natatorium.

Steven finished first in the 100- and 200-yard breaststrokes and Higashijima took the 500 freestyle and 200 butterfly for OSU (2-1 overall, 0-1 Pacific-10), before a standing-room only crowd at the team's first home meet of the season.

'Its amazing because every year we keep getting more and more support from our fans and our girls appreciate that and swim harder,' Oregon State head coach Mariusz Podkoscielny said. 'We go to a lot of dual meets around the country and there is no tougher crowd than here at OSU.'

Oregon State earned 1-2 finishes in five events on the day. Monika Miroslaw finished behind Higashijima in the 200 butterfly, and Kristi Kuhlmey earned second in the 500 freestyle. In the 100 butterfly, OSU took the top three spots, with Christina Kinney touching the wall first followed by Suzanne Starkey and Miroslaw. Kuhlmey and Danielle Kinney were the top two placers in the 1,000 freestyle, and Ausra Pacebutaite and Starkey went 1-2 in the 100 backstroke.

'That's the first time since I've been here that we went 1-2 in the backstroke,' Podkoscielny said. 'It's always been our Achilles heel so it was nice for our girls to do that today. In the past it was an event that the opponent would take, but the tide is changing in our favor.'

Kristin Huston also had an event victory for OSU, taking the 50 freestyle. Oregon State started the meet with a victory in the 200 medley relay.

HEAD COACH MARIUSZ PODKOSCIELNY: Mariusz Podkoscielny is now in his seventh season as head coach at Oregon State, having turned the program around since arriving prior to the 1996-97 season. Under his leadership, the Beavers have posted 3 straight winning seasons, going 23-14 for a .622 winning percentage since the start of the 1999-2000 season.

Since Podkoscielny took over the Beaver program, his teams have a dual meet record of 30-36 overall and 2-19 in the Pacific-10.

Podkoscielny, 34, 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.

In June, 2002, Podkoscielny was honored as the OSU Female Sport Coach of the Year at the fourth annual Benny Awards.

SENIOR ALL-AMERICAN NAYA HIGASHIJIMA: Naya Higashijima has led the Beavers in individual event victories in all three of her seasons at OSU, and in her career has 84 first-place finishes in dual meet and invitational competition. So far this season, Higashijima has eight wins. As a freshman, Higashijima won 21 races, as a sophomore she won 24 and as a junior 31, including her first 20 individual races to start the season.

Higashijima made her first trip to the NCAA Championships in 2002 as she qualified in the 500 freestyle, 400 individual medley and the 200 butterfly. She set a school record in the 500 freestyle and 200 butterfly, and placed 10th in the 200 butterfly to gain her first All-American honor.

JUNIOR ALL-AMERICAN BIRTE STEVEN: The phrase 'first-ever' was commonly associated with Birte Steven after her performance at the 2002 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. Steven became the first-ever OSU swimmer to earn All-America honors twice in the same meet with her 16th-place finish in the 100 breaststroke and her 11th- place finish in the 200 breaststroke. Combined with her 16th-place finish at the 2001 NCAAs in the 200 breastroke, Steven is OSU's first-ever 3-time All-American.

Steven has 53 first-place finishes in dual meet and individual competition in her career at OSU. This season, Steven has four wins. As a freshman, Steven shared team-high honors in individual event victories with Naya Higashijima at 24 scoring wins. In her sophomore season, Steven placed first in 23 races.

SENIORS CAREER RECORD: Seniors Paula Finlay, Naya Higashijima, Jillian McMinn and Suzanne Starkey have helped Oregon State compile a 23-14 dual meet record during their careers. In their first three years they posted a 21-13 dual meet record behind three consecutive seven-win seasons. That mark (.618 winning percentage) is the best three-year record since OSU joined the Pac-10 and NCAA swimming in the 1986-87 season.

STEVENS NATATORIUM: Oregon State swims its home meets at Stevens Natatorium on the OSU campus. The Beavers defeated Nevada in the first home meet this season and will host a total of four dual meets during the 2002-03 season.

The Beavers went 3-1 at home in dual meets last season and have an all-time record of 9-4 in the pool.

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 SEASON FINISHES: The Beavers 7-5 dual meet record last year marked the third consecutive year that OSU finished with a winning record; that's the longest streak since a 4-year run above .500 from 1987-88 to 1990-91.

OREGON STATE EVENT WINNERS: Naya Higashijima leads OSU swimmers in individual event victories this season with eight wins. A look at Beaver event winners for the 2002-03 season.

1. Naya Higashijima	82. Birte Steven	        63. Kristin Huston	34. Kristi Kuhlmey	25. Ausra Pacebutaite	1(tie) Christina Kinney	1

BEAVERS' PLACES ON SCHOOL TOP-10 LISTS: Members of OSU's 2002-2003 squad hold 56 of the 140 places on the Beavers' list of the top 10 performers in each individual event. Current Beaver swimmers with entries on the OSU all-time leaders list:

1. Naya Higashijima 	82. Birte Steven	        73. Paula Finlay	        6(tie) Suzanne Starkey	65. Kristin Huston	4(tie) Mari Embertson	47. Jessie Hong	        3(tie) Grace Peterson	3(tie). Kristi Kuhlmey	310. Jillian McMinn	2(tie) Monika Miroslaw	2(tie) Ausra Pacebutaite	2(tie) Nicole Reynolds	2(tie) Christina Kinney	215. Ashleigh Thomas	1(tie) Danielle Kinney	1

OSU FRESHMEN ON SCHOOL TOP-10 LISTS: So far this season, six Oregon State freshmen hold a combined 11 spots on the school's top-10 performance list. Kristi Kuhlmey leads the freshmen with three top-10 times and her No. 2 time in the 1,000 freestyle is the highest top-10 performance by any member of the team this season.

WHERE THE BEAVERS RANK ON SCHOOL LISTS: Here are OSU's school records and where members of the 2002-2003 Beavers (listed in bold type) rank on the school's individual top-10 list:

50 FREESTYLE1. Amy van Loben Sels	23.11	19942. Kristin Huston	23.40	20026. Suzanne Starkey	23.96	2002100 FREESTYLE1. Amy van Loben Sels	50.64	19952. Kristin Huston	50.98	20027. Suzanne Starkey	52.42	2001200 FREESTYLE1. Kristin Huston	1:50.61	20023. Naya Higashijima	1:52.24	20025. Birte Steven	        1:54.20	200210. Paula Finlay	1:54.99	2000500 FREESTYLE1. Naya Higashijima	4:51.74	20024. Grace Peterson	5:01.83	20027. Kristi Kuhlmey	5:04.97	20038. Birte Steven	        5:05.31	20011,000 FREESTYLE1. Naya Higashijima	10:00.85	20022. Kristi Kuhlmey	10:15.57	20033. Birte Steven	        10:19.01	20027. Grace Peterson	10:26.76	20028. Danielle Kinney	10:34.86	20039. Jillian McMinn	10:38.50	20001,650 FREESTYLE1. Naya Higashijima	16:34.60	20025. Grace Peterson	17:16.71	200210. Jillian McMinn	17:51.30	2000100 BACKSTROKE1. Suzanne Starkey	57.15	20015. Ausra Pacebutaite	58.11	20039. Kristin Huston	59.37	2002200 BACKSTROKE1. Christy Ryerson	2:03.41	19944. Paula Finlay	        2:05.45	20015. Suzanne Starkey	2:05.93	20017. Jessie Hong	        2:06.59	20028. Ausra Pacebutaite	2:07.78	2003100 BUTTERFLY1. Suzanne Starkey	55.77	20023. Naya Higashijima	56.46	20016. Christina Kinney	58.08	2003200 BUTTERFLY1. Naya Higashijima	1:57.72	20022. Suzanne Starkey	2:04.54	20024. Monika Miroslaw	2:06.02	20039. Christina Kinney	2:09.50	2003100 BREASTSTROKE1. Birte Steven	        1:01.94	20022. Paula Finlay	        1:03.88	20025. Mari Embertson	1:06.38	20029. Nicole Reynolds	1:07.45	2002200 BREASTSTROKE1. Birte Steven	        2:12.96	20022. Paula Finlay	        2:16.61	20023. (tie) Mari Embertson	2:20.77	20028. Nicole Reynolds	2:23.87	2002200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY1. Birte Steven	        2:04.01	20022. Paula Finlay	        2:04.54	20023. Mari Embertson	2:06.56	20027. Jessie Hong	        2:08.39	20028. Naya Higashijima	2:08.40	2002400 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY1. Naya Higashijima	4:18.98	20022. Mari Embertson	4:20.23	20023. Birte Steven	        4:21.54	20025. Paula Finlay	        4:28.30	20016. Jessie Hong	        4:28.31	20029. Kristi Kuhlmey	4:34.50	200310. Monika Miroslaw	4:34.89	2003
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