Steven, Higashijima Hit NCAA Marks

Dec. 8, 2002

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. - Oregon State's Birte Steven set school and meet records to win the 200-yard breaststroke Sunday on the final day of the Husky Invitational women's swimming meet. Steven and Higashijima, who placed second in the 200 butterfly, met qualifying marks for entry into the NCAA Championships.

'It was a great weekend for us,' said OSU head coach Mariusz Podkoscielny, whose team set school records 13 times in 10 different events. 'We had a lot of finals swims tonight, and throughout the whole week, we performed well in both the prelims and the finals.'

Steven broke her own school record in the 200 breaststroke in Sunday's preliminaries with a time of 2 minutes, 12.86 seconds. In the final, Steven bettered the mark again at 2:12.02; that was more than a full second ahead of second-place finisher Megan Quann, who was the 2000 Olympic gold medalist in the 100 breaststroke.

The Beavers had three of the top eight finishers in the 200 butterfly, with Paula Finlay placing sixth and Mari Embertson seventh.

Higashijima was just .04 seconds behind UCLA's Kim Vandenberg in the 200 butterfly final, finishing in 1:58.50. The top three finishers in the race - with UCLA's Kristen Lewis taking third - were separated by just .19 seconds. OSU's Monika Miroslaw placed ninth in the event.

Other top results for Oregon State in Sunday's events included Kristin Huston placing eighth in the 100 freestyle; Jessie Hong placing ninth and Ausra Pacebutaite 12th in the 200 backstroke; and the OSU 400 freestyle relay taking third place.

'This is what we were looking for,' Podkoscielny said. 'We learned a lot about our freshmen; we had 10 of them swimming in an invitational format for the first time. It was a good experience for us and a huge learning experience, and we did it with a great result at the end, which is nice.

'Whenever you've got 10 freshmen coming in, there are a lot of question marks and a lot of getting a feel for what it's like. To perform like this - it was awesome.'

Oregon State headed home Sunday night with final exams beginning Monday. The Beavers will then head for Hawai'i for their winter training trip on Thursday morning, with a meet against Hawai'i, Seattle and Central Washington set for Dec. 17.

'The test in the water is over; now the test in the classroom starts Monday,' Podkoscielny said. 'These swimmers are going through a lot of stress right now, but I'm proud of their efforts.'


(Time listed is from finals; if preliminary time was better, it is in parentheses)

200 BACKSTROKE - 1. Taylor Spivey, UCLA, 1:59.00; 9. Hessie Hong, OSU, 2:05.74; 12. Ausra Pacebutaite, 2:05.79 (2:05.61); 23. Ashleigh Thomas, OSU, 2:10.12 (2:07.87). 100 FREESTYLE - 1. Sara Platzer, UCLA, 49.51; 8. Kristin Huston, OSU, 52.49 (51.78). 200 BREASTSTROKE - 1. Birte Steven, OSU, 2:12.02 (new school record); 6. Paula Finlay, OSU, 1:18.79; 7. Mari Embertson, OSU, 1:19.59. 200 BUTTERFLY - 1. Kim Vandenberg, UCLA, 1:58.46; 2. Naya Higashijima, OSU, 1:58.50; 3. 9. Monika Miroslaw, OSU, 2:03.66; 17. Christina Kinney, OSU, 2:04.22. 400 FREESTYLE RELAY - 1. UCLA, 3:22.19; 3. Oregon State, 3:28.77.

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