OSU Begins Second Half Of Season At Utah, BYU

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Jan. 8, 2003



Oregon State at Utah; Salt Lake City, Utah; 4 p.m. PST


Oregon State at Brigham Young; Provo, Utah; 10 a.m. PST

Oregon State (7-2 overall duals, 0-2 Pacific-10 duals) starts the second half of the season with a pair of non-league dual meets at Utah and Brigham Young. The Beavers start a stretch of six duals in one month on Friday evening against the Utes, then face the Cougars on Saturday morning.

'We are starting off with tough competition,' OSU head coach Mariusz Podkoscielny said. 'We are on the road and they are diving against us, so that puts us at a disadvantage.'

Utah (7-4, 2-1 Mountain West) last competed December 20 in a triangular dual at the Florida Atlantic Invitational. The Utes defeated Florida Atlantic and Northern Arizona but lost to Clemson.

BYU (3-4, 1-2 Mountain West) is coming off a ninth-place finish out of 23 schools at the Speedo Cup on Dec. 5-7.

'We are excited to face both schools,' Podkoscielny said. 'Utah is a much-improved team. They had a good recruiting year, so we are expecting it be a battle.

'They've especially improved their depth. Last year it came down to second and third places, so it will be a fun college meet.'

Oregon State defeated both schools last year at Stevens Natatorium - the first time ever that OSU swept the two in the same season. OSU is 1-4 all-time at Utah and 0-3 at Brigham Young.

When the Beavers return from Utah, they'll prepare for a homestand that includes one meet against Fresno State and two against Pac-10 rival Washington State.

'This is the time of the year that we do speed work, and getting up on the blocks and racing is the best practice for speed,' Podkoscielny said of the regular season's final month. 'It will also keep us sharp and make us tougher going into Pac-10s.'

OREGON STATE ALL-TIME VS OPPONENTS: The Beavers earned their first-ever victory over Brigham Young last season in Corvallis with a 110-92 win. BYU won the first five meetings in the series, and has won all three meets in Utah (1981, 1993 and 1995). OSU is currently on a two-meet win streak against Utah. The Beavers defeated the Utes 116-89 last season in Corvallis. Utah leads the series 5-4, with their last victory coming in the first of two meetings in the 2000-01 season, 120-101. The Beavers rebounded for a 153-126 victory in the second meeting that season, ending a four-meet winless streak on the road against Utah.

OSU SWEEPS FOUR: Oregon State swept to four dual meet wins Dec. 19 in non-league women's swimming, beating Hawai'i 69-35, Cincinnati 74-21, Dartmouth 84-27 and Central Washington 86-8 in a pentagonal dual at Hawai'i. Naya Higashijima, Suzanne Starkey and Birte Steven all had seven first-place finishes in dual scoring for the Beavers.

'We were a little concerned going into the meet because we'd worked very hard and done a lot of yards this week,' said OSU head coach Mariusz Podkoscielny, whose team was on its annual winter training trip. 'We knew we were a little broken down and tired, so we were a little concerned with how they'd react to getting in the blocks and racing.'

'We needed to make up some points from diving, especially against Hawai'i,' Podkoscielny said. 'They have a couple of good, fast international swimmers who made us concerned as far as the meet goes. The way the meet was set up, with a low-scoring format, it was favoring a smaller team. We couldn't rely on our depth - we had to get the job done at the top spots.'

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 dual meet seasons, going 28-15 for a .650 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 35-37 overall and 2-20 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 3 of her seasons at OSU, and in her career has 97 first-place finishes in dual meet and invitational competition. So far this season, Higashijima has a team-high 21 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-yard 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-yard 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 65 first-place finishes in dual meet and individual competition in her career at OSU. This season, Steven has 18 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.

OREGON STATE RECEIVES VOTES IN NATIONAL POLL: Oregon State received votes in the College Swimming Coaches Association of America Top 25 poll released Dec. 10; it is believed to be the first time OSU has ever received votes in the national women's swimming poll. The Pac-10 currently has 7 teams ranked in the top 25, led by Stanford at No. 4.

SENIORS CAREER RECORD: Seniors Paula Finlay, Naya Higashijima, Jillian McMinn and Suzanne Starkey have helped Oregon State compile a 28-15 dual meet record during their careers. In their first 3 years they posted a 21-13 dual meet record on the strength of 3 consecutive seven-win seasons. That mark (.618 winning percentage) is the best 3-year record since OSU joined the Pac-10 and NCAA swimming prior to the 1986-87 season.

BEAVERS AMONG NATION'S TOP 50 TIMES: Oregon State had a number of marks among the season's top 50 times in NCAA Divison I through Dec. 25. Here's where the Beavers rank among the national leaders:

50 FREESTYLE50. Kristin Huston	23.58500 FREESTYLE30. Naya Higashijima	4:50.76100 BACKSTROKE45. Suzanne Starkey	56.61100 BUTTERFLY36. Suzanne Starkey	55.76200 BUTTERFLY10. Naya Higashijima	1:58.50200 BREASTSTROKE4. Birte Steven	2:12.02100 BREASTSTROKE7. Birte Steven	1:01.6831. Paula Finlay	1:03.80200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY39. Birte Steven	2:03.62400 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY48. Monika Miroslaw	4:23.40200 MEDLEY RELAY12. Oregon State	1:42.98400 MEDLEY RELAY13. Oregon State	3:44.31200 FREESTYLE RELAY36. Oregon State	1:35.66400 FREESTYLE RELAY36. Oregon State	3:28.77800 FREESTYLE RELAY26. Oregon State	7:31.76

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 7-2 dual meet record this season ties the school mark for the fourth-most victories in one season. This is the 10th season, including the fourth straight, that an Oregon State team has recorded at least seven wins. Last year's 7-5 record 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 14 wins. A look at Beaver event winners for the 2002-03 season (exhibition wins as a non-scoring competitor in parentheses) through Dec. 19:

1. Naya Higashijima	212. Birte Steven	   (1) 183. Kristin Huston	94. Suzanne Starkey	85. Kristi Kuhlmey	66. Ausra Pacebutaite	57. Christina Kinney	1(tie) Monika Miroslaw	1

BEAVERS RE-WRITING RECORD BOOK: So far this season Oregon State has set 13 records in 10 different events. All of the record-setting swims took place during the Husky Invitational:

     1,000 FREESTYLE: Naya Higashijima, 9:56.74; Dec. 5.     400 MEDLEY RELAY: Ausra Pacebutaite, Birte Steven, Suzanne Starkey, Kristin Huston, 3:44.31; Dec. 6.     500 FREESTYLE: Naya Higashijima, 4:50.86; Dec. 6 (prelims).     500 FREESTYLE: Naya Higashijima, 4:50.76; Dec. 6 (finals).     200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY: Birte Steven, 2:03.62; Dec. 6.     200 FREESTYLE RELAY: Kristin Huston, Suzanne Starkey, Ausra Pacebutaite, Paula Finlay, 1:35.66; Dec. 6.     100 BACKSTROKE: Suzanne Starkey, 56.51; Dec. 7.     100 BUTTERFLY: Suzanne Starkey, 55:76; Dec. 7.     100 BREAST: Birte Steven, 1:01.70; Dec. 7 (prelims).     100 BREAST: Birte Steven, 1:01.68; Dec. 7 (finals).     200 MEDLEY RELAY: Suzanne Starkey, Birte Steven, Christina Kinney, Kristin Huston, 1:42.98; Dec. 7.     200 BREAST: Birte Steven, 2:12.86; Dec. 8 (prelims).     200 BREAST: Birte Steven, 2:12.02; Dec. 8 (finals).

BEAVERS' PLACES ON SCHOOL TOP-10 LISTS: Members of OSU's 2002-2003 squad hold 65 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 through Dec. 19:

1. Naya Higashijima 	82. Birte Steven	        73. Suzanne Starkey	64. Paula Finlay	        55. Mari Embertson	4(tie) Kristin Huston	4(tie) Christina Kinney	4(tie) Danielle Kinney	4(tie). Kristi Kuhlmey	4(tie) Monika Miroslaw	411. Jessie Hong	        3(tie) Ausra Pacebutaite	3(tie) Grace Peterson	3(tie) Nicole Reynolds	2(tie). Ashleigh Thomas	216. Jillian McMinn	1(tie) Leah Schaab	1

OSU FRESHMEN: So far this season, seven Oregon State freshmen hold a combined 22 spots on the school's top-10 performance list. Christina Kinney, Danielle Kinney, Kristi Kuhlmey and Monika Miroslaw each hold four spots.

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 through Dec. 19:

50 FREESTYLE1. Amy van Loben Sels	23.11	19942. Kristin Huston	23.40	20024. Suzanne Starkey	23.85	20039. Ausra Pacebutaite	24.46	2003

100 FREESTYLE1. Amy van Loben Sels 50.64 19952. Kristin Huston 50.98 20027. Suzanne Starkey 52.42 2001

200 FREESTYLE1. Kristin Huston 1:50.61 20023. Kristi Kuhlmey 1:51.72 20034. Naya Higashijima 1:52.24 20026. Birte Steven 1:54.20 20029. Danielle Kinney 1:54.54 2003

500 FREESTYLE1. Naya Higashijima 4:50.76 20032. Kristi Kuhlmey 4:57.61 20035. Grace Peterson 5:01.83 20027. Danielle Kinney 5:02.48 20039. Birte Steven 5:05.31 2001

1,000 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 10:33.89 20039. Jillian McMinn 10:38.50 2000

1,650 FREESTYLE1. Naya Higashijima 16:34.60 20022. Kristi Kuhlmey 17:04.35 20036. Grace Peterson 17:16.71 20027. Danielle Kinney 17:22.84 2003

100 BACKSTROKE1. Suzanne Starkey 56.51 20034. Ausra Pacebutaite 57.54 20039. Kristin Huston 59.37 200210. Ashleigh Thomas 1:00.24 2003

200 BACKSTROKE1. Christy Ryerson 2:03.41 19942. Jessie Hong 2:04.55 20035. Paula Finlay 2:05.45 20016. Ausra Pacebutaite 2:05.61 20037. Suzanne Starkey 2:05.93 20019. Ashleigh Thomas 2:07.87 2003

100 BUTTERFLY1. Suzanne Starkey 55.76 20033. Naya Higashijima 56.46 20014. Christina Kinney 56.61 200310. Monika Miroslaw 58.96 2003

200 BUTTERFLY1. Naya Higashijima 1:57.72 20022. Monika Miroslaw 2:03.66 20033. Suzanne Starkey 2:04.54 20025. Christina Kinney 2:06.56 2003

100 BREASTSTROKE1. Birte Steven 1:01.68 20032. Paula Finlay 1:03.80 20033. Mari Embertson 1:05.90 2003

200 BREASTSTROKE1. Birte Steven 2:12.02 20032. Paula Finlay 2:16.61 20023. Mari Embertson 2:19.59 20038. Nicole Reynolds 2:23.87 2002

200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY1. Birte Steven 2:03.62 20032. Paula Finlay 2:04.54 20023. Mari Embertson 2:06.13 20034. Christina Kinney 2:06.99 20035. Monika Miroslaw 2:07.52 20039. Jessie Hong 2:08.39 200210. Naya Higashijima 2:08.40 2002

400 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY1. Naya Higashijima 4:18.98 20022. Mari Embertson 4:20.23 20023. Birte Steven 4:21.54 20024. Monika Miroslaw 4:23.40 20035. Leah Schaab 4:25.77 20037. Paula Finlay 4:28.30 20018. Jessie Hong 4:28.31 20029. Christina Kinney 4:30.19 2003

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