Beavers Maintain Hold On Eighth

Feb. 28, 2003

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. - Eight Oregon State swimmers qualified for event finals Friday, as the Beavers remained in eighth place after the second day of the Pacific-10 Conference Women's Swimming and Diving Championships at the King County Aquatics Center.

UCLA maintained its hold on first place in the team competition with 930.5 points. Oregon State upped its point total to 338 and trails Washington for seventh place by 55.5 points.

'We had a great morning and had three top eight finalists, which is outstanding,' Oregon State head coach Mariusz Podkoscielny said. 'We had great performances today, but in the 100-yard breaststroke we had incident that took the wind out of our sails.'

In the 100 breaststroke, Birte Steven had the fourth fastest preliminary time with a mark of one minute, 1.71 seconds. The OSU junior finished third in the final with a school record time of 1:01.50 but was later disqualified.

'After the awards ceremony, officials said she made an illegal turn and disqualified her,' Podkoscielny said. 'We are still trying to resolve the issue. I did not see anything that would have caused disqualification.'

Steven's third place finish was the highest ever for an Oregon State swimmer at the conference meet.

Paula Finlay took 10th in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:03.28. The senior easily broke her previous personal record of 1:03.80 when she posted a 1:02.98 in her preliminary race.

The Beavers set one school record Friday after breaking four records Thursday. Suzanne Starkey, Steven, Christina Kinney and Kristin Huston placed seventh in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:42.85. That broke the school record of 1:42.98 the foursome set earlier this season.

Four Beavers qualified for finals in the 400 individual medley. Naya Higashijima finished sixth, Mari Embertson was seventh, Monika Miroslaw took 10th and Leah Schaab was 19th. It was nearly a repeat performance for Higashijima and Embertson. In last year's championships, the two finished seventh and eighth, marking the first-time ever that OSU had two swimmers finish in the top eight.

'The 400 IM got the whole evening going for us,' Podkoscielny said. 'Having four swimmers make finals is outstanding.'A day after lowering her school record in the 100 butterfly to 55:07 in a time trial, Starkey finished 17th with a finals time of 55.40. Starkey swam to a 23rd place finish in the 100 backstroke and Ausra Pacebutaite was 24th.

The 800 freestyle relay team of Finlay, Higashijima, Kristi Kuhlmey and Steven placed eighth in the day's final event.

The meet concludes Saturday, with preliminary races starting at 11 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m.

'This group can come out of the gate and race hard,' Podkoscielny said. 'We just need to refocus and show the swimming community what we are made out of.'


1. UCLA 930.5; 2. Stanford 921, 3. USC 728; 4. Arizona 675; 5. California 662; 6. Arizona State 519; 7. Washington 393.5; 8. Oregon State 338, 9. Washington State 207.

(1st place and Oregon State)

Preliminary times in parentheses if better than final

200 MEDLEY RELAY - 1. Stanford, 1:38.80; 7. Oregon State (Starkey, Steven, C. Kinney, Huston), 1:42.85; Oregon State (Thomas, Keown, Pacebutaite, Foree), x1:51.97. 400 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY - 1. Kaitlin Sandeno, USC, 4:09.14; 6. Naya Higashijima, OSU, 4:20.04 (4:19.94 prelim); 7. Mari Embertson, OSU, 4:21.21 (4:20.11 prelim); 10. Monika Miroslaw, OSU, 4:21.55; 19. Leah Schaab, OSU, 4:26.03 (4:25.70 prelim); 25. Jessie Hong, OSU, 4:29.93. 100 BUTTERFLY - 1. Natalie Coughlin, Cal, 51.10; 17. Suzanne Starkey, OSU, 55.40; 25. Christina Kinney, OSU, 56.39; 40. Jillian McMinn, OSU, 1:01.76; Chelsea Keown, OSU, x1:01.77. 200 FREESTYLE - 1. Kim Harada, UW, 1:46.87; 25. Kristin Huston, OSU, 1:52.52; 26. Kristi Kuhlmey, OSU, 1:52.94; 31. Danielle Kinney, OSU, 1:54.18; 37. Leanne Svoboda, OSU, 1:57.89; Jessie Hong, OSU, x1:55.44. 100 BREASTSTROKE - 1. Tara Kirk, Stan., 58.41; 10. Paula Finlay, OSU, 1:03.28 (1:02.98 prelim); 31. Chelsea Keown, OSU, 1:10.98; Birte Steven, OSU, DQ (1:01.71 prelim). 100 BACKSTROKE - 1. Beth Botsford, UA, 53.21; 23. Suzanne Starkey, OSU, 57.42; 24. Ausra Pacebutaite, OSU, 57.02; 28. Ashleigh Thomas, OSU, 1:00.04; 31. Lynsey Foree, OSU, 1:02.05. 800 FREESTYLE RELAY - 1. USC, 7:12.49; 8. Oregon State (Finlay, Higashijima, Kuhlmey, Steven), 7:36.24; Oregon State (Hong, D. Kinney, C. Kinney, Svoboda), x7:42.27.

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