Steven Shatters 200 IM School Record At National Championships

March 20, 2003

AUBURN, Alab. - Birte Steven broke her own school record in the 200-yard individual medley Thursday morning, posting a time of two minutes, 1.98 second in her preliminary heat on the first day of the 2003 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships at Auburn University's Martin Aquatics Center. Steven, who finished 24th overall in the event, bettered her previous record of 2:03.53 which she set at the Pacific-10 Conference Championships by 1.55 seconds.

Naya Higashijima finished 35th in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:51.44. Higashijima holds the OSU school record with a mark of 4:50.76.

'This was a very good start for us,' Oregon State head coach Mariusz Podkoscielny said. 'That was a good swim for Naya, and having a second opportunity, she would have gone faster. Birte had an outstanding time, and finished in the top 24 in the nation in what is not her strongest event.

'Being at the NCAAs for so many years, you learn to understand that only a third of the swimmers are going to go faster,' said Podkoscielny, who earned nine All-America honors as a freestyle swimmer at Arizona and has coached a combined 11 All-Americans at Oregon State and Arizona. 'Being able to get on the blocks and have good times today means we definitely are in that top third.'

On Friday, Steven will compete in the 100 breaststroke and Higashijima will swim the 400 individual medley. Preliminary races begin 9 a.m. PST and finals for the top 16 qualifiers are scheduled for 5 p.m. PST.

RESULTS

500 FREESTYLE - 35. Naya Higashijima, Oregon State, 4:51.44.

200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY - 24. Birte Steven, Oregon State, 2:01.98 (New school record; previous record Birte Steven, 2:03.53).

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