Washington Swimming Summer Recap

Aug. 28, 2003

SEATTLE- The Washington swimming team capped of the 2003 summer months by winning the Western Sectional Championship and placing 19th at the US Nationals. The team also received its first major gift donation in the amount of $100,000 towards the construction of Washington's state of the art swimming and diving facility and hired two assistant coaches.

TEAM STARBUCKSTwenty-one Washington swimmers sponsored by Starbucks competed and won the Four Corners Sectional Championship, edging second place finisher Mt. Hood Swim Club. Team Starbucks Aquatics finished first in the field of 36 teams, representing 11 states. The team won seven events, headlined by Kim Harada and Luke Ekhoff.

Harada won three individual events for Team Starbucks Aquatics, including the 50, 100 and 200 long course freestyle races. She also teamed up with Desiree Johnson, Lisa Fanning and Melody Staubitz to finish first in the 200 freestyle relay.

Also, winning an individual race for Team Starbucks was Luke Ekhoff, who placed first in his signature event, the 200 breaststroke. He also swam in the winning 200 and 400 medley relays along with Derek Rose, Justin Adrian and Jim Wolfe. Their time in the 400 MR race was fast enough to qualify for Senior Nationals.

'To get the funding and support of Starbucks was huge for us this summer,' said head coach Mickey Wender. 'Through their generous endorsement, almost half of our athletes were able to stay and train with us this summer.'

US NATIONALSThe team also shinned at the US National meet, reaching its goal of a top 20 finish with a 19th place finish overall. Harada was the star of the meet for the Huskies as she swam personal best times in the 50 and 100 freestyle events to qualify for the Olympic trials. She posted the sixth fastest American time at the meet in the 100 meter event. Harada's performance puts her in a great position heading into the Olympic trials next summer as the top six swimmers in the 100 freestyle event will make the USA Olympic team and will compete in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

Harada will continue to train with the Huskies this season, while also working as an assistant coach. She hopes to qualify for the Olympic trials in the 200 freestyle this December at the US Open in Federal Way, Wash. Wender believes Harada has an excellent chance at making the Olympic team if her times continue to improve.

'If Kim can continue to improve at the same rate she has been, she has a great shot at making the Olympic team,' said Wender. 'She's getting stronger and faster every day.'

ASSISTANT COACHESJoining Harada as an assistant coach for Washington is Beth Slaughter. Slaughter swam for Linfield College (Ore.) from 1994-97 where she earned 20 All-America awards and was the NAIA national champion in the 200 backstroke in 1996. In addition to her deck duties, Slaughter will serve as the women's recruiting coordinator, the men's and women's academic coordinator and will arrange team travel for the Huskies.

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