Swimmers Compete In U.S. Open & Wildcat Invitational This Week

Dec. 3, 2003

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THIS WEEKEND: The Washington swimming team split in half this weekend, with half the squad swimming at the U.S. Open in Federal Way (Dec. 4-6) and the other half swimming at the Wildcat Invitational (Dec. 5-7) at Central Washington.

Twenty-two Huskies qualified to swim at the U.S. Open over the last year, including 11 men and 11 women. The swimmers will be up against the world's elite, including former Olympians from the United State, Japan and the Ukraine. The Huskies will also swim against top collegiate and club teams over the three-day meet.

The meet is formatted as a long course, using a 50-meter pool, instead of the 25-yard pool the Huskies usually compete in. Because of the 50-meter course, the UW swimmers are looking to qualify for the Olympic trials this week. Meet winners will be determined by top female team, top male team and top combined team.

The remainder of the Washington swimmers will swim at the Wildcat Invitational against host Central Washington, Whitworth, Washington State, Puget Sound and Seattle University. Various Pacific Northwest swim clubs will also be competing at the meet.

Meet winners will include the top three combined teams.

LAST TIME OUT: Washington's women (7-3) defeated Washington State (1-3), 162-97 on Nov. 21 at Husky Pool. The Huskies won 10 of the first 12 events before swimming the final two events as exhibition. The win improves Washington's all-time record against the Cougars to 23-2-1.

Washington was led by sophomore sensation Sharon Olson who won all three events she swam this evening. Olson posted victories in the 100 (51.59), 200 (1:49.85) and 500 freestyle (4:56.07) for her second triple-win meet of the season.

The Huskies swept four events one-two-three, including the 100 and 200 butterfly and the 50 and 500 freestyle. Junior Anissa Hilyard picked up both wins in the butterfly races (57.65, 2:02.19), posting her fifth consecutive 200 fly victory. Freshman Brittany Epperson won the 50 freestyle in a time of 23.97.

Sophomore Nicole Bernard placed first in the 200 backstroke (2:01.45) and her second place finish in the 100 backstroke (56.69) bumped her up four places on the UW top-10 list to sixth.

Also winning an individual event for the Huskies was senior co-captain Desiree Johnson who won the 100 backstroke for the second-straight time.

Washington opened the meet with a win in the 200 medley relay. Johnson, Melody Staubitz, Jenn Latzen and Epperson combined to swim UW's fastest time of the season in 1:45.55.

NATIONAL RANKINGS: Washington's men's and women's swimming teams slipped in the latest College Swim Coaches Association Top 25 Poll (Nov. 26). The men's team dipped five spots with a loss to No. 18 Pittsburgh to No. 19. The women's team dropped three positions to No. 24 after losing to No. 12 Penn State and Pittsburgh.

MEN UPSET 13th-RANKED HAWAII, TWICE: The men's swimming team upset No. 13 Hawaii twice en route to the Big West Shootout Championship. The men defeated Hawaii 94-59 on the first day and edged them again 61-50 in the championship. The wins marked the highest ranked opponents the Huskies have defeated since head coach Mickey Wender took over the team six years ago. The meet was highlighted by the 400 freestyle relay team that set a school record. Derek Rose, Jim Wolfe, Lorant Divald and Justin Adrian combined to swim the race in 3:00.34, breaking the old record of 3:01.51 set in 1999.

ADRIAN POSTS NATIONS FASTEST 100 FLY: Senior Justin Adrian has posted the nation's fastest 100 butterfly time (47.79) this season with a first place finish at the Big West Shootout. The mark falls just short of his school record time of 47.25 set at last year's Pac-10 Championships.

OLSON SMASHES SCHOOL RECORDS: Sophomore Sharon Olson has tallied four school record times this season in the 500 and 1000 freestyle and the 200 IM. Olson opened the season with record-breaking swims in the 500 freestyle (4:51.85) and 200 individual medley (2:01.42) at the SMU Classic. Oslon upped her performance against Penn State, posting an even faster mark in the 500 (4:51.71) and shattering the 1000 freestyle record in a time of 9:55.52. The 1000 freestyle time surpassed the previous record of 10:00.95 set by Janella Bart in 2000.

UNDEFEATED RACERS: Four swimmers remain undefeated in their signature events. Justin Adrian has won the 100 butterfly five times and has posted the fast time (45.32) in the country this season. Phil Davis has placed first in all four 100 breaststroke (55.21) races he's competed in and ranks second nationally. Luke Ekhoff has won the 200 breaststroke five times and his 2:00.52 time ranks second in the country. Sharon Olson is Washington's only female undefeated racer, having posted first place finishes in the 200 IM four times and her school record time of 2:01.82 ranks fifth-fastest in the nation this season.

TEAM CAPTAINS: The Washington swimming team selected Luke Ekhoff, Justin Adrian, Melody Staubitz and Desiree Johnson team captains for the 2003-04 season.

ROSTER BREAKDOWN: The 23-player Washington men's roster includes 17 returning letterwinners. The 2003 team includes eight seniors, six juniors, five sophomores and four freshman. The team represents eight states and three countries, including Washington (11), Nevada (1), Ohio (2), Hawaii (1), Missouri (1), Oregon (3), Brazil (1), Slovakia (1), Alberta (1), Alaska (1).

On the women's side the 24-player roster, includes 17 returning letterwinners. The 2003 team includes three seniors, 11 juniors, eight sophomores and two freshman. The team represents seven states, including Washington (12), Nevada (2), California (5), Colorado (1), Idaho (1), Arizona (2), Nebraska (1).

COACH WENDER: Mickey Wender (Vermont, 1989) begins his sixth year at the helm of the Washington swimming program. He boasts a 48-22 men's dual meet record and a 56-20 women's dual meet record. Since joining the Huskies coaching staff in 1998, Washington swimmers have broken the school's record 70 times and have crowned seven All-American's. Wender is assisted by Joe Dykstra (Washington, 1998), Kim Harada (Washington 2002) and Beth Slaughter (Linfield, 1997).

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE:Washington has played three matches against ranked teams this season. The men defeated No. 13 Hawaii twice and lost to No. 18 Pittsburgh. The women have defeated No. 25 Hawaii twice and droped to No. 12 Penn State.

2002-03 REVIEW: The 2002-03 edition of Husky swimming certainly raised the bar as both the men's and women's team's broke their way into the top 25 rankings and UW sent seven athletes to the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, more than tripling the number of competitors that competed the season before.

The Huskies broke 18 school records and had four athletes earn All-America honors. The women's team sent four swimmers to the NCAA meet and placed 19th for the highest national finish for the Washington women since swimming became a NCAA sponsored sport in 1982.

Kim Harada had a phenomenal showing at the championships, recording two fourth place finishes in the 50 and 100 freestyle events to earn All-America honors. She also earned honorable mention honors in the 200 freestyle relay along with teammates Annette Vayo, Melody Staubitz and Sharon Olson.

The men's team sent Justin Adrian, Luke Ekhoff and Derek Rose.

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