Women's Swimming Signs Two Olympic Trial Qualifiers and a High School All-American

Jan. 17, 2004

Oregon State continues its climb to upper-echelon competitiveness with the signing of three swimmers to start competing in the fall of 2004. Ashley Gruda of Sacramento, Calif.; Felicia Castaneda of Gresham, Ore.; and Courtney Eads of Upland, Calif. will all be swimming for head coach Larry Liebowitz.

Ashley Gruda is a 2003 graduate of Rio Americano High School. She swims for coach Brian Nebeta of the Arden Hills club team and was a high school All-American in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1 minute, 52.45 seconds. She also garnered All-American honors in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 57.07.

'Ashley is not quite an Olympic Trial qualifier,' Liebowitz said, 'but I think she has potential to be one. She will provide much needed depth in our freestyle events.'

Felicia Castaneda will graduate in June of 2004 from Sam Barlow High School, and swims for coach Bud Taylor of the Mt. Hood club team. She is an Olympic Trial qualifier in the 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 1:11.49. She is also a National Qualifier in the 200-yard breaststroke with a 2:18.86 mark.

Courtney Eads will graduate in 2004 from Glendora High School. She swims for coach John Ries of The Claremont Club. An Olympic Trial Qualifier in both the 100- and 200-meter butterfly events with times of 1:01.91 and 2:13.68, respectively; Eads was gathering national attention as a junior.

'Courtney and Felicia, being Olympic Trial Qualifiers, both bring a lot of experience,' Liebowitz said. 'They are great competitors.'

The Beavers are currently in the second half of the season and are looking to improve their marks for the Pac-10 Championships and NCAA Championships in February and March.

'The future of Oregon State swimming is great,' senior All-American Birte Steven said of the new recruiting class. 'All the girls have a chance to be a part of something really big here.'

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