Steven Earns Place In 2004 Olympics

June 6, 2004

BERLIN, Germany - Oregon State swimmer Birte Steven qualified for the 2004 Summer Olympics on Sunday, winning the German Olympic Trials in the women's 200-meter breaststroke with a time of 2 minutes, 27.02 seconds. Steven, a senior at OSU, will also try for an Olympic berth in the 100 breaststroke on Tuesday.

Steven is the second current or former Beaver athlete to gain a place in the 2004 Olympics, which will be held Aug. 13-29 in Athens, Greece. Oscar Wood, who wrestled for Oregon State from 1996-99, will be part of the United States team in Greco-Roman wrestling.

An athlete from OSU has participated in every Summer Olympics from 1964 to present and in all but one Summer Olympics from 1948 to present.

Steven, a seven-time All-American at OSU, posted the fastest time in the 200 breaststroke preliminaries at the German Olympic Trials in 2:27.68. In the finals, she opened up a lead by the 150-meter mark and then held off the field for the win, edging a pair of swimmers who swam collegiately in the U.S. - Anne Poleska from Alabama in 2:27.15 and Sarah Poewe from Georgia in 2:27.17.

The victory capped a big week for Steven. Last Tuesday, she was named OSU's Female Athlete of the Year for the second straight year; last Wednesday, Steven earned one of OSU's 2003-04 Pacific-10 Conference medals, which are awarded to each school's outstanding senior male and female student-athlete based on the greatest combination of performance and achievement in scholarship, athletics and leadership.

This past season at the NCAA Championships, Steven had placed second in the 200 breaststroke and third in the 100 breaststroke, the highest-ever finishes at the national meet by an OSU swimmer. Steven has a 3.9 grade point average while majoring in Psychology, and she was recently named the to the CoSIDA Region VIII All-Academic first team.

Steven placed seventh in the 50 breaststroke in the German Olympic trials on Saturday. She had the seventh-fastest time in the preliminaries at 32.79 seconds, then duplicated both her time and placing in the finals.

Steven is the first swimmer from OSU to reach the Olympics Games. Oregon State had two divers reach the 1920 Summer Olympics, as Clarence Pinkston won the gold medal in men's platform diving and the silver in springboard diving and Hap Kuehn won the gold medal in springboard diving.

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