Beavers head to California for Speedo Cup

Nov. 17, 2004

Corvallis, Ore. - Thursday, November 18 - Saturday, November 20Oregon State at Speedo Cup; Long Beach, Calif., All Day

Oregon State travels to Long Beach, Calif. this week to compete in the Speedo Cup. The Beavers (2-2 overall, 0-2 Pacific-10) are coming off a win against San Jose State two weeks ago and are looking to improve before their annual winter training trip to Hawai'i in December.

Coming off a Speedo Cup championship last year, the Beavers are looking forward to similar results this year. This year the Speedo Cup features 20 womens teams and a total of 578 male and female swimmers from around the country. No. 4 Stanford, a new addition to the Speedo Cup this year, is considered to the top contender.

'Over the years this has been a good meet for us, last year we were the champions,' OSU head coach Larry Liebowitz said. 'With Stanford there it's going to be hard to duplicate, but it means we are going to have higher level of competition.'

The Speedo Cup is one of the major event of the season for the Beavers. There is emphasis from Liebowitz to get some best times from his team.

'The goal is to go some best times,' Liebowitz said. 'If I could get eveyone to go at least one best time, I would be happy.'

The Beavers will prepare with a lighter workout this week and hope it translate into faster times at the meet.

'We are swimming really well,' Liebowitz said. 'We have been working really hard and we are going to rest a little bit this week. Hopefully it will result in more speed at the Speedo Cup.'

Along with strong competition, the Speedo Cup brings a format that is sometimes strenuous for swimmers. If a swimmer keeps placing in the top times and competes in the most of the relays, than there is a possibility for a lot of swimming in the three-day competition.

'We could swim 16 times in three days,' Liebowitz said. 'It can get really hard and that is one of the reasons why you want to go to a meet like this, so we can get this experience.'

Liebowitz is optimistic that the Beavers have a good chance at finishing strong in several events even though Stanford statistically dominates nearly every event based on entered times.

'The 400 Individual Medley should be a really good race,' Liebowitz said. 'The 200 Butter fly should be a really good race and the breaststrokes should be close.'

'We should be really good in our short relays,' Liebowitz said. 'Led by Kristin Huston'

Heading into the Speedo Cup, the Beavers will be building on a victory against San Jose State on Nov. 6. The Beavers got two wins from severaswimmers including, Huston, Erika Wirth, Felicia Castaneda and Courtney Eads as the Beavers beat San Jose State 162-94. Looking at the Speedo cup, Liebowitz points out that he will be hoping for the same things as any other meet.

'We are looking for the same thing every meet and that is that they are faster than the meet before and are making progress,' Liebowitz said.'Everything is really based on NCAAs.'

The HistoryOREGON STATE AT THE SPEEDO CUP: Oregon State has been competing at the Speedo Cup since the 1994-95 season, with a one year layoff in the 2002-03 season.The Beavers have traditionally swam well at the Speedo Cup with two second place finishes the 1998-99 and 2001-02 seasons and then last year finising first overall. OSU also placed in the top five in four consecutive seasons (1998-99 through 2001-02) and has finished in the top-10 in seven of the nine years it has gone to the Speedo Cup.

LAST YEAR AT THE SPEEDO CUP: Led by the eventual MVP of the meet, Birte Steven, Oregon State cruised to its first-ever victory at the Speedo Cup. The Beavers ended the meet with 1,069 points, 138.5 points ahead of second place California-San Diego. OSU also had several swimmers move up in the the all-time standings. Ausra Pacebutaite rewrote her own Oregon State all-time record in the 200 backstroke and finished second. Christina Kinney and Monica Miroslaw bettered their second and third place standings in the OSU all-time records with their first and second place finishes in the 200 butterfly. Sandy Hong finished second in the 1,650 freestyle with a time good enough to put her third in the OSU all-time books.

Not so long agoOREGON STATE VS. NO. 8 CALIFORNIA (L,147.5 - 111.5) Oregon State got victories from Courtney Eads in the 200-yard butterfly, Christina Kinney in the 100 butterfly, Mari Embertson in the 400 individual medley and in the 400 freestyle relay but lost to eighth-ranked California 147.5-111.5 in Pacific-10 women's swimming Nov. 5 at Spieker Aquatics Complex. The Beavers (1-2 overall, 0-2 Pac-10) will swim a non-conference dual at San Jose State on Saturday at 12 noon.

It marked the 13th straight dual meet win for Cal (4-0, 2-0). Both of OSU's defeats this season have come to nationally ranked teams on the road.

'That's the reason we come and swim these teams - to learn how to be competitive, and we are learning,' OSU head coach Larry Liebowitz said. 'At times, they one-two-three'd us in a couple events and that took a little bit of spirit away, but we hung in there and were positive and stayed in the meet and did well. It was a solid performance.'

Despite the Beavers swimming after leaving Corvallis before dawn on Friday morning, OSU had several swimmers improve on the school's all-time top-10 lists.

'We swam a little sluggish, but there were some people who were amazingly tough,' Liebowitz said.

Besides taking the 200 butterfly in 2 minutes, 2.3 seconds, Eads had the second-fastest 500 freestyle time in OSU history when she placed second in 4:54.68. Eads' 200 butterfly time improved her No. 4 mark in that event.

Erika Wirth broke into the OSU all-time top 10 in the 100 butterfly, with her lifetime-best mark of 57.83 seconds good for seventh in that event. Felicia Castaneda's time in the 200 breaststroke of 2:21.48 puts her in sixth place on the Oregon State list in that event.

Liebowitz also pointed to freestyler Brie Marhenke's relay splits of 51.32 seconds in the 400 medley relay and 52.27 seconds in the freestyle relay; both those times would be among the top 10 on OSU's 100 freestyle list.

OREGON SATE VS. SAN JOSE STATE (W, 162.5-94.5) Oregon State got two wins each from Kristin Huston, Erika Wirth, Felicia Castaneda and Courtney Eads as the Beavers beat San Jose State 162.5-94.5 in non-conference women's swimming Saturday afternoon at the San Jose State Aquatics Center. OSU (2-2 overall, 0-2 Pacific-10) earned a split on its trip to the Bay Area after being beaten at No. 8 California on Friday.

'Our team was more comfortable and more aggressive in our races,' OSU head coach Larry Liebowitz said of the Beavers' win on Saturday. 'Overall, we had a very nice day.'

Huston won the 100-yard backstroke (59.21 seconds) and 100 freestyle (52.03); Wirth won the 200 freestyle (1:54.61) and 50 freestyle (24.32); Castaneda won the 100 breaststroke (1:05.95) and 200 breaststroke (2:21.90); and Eads won the 1,000 freestyle (10:09.17) and 100 butterfly (58.19). Eads also finished first in the 200 individual medley (2:07.16) swimming as an exhibition competitor.

Other event winners for OSU were Monika Miroslaw in the 200 butterfly (2:04.21), Ausra Pacebutaite in the 200 backstroke (2:05.60) and the 200 medley relay team of Pacebutaite, Castaneda, Christina Kinney and Huston (1:47.08). OSU's 200 freestyle relay of Huston, Wirth, Pacebutaite and Brie Marhenke finished first as an exhibition entrant (1:36.42).

Leading the wayHEAD COACH Larry Liebowitz: Liebowitz, who has extensive international and club coaching experience, spent the last 8 seasons as assistant head coach for the women's and men's programs at Southern California before coming to Oregon State in the summer of 2003. He is in his second season as OSU's head coach.

In Liebowitz's first season at Oregon State, the Beavers had their best-ever showing at the NCAA Championships by placing 20th and matched their best-ever finish at the Pacific-10 Championships by placing seventh. OSU is now 8-5 in dual meets under Liebowitz; the Beavers had a 7-4 dual record during Liebowitz's debut season at Oregon State.

In 2002-03, Liebowitz helped guide the USC women to third-place finishes in the NCAA Championships and the Pacific-10 Championships. The Trojan men's team was third in the Pac-10 and fifth at the NCAAs.

Liebowitz, 53, served as an assistant coach for the U.S. men's team at the 1999 Pan American Games and was also an assistant coach at the 1997 World University Games. He was coach of the United States men's team in the 1995 Pan Am Games and coach of the 1988 Costa Rica Olympic team.

Even StevensSTEVENS NATATORIUM: Oregon State swims its home meets at Stevens Natatorium on the OSU campus. OSU has an all-time record of 13-5 in the pool after going 1-1 there during the 2003-04 season.

Stevens Natatorium is adjacent to Dixon Recreation Center, near Gill Coliseum. The pool opened in 1994 but was not outfitted for competition until prior to the 1999-2000 season.

OSU had scheduled its home meets at Corvallis' Osborn Aquatic Center since the community pool opened for the 1979-80 season. A few meets were still held on campus at Langton Pool.