Beavers Send Three to Lafayette for NCAA Championships

March 14, 2005

Corvallis, Ore. - Thursday, March 17200-Yard Freestyle Relay500-Yard Freestyle200-Yard Individual Medley50-Yard Freestyle1-Meter Diving400-Yard Medley RelayFriday, March 18200-Yard Medley Relay400-Yard Individual Medley100-Yard Butterfly200-Yard Freestyle100-Yard Breaststroke100-Yard Backstroke3-Meter Diving Trials800-Yard Freestyle RelaySaturday, March 191650-Yard Freestyle200-Yard Backstroke100-Yard Freestyle200-Yard Breaststroke200-Yard Butterfly Platform Diving400-Yard Freestyle Relay

Three Oregon State swimmers are headed for Lafayette, Indiana thisweek to participate in the 2005 NCAA swimming and diving championships.The meet is at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center on the PurdueCampus. The meet starts Thursday and runs through Friday.

Oregon State is taking more swimmers to the NCAA's than ever beforein the past. The three swimmers from the team have qualified for atotal of six events. With a total of six events, there is a great chance to improve on last years final standing of 20th place overall.

Leading the Beavers into the post-season is senior All-American MariEmbertson. This will be her second consecutive appearance at the meetand she will be looking to improve on her seventh place performancefrom last year in the 400 individual medley. Currently, Embertson holdsthe 20th fastest time in the event this year, according to the CollegeQuick 50. In addition to the 400 IM, Embertson will also be competingin the 200 individual medley.

Freshman Courtney Eads has hopes of swimming to All-Americanhonors in all of the three events she qualified for in her first NCAA championship. Eads qualified for the 200 butterfly, 500 freestyle, and 200 freestyle. Eads holds the 22nd fasted performance in the 500 freestyle,perhaps her best event. She also holds the school record in the event.

Another freshman swimmer, Felicia Castenada, will be competing inthe championship event this week. Castenada qualified in the 100breaststroke in her first NCAA championship. Castenada's best performancein the breaststroke ranks her 36th in the College Quick 50.

The History

OREGON STATE ALL-TIME AT THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: OregonState's has four swimmers that have placed at the NCAA championshipmeet. Starting back in the 1994-95 season, Amy Von Loben Sels earnedAll-American honors twice in the 50 freestyle, placing eighth in 1994 and10th in 1995. Next in line for the Beavers is Naya Higashijima who alsoreceived two All-American honors in her event. Higashijima placed 10thin the 200 butterfly in 2002 and then eighth in 2003. The Beaver's loneOlympian, Birte Steven, qualified and placed every year she competedfor the Beavers. In 2001 she swam to 16th in the 200 breaststroke. In2002 she improved to 11th in the 200 breaststroke and additionallyplaced 16th in the 100 breaststroke. In 2003, Steven finished sixth in the200 breaststroke and 11th in the 100 breaststroke. To finish out hercareer, Steven placed second in the 200 breaststroke and third in the 100breaststroke.

The last All-American, Mari Embertson, will be competing this weekat the NCAA championships for her second consecutive season.Embertson last year placed seventh in the 400 individual medley. Shewill be competing this year in the 400 individual medley as well as the200 individual medley.

Not so long ago

THE PACIFIC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS: Once again this year the Beaversfinished the season strong by taking 7th overall at the Pac-10 Championships, but fell just short of attaining all their season goals. The Beavers didn't qualify a relay team for the NCAA Swimming and DivingChampionships which will hurt their chances of breaking into the top-15 nationally. On the positive side, three swimmers from OSU qualifiedfor a total of six events at the NCAA's. Senior Mari Embertson,freshman Courtney Eads, and freshman Felicia Castenada will be representing Oregon State at the national level this week.

Senior All-American Mari Embertson finished in 6th place in the 400individual medley, with a season best time of 4:18.09, and in 13th placein the 200 individual medley with another season best time of 2:02.01.Freshman Courtney Eads finished 9th in the 200 Butterfly with a timeof 2:00.60 and 9th again in the 500 freestyle with a time of 1:50.09.The other NCAA representative from the team, freshman FeliciaCastenada swam to two season bests in the 100 and 200 breaststroke.Her time of 1:03.05 in the 100 breaststroke eventually qualified her foran NCAA bid in the event.

Other swimmers finishing the season on a high note were sophomoresErika Wirth and Sandy Hong. While neither swam to qualifyingtimes at the Pac-10 Championships, they both placed high and havemade good implications for the future. Wirth moved to 3rd all-time atOregon State in the 50 freestyle when she finished 15th with a seasonbest time of 23.52. Wirth also recorded season best times in the 100butterfly and 100 freestyle. Sandy Hong also finished the meet withthree seaon best times. Most notably in the 1650 freestyle where shefinished 12th and recorded a time of 16:51.08. That time moves Hongto 2nd all-time at OSU and places her behind Naya Higashijima. Hongalso finished well in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle.

Overall Oregon State had a great meet that included two new schoolrecord times in relays and upwards of 10 individual season best times.In the scores, the Beavers reached their goal of getting 500 total pointsat the meet and they beat both Pacific NorthWest rivals Washington andWashington State.

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