Erin McCleave Wins Mile at Australian National Swimming Championships

April 3, 2008

Erin McCleave, a former standout swimmer for Washington State, competed at the 2008 Telstra Australian Swimming Championships held March 22-29. The competition was held in a long course meters pool in the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Center. McCleave raced in six events, her best result coming in the 1500 freestyle. She won that event in a time of 16:50.41, four seconds ahead of second place and earned her first national championship title. The result does not qualify McCleave for the Olympic team as the 1500 is not a contested event in the Olympic format for women.

Representing her home club of Albury, McCleave competed in the 800 and 400 freestyles and earned her Olympic B cut times after making the finals and placing seventh in the 800 (8:49.69) and making the semi-finals and finishing 11th in the 400 (4:18.65). Only the top two finishers in each event will qualify to represent Australia on the Olympic Team.

Dropping a full second from her seed time, McCleave made the semi-finals in the 50 freestyle, showing her range as she also competed in the 800 free finals only 15 minutes before. She finished 15th in the 50 freestyle (26.57) and 23rd in both the 100 freestyle (57.45) and the 200 freestyle (2:04.89).

The Championships produced eight world records, 13 Commonwealth records and four Australian records.

McCleave showcased the valuable racing experience she gained during her career as a Cougar competing in the Trials this year. Eight years ago, McCleave only had a 50 free cut for the Australian Olympic Trials and failed to make a second swim. McCleave earned qualifying times in several other events including the 200 IM and chose to race and focus on the freestyle events in this competition.

This fall, Erin will be returning to the United States and attending the University of Texas in Austin to pursue her graduate degree in kinesiology.

Rugile Mileisyte just wrapped up her freshman season with the Cougars and represented Lithuania at the European Championships in Eindhoven, Netherland. The competition was held in a long course meters course at the Tongelreep National Swimming Center and included competitors from 39 European countries. The competition set an exciting stage for the upcoming Summer Olympics as six world records and six European records were broken during the seven-day event.

Mileisyte set the Lithuanian record in the 100 backstroke with a 28th place showing and a time of 1:05.45. She bettered that record in the 400 medley relay (4:24.39) with a 1:04.55 split. She also anchored Lithuania's 10th place 400 free relay with the fastest split of the team (56.47) and under the Olympic B Standard of 57.17.

Mileisyte also placed 22nd in the 50 backstroke (30.57) and 40th in the 50 freestyle (26.76) and 46th in the 100 freestyle (57.76). She will be training with the Lithuanian national team this summer and continue to race in order to qualify for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Lina Daugvilaite completed her senior season with the Cougars and competed at the 2008 Western Region Section Spring LC Championships as an unattached swimmer. The competition was held in a long course meters pool and included swimmers and teams from the western United States.

Daugvilaite set the Lithuanian record in the 1500 freestyle with a time of 17:35.29 and an overall ninth place finish. The previous record was 18:20.00. Although she has completed her eligibility as a Cougar, she plans to continue to compete in open water swims. Daugvilaite will return to WSU in the fall to complete her undergraduate degree and be active on the pool deck with the team as a student-assistant coach.

Next up for the Cougars, junior Elyse Peterson and freshman Sierra Burton will compete unattached in the Stanford Invitational Grand Prix Meet held in Palo Alto, Calif., April 4-6. They will be going after their United States Olympic Trials Standards. Freshman Jennifer Dean will also be in action this weekend, competing unattached in the Short Course Far Western Championships held in Pleasanton, Calif.

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