Cougars Host Second Annual Debbie Pipher Memorial Invitational

Oct. 21, 2008

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This Week: The Cougars will host the second annual Debbie Pipher Memorial Invitational, a two-day event beginning Friday at 5 p.m...event will continue Saturday at attendance will be Notre Dame, Ohio, Fresno State and honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, free t-shirts will be given to fans in attendance to help 'Pink Out Gibb Pool'...Debbie Pipher, the head swim coach for Washington State from 1977-97, led the Cougars to a 85-62-1 record during her tenure and lost her battle with breast cancer in January 2007.

Cougar Catch-up: WSU comes off a first-place finish at the Pacific Invitational held at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif...Cougars won the meet with 912 points and were led by junior Michaela Ahlin who scored 78 points in the two-day event.

Head Coach Erica Quam on the Debbie Pipher Memorial: 'Our expectations are high for the weekend. We wanted to bring some great competition in to help push us to the next level. Notre Dame is probably the strongest team out of the group. They have 12 women on their roster that competed at the Olympic Trials this summer and three returners that went to the NCAAs last year so they're going to have several fast swimmers that we are going to want to race head to head and it will be a great time to do it at this early time in the season. Ohio has some great swimmers in each event and I think they're going to be a real tough team coming in as well. I think that when we're the home team we put a little more pressure on ourselves. We do have the home pool advantage, knowing this facility and having a home crowd. I think last year (the Debbie Pipher Memorial) was a really close meet between us and two other teams. It came down to the last relay and we got third so we're definitely not satisfied with the position that we finished last year, but this meet in particular gave our team a lot of things to improve upon last year and they learned so much from this meet that I'm hoping that it can teach some of our younger swimmers on the team as well.'

2007 Debbie Pipher Memorial: The final relay race decided the 2007 Debbie Pipher Memorial Invite with Ohio State winning the meet with a 400 free relay victory...although the WSU quartet of Shawna Keller, Michaela Ahlin, Talor Whitaker and Sierra Burton placed second in the event it wasn't quite enough as Pacific claimed a third-place finish to take second overall, edging the Cougars (third overall) by just two points.

Scouting the Bulldogs: Fresno State dropped meets to UC Santa Cruz (151-110) and San Jose State (198-80) in the Bulldogs' opening weekend Oct. 18...freshman Heidi Gjoen (Oslo, Norway) led the way for the Bulldogs with wins in the 100 back against both UCSC and San Jose State and a 200 back win against the Banana Slugs.

Scouting the Vandals: The University of Idaho will kick off its 2008-09 season at the Debbie Pipher Memorial Invite this weekend...Vandals add eight new faces to their roster this season including their first international athlete, Si Jai Pang of Singapore...Vandals also return sophomores Anna Humphrey and Alyson O'Brien both of whom set school records at the 2008 WAC Championships.Scouting the Irish: Notre Dame, led by first-year coach Brian Barnes, swept all 12 (10 swimming and two diving) events at its own Dennis Stark Relays Oct. 3 accumulating 280 points, the highest total for any women's team in the 25-year history of the event...the Irish have 12 Olympic Trial participants on their roster as well as three NCAA qualifiers and 21 All-Americans...Irish will be split into two teams consisting of a Blue team and a Gold team for this weekend's meet.

Scouting the Bobcats: Greg Werner, in his 14th season with the 2008 Mid-American Conference Champion Bobcats, will coach his team in its first meet of the regular season at this weekend's meet...Ohio held its annual Green and White Intrasquad meet Friday, Oct. 10...White team defeated the Green team with a score of 120-82 and was led by three-time First-Team All-MAC performer Ashley Marion, who took first place in all four of her events...including Marion the Bobcats return six All-MAC athletes.

Last Season: Washington State finished the 2007-08 season with a 5-2 dual meet record, its fourth-consecutive winning season under seventh-year head coach Erica Quam...18 swimmers posted 87 lifetime bests in the seven dual meets and four invitational meets the Cougars competed in...16 swims made the evening final sessions at the 2008 Pacific-10 Conference Championships...five records were broken throughout the season all during the Pac-10 Championships...the 800 freestyle relay team of Michaela Ahlin (Tyreso, Sweden; junior), Rugile Mileisyte (Alytus, Lithuania; sophomore), Talor Whitaker (Chesterton, Ind.; sophomore), and Sierra Burton (Carmel, Calif.; sophomore) set the school record with a tie of 7:23.26...this year's team holds 38 spots on the Cougars' all-time top 10 list in 14 individual events.

2008-09 Outlook: This year's squad returns 10 swimmers including individual school record holders Rugile Mileisyte (100 back), Elyse Peterson (100 breast) and Michaela Ahlin (200 butterfly)...800 freestyle and 400 medley relay record holders consisting of Mileisyte, Peterson, Ahlin and sophomore Sierra Burton are also returning...11 new swimmers join the Cougar line-up this season.

Coaching Staff: Erica Quam enters her seventh year as WSU head swim coach...under Quam the Cougars have set 12 school records and earned 76 spots on the Cougar individual top 10 lists, three placements at the NCAA Championships and 24 first team All-Academic honors...Quam has also guided two All-Americans and one Olympian...she is joined by assistant coach Lindsay Henahan and student assistant coach Lina Daugvilaite...Henahan is in her first year as an assistant...she joins WSU women's swimming after serving four years as the assistant coach at the Rochester Institute of Technology...Daugvilaite, a 2008 WSU graduate and four-season athlete for the Cougars is in her first year as a student assistant coach.

Next up for the Cougars: The Cougars will resume action in with a dual meet against Nevada in Reno Saturday, Nov. 1 at 11:30 a.m.
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