Women's Swimming Gearing Up For Pac-10 Championships

Feb. 19, 2009

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Pac-10 Women's Swimming & Diving and Men's Diving Championships
Feb. 25-28, 2009
Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center
Federal Way, Wash.

The University of Washington will host the 2009 Pac-10 Women's Swimming and Diving Championships along with the Men's Diving Championships, Wed., Feb. 25-Sat., Feb. 28, at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Wash. Some of the nation's best swimmers - including several big names who competed in the 2008 Olympic Games - will battle for Pac-10 titles and the right to swim in the NCAA Championships in March.

Among those teams competing will be the No. 25 Washington Huskies, who are on the rise under third-year head coach Whitney Hite. The Huskies finished a program-best 12th at last season's NCAA Championships and will battle it out with such national powers as No. 2 Stanford, No. 4 and defending national champion Arizona, No. 8 California, No. 11 USC and No. 20 UCLA in one of the most competitive conference championships in the country.

The Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Wash., is one of the finest swimming venues in the country. Admission to all of Wednesday's events are free, while tickets to Thursday, Friday and Saturday's competition are $10 for adult general admission and $6 for youth/senior general admission. An all-session pass may also be purchased for $25 (adults) or $15 (youth/senior). For more information, click here.

2008-09 has been a banner year for the Washington women's swimming team, currently ranked No. 25 in the country. The team has seen two school records fall while several other records have been challenged. Overall, UW has posted nine individual NCAA B times while four of their five relays have also earned B times.

Head coach Whitney Hite, who swam collegiately at Texas, has the Huskies competing on a national level despite not having a diving program. Last season, UW finished a program-best 12th at NCAAs and Hite helped produce seven All-Americans.

Leading the way for the Huskies has been junior All-American Erin Campbell, who has had another solid season. Campbell set the school record in the 200 back with a 1:55.08 at the Husky Invitational and has also moved up to No. 2 in the 200 IM, No. 3 in the 50 free and 100 free, No. 7 in the 200 free and No. 8 in the 200 fly. She has also posted three NCAA B times, which have come in the 200 back, 100 fly and 200 IM.

The junior has shown her versatility this season, winning 11 races in dual meets in four different events. Her most victories have come in the 100 fly where she's won five times. She's also posted four victories in the 200 back and one each in the 100 back and 200 fly.

Another UW All-American, Genevieve Patterson, is making her senior year her best. She's won 13 races this season -second on the team - including nine wins in the 100 breast and four in the 200 breast. She is also the second Husky to break a school record this season, doing so in the 100 breast in the Husky Invitational when she swam a 1:00.56, which also earned her an NCAA B time. Patterson also earned a B time in the 200 IM, where she also moved up to No. 3 all time.

Patterson comes from a swimming family, and one that bleeds Purple and Gold, no less. Her twin sister, Mary, swam at UW from 2005-08, while their father, Bill, was an All-American swimmer in the 1970s at Washington. This is Genevieve Patterson's second year with the Huskies. She transferred from Cal during the 2006-07 season.

Junior Petra Radovic has come a long distance to UW from her hometown of Zagreb, Croatia, so it's fitting she leads the Huskies in the distance races in the pool. Radovic has posted B times in the 200, 500 and 1650 free and is now No. 2 all time at UW in the 500 and 1650 free. She also moved up in the Husky record books in the 200 and 1000 free, ranking third all time in both.

Radovic was one of the seven UW All-Americans last year, earning Honorable Mention honors as part of the 800 free relay team.

A quartet of freshman have been big for the Huskies, led by Hannah Ross, who has won a team-high 15 races this season. She's been the backstroke queen for UW, winning the 100 back 10 times while chipping in five wins in the 200 back. She earned a B time in the 100 back, a time which also moved her into No. 2 all time at UW. She is also No. 2 in the 200 back.

Also making an impact in her first season is Danielle Gong, who has won six races: four in the 200 IM and one each in the 400 IM and 200 breast. Her top 200 IM time this season is also the second-fastest time ever at UW. Kelly Flynn has contributed six wins - one in the 100 free, two in the 200 free and one in the 1000 free - while Amelia Messegee has won four races (50, 100 and 200 free and 200 back once each).

Keep an eye out for UW's relay teams, which should be a factor at Pac-10s and could also be a factor at the NCAA Championships. Four of UW's five relays have earned NCAA B times - the 200, 400 and 800 free relays and the 400 medley relay.

Stanford boasts last year's 400 IM national champion and world record holder Julia Smit, who also won two medals in the 2008 Olympic Games - silver in the 400 free relay and bronze in the 800 free relay. The junior was the Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year for the 2006-07 season when she was a six-time All-American and three-time Pac-10 champion. She repeated that effort as a six-time All-American again last season and also won the 400 IM.

The Cardinal bring two additional Olympians in silver medalist and 2007 NCAA champion in the 200 fly, Elaine Breeden, as well as 2004 Olympian, two-time NCAA champion and 13-time All-American Caroline Bruce, a breaststroke and IM specialist. The Cardinal also return two divers who will look to successfully defend their Pac-10 titles from a year ago, 1-meter diving champion Sarah Ohr and 3-meter champion Meg Hostage.

Challenging Stanford will be defending national champion and Pac-10 champion Arizona, which returns NCAA 50 free champion Lara Jackson. The Wildcats will look to continue their dominance in relays, which they swept at the 2008 NCAA Championships, and return several key cogs from the relays, including junior Annie Chandler and senior Hailey DeGolia.

Cal, Oregon State and USC bring their own big-name swimmers to Federal Way, with the Golden Bears returning 2008 NCAA 100 fly champion Dana Vollmer while the Beavers are led by 2008 Olympian Saori Haruguchi, who was the 200 fly champion at last year's NCAA championships and competed for Japan in the Summer Olympics.

Perhaps the biggest name of all, however, hails from USC - three-time Olympic medalist Rebecca Soni, who became a household name in Beijing this summer. She established herself as one of top breaststrokers in the world, winning the gold medal in the 200 breast in a world-record time and taking a silver medal in the 100 breast. The three-time defending NCAA Champion in the 200 breast and defending champion in the 100 breast, Soni also won a silver medal with the 4x100 medley relay team.

Not to be overshadowed, the men's diving competition will also feature some world-class talent. Everyone will be chasing Arizona State senior Micky Benedetti, who dominated the competition last season, becoming just the eighth diver in Pac-10 history to sweep the events at the Pac-10 Championships. He went on to be named both Pac-10 Diver of the Year honor and was Pac-10 Diver of the Meet at the conference championships. The Italian also earned First-Team All-America honors on the 1-meter and was honorable mention on the platform and 3-meter at the NCAA Championships. The Sun Devils also boast freshman Constantin Blaha, who represented Austria in the 2008 Olympic Games.

Not to be overlooked is Arizona sophomore Ben Grado, who was the 2008 Pac-10 Diving Newcomer of the Year, and Stanford senior Dwight Dumais, a three-time All-American and 2006-07 Pac-10 champion on the one meter. USC, led by freshman sensation Harrison Jones, and Cal, led by sophomore Tom Henninger, will also throw their hats in the ring.

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