Swimming Welcomes Home All-Americans

Oct. 29, 2009

Corvallis, Ore. - The Oregon State women's swim team welcomes back past swimmers as it hosts the annual Alumni Relays Saturday, Oct. 31 at 9 a.m. at Stevens Natatorium.

This year's relays mark the return of all eight All-Americans who have competed for the Oregon State women's swim program. The All-Americans include current swimmers Anna Crandall and Brittney Iverson along with former swimmers Saori Haruguchi, Kayla Rawlings, Amy van Loben Sels, Naya Higashijima, Mari Embertson and Birte Steven.

Haruguchi, while at Oregon State, became the first swimmer in school history to claim a national championship in any event with her win in the 200 butterfly at the 2008 NCAA Championships. Her winning time of 1:52.39 also set a NCAA meet record. She earned 10 All-America honors in the 100 and 200 fly, 200 and 400 IM, and the 800 free relay. She currently holds school records in six different events.

Former Oregon State swimmers Rawlings and Haruguchi, along with current team members Crandall and Iverson, teamed up to earn All-American honors in the 800 free relay at the 2007 NCAA Championships with a time of 7:16.77.

van Loben Sels, who competed for OSU from 1991-95, was the school's first NCAA All-American in women's swimming. The graduate of Woodinville High (Wash.) qualified for the NCAA Championships in 1994 and 1995 in the freestyle sprints. van Loben Sels earned All-America honors twice in the 50-yard freestyle, placing eighth in 1994 and 10th in 1995.

Higashijima, who came to OSU from Kamashimagakuen High in Kawaguchi, Japan, placed 10th in the 200-yard butterfly in 2002; she also qualified for the NCAA Championships. Higashijima completed her career in 2003 with her second All-America honor as she placed eighth in the 200 butterfly.

Embertson earned All-America honors as an OSU junior in 2004. The Roseburg, Ore., High School graduate placed seventh in the 400-meter IM.

Steven finished her OSU career as a seven-time All-American. Steven, who came to OSU from Humboldt-gymnasium High in Hannover, Germany, qualified for the NCAA Championships all four years she was at OSU. In 2001, she placed 16th in the 200-yard breaststroke. In 2002, Steven placed 11th in the 200 breaststroke and 16th in the 100 breaststroke. In 2003, Steven had OSU's best-ever finish at the NCAAs to that time with a sixth in the 200 breaststroke and she placed 11th in the 100 breaststroke. Finally, in 2004, she placed second in the 200-meter breaststroke and third in the 100 breaststroke at the NCAA Championships.

Along with the women's All-American alumni, the two men's swimming All-Americans will be in attendance. Jerry Wille, who specialized in the breaststroke, received All-American honors in 1964 and 1965. Brent Webb was a back stroke specialist and received All-American honors in 1974 and 1975. The men's swimming and diving program was discontinued following the 1974-75 season.

The Beavers next jump into the pool for competition Nov. 19-21 at the Nike Cup in Long Beach, Calif.

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