Cougars Rally to Beat Northern Arizona

Nov. 6, 2009

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz., - After trailing early, the Washington State swim team rallied from behind, Friday, to take down the Lumberjacks of Northern Arizona 149-142. The winner was decided during the final race of the meet, the 200 freestyle relay, when the Cougar team turned their two point deficit into a seven point victory.

NAU jumped out to a 24-point lead after winning each of the first four events, but the Cougars responded, finishing 1-2-3 and picking up 16 points in the 100 breaststroke and the 100 freestyle.

'It Took a total team effort to come back, they jumped ahead at the very beginning of the meet, they were on a roll until the 100 breaststroke when we came back with a 1-2-3 finish that put a little bit of life back in the team,' said WSU Head Coach Erica Quam. 'They really came together as a group, the captains did a great job of encouraging one another and we kept fighting.'

WSU emerged victorious in each of the last five swimming events, including key wins in the 400 freestyle by Breezy Gonzales and the 200 individual medley by Talor Whitaker, which Quam said put the team in position to win down the stretch.

Whitaker added another win in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:13.94, edging out teammates Shawna Keller and Jessie Craig by less than a second. Whitaker earned a third-place finish in the 100 butterfly, giving her 21 individual points for the event.

Michaela Ahlin's winning time of 1:03.52 in the 100 butterfly set a Wall Aquatic Center pool record. Ahlin added another first place finish in the 200 butterfly (2:23.68). The senior from Tyreso, Sweden also picked up a third place finish in the 800 freestyle, tying Whitaker with 21 points.

The Cougars will be on short rest Saturday when they travel to Tempe, Ariz., to compete against Pac-10 foe Arizona State, the first conference opponent of the season. The meet which was originally scheduled for noon, local time has been pushed back an hour and will start at 1 p.m. WSU will look to get revenge after a 172.5-115.5 loss last season.

'We look forward to not being at 7,200 feet. Flagstaff is a challenging place to swim,' said Quam. 'Our student-athletes are looking forward to being back down at sea level and back at a yards pool, but I think they will be ready to go (Saturday).'
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