Cougars to Compete at Short Course Nationals

Dec. 1, 2009

This Week: The Washington State University swim team will travel to Federal Way, Wash., to take part in the 2009 AT&T Short Course National will begin Thursday Dec. 3, and continue through Dec. 5...preliminary sessions will begin at 9 a.m. each day, with finals sessions starting at 5 p.m...Rugile Mileisyte is the highest-seeded competitor at eighth in the 50 freestyle...Mileisyte is also seeded 18th and 20th in the 100 backstroke and 100 freestyle, respectively...Michaela Ahlin is seeded 10th in both the 100 and 200 butterfly, along with a 21st-place seeding in the 500 freestyle...the WSU relay teams are seeded fourth in the 200 and 400 medley relays...the Cougars will also compete in the Long Course Invitational Sunday Dec. 6.

Cougar Catch-Up: The Cougars are coming off the Minnesota Grand Prix...Ahlin won both the 100 and 200 butterfly at the event and finished third in the 400 individual medley...Talor Whitaker took first in the 200 individual medley, setting a school record of 2:00.89...Whitaker also earned a fourth-place finish in the 100 freestyle...Rugile Mileisyte finished second in the 50 freestyle...the meet ended dramatically as the Cougars' 400 freestyle relay team of Ahlin, Whitaker, Mileisyte and Emma Neely won the event while setting a meet record of 3:23.55.

Last Season: The Cougars finished the season with a 6-2 dual meet record after opening the season with a 6-0 start, which included a win over BSU...the undefeated start was Quam's career best and one win away from tying the program best start of 7-0 (1978, Pipher)...Quam also became the first WSU head coach to have three 4-0 starts in her career...over the course of last season the Cougars se 26 school records in 14 different events with 20 of those performances coming at the Pacific-10 Conference Championships...Ahlin, Mileisyte and Elyse Peterson represented WSU at the NCAA Championships, the most in school history.

2009-10 Outlook: This year's squad returns 13 letterwinners including school record holders Ahlin (100 butterfly, 200 butterfly, 400 IM), Mileisyte (50 freestyle, 100 freestyle) and Whitaker (200 IM)...the team has also welcomed seven new freshmen.

Head Coach Erica Quam on the Short Course Nationals: 'This meet is an opportunity to compete against some of the fastest swimmers in the world right now in our back yard in Federal Way. It will become even more challenging to make it into the finals sessions thus more important to get up and race in the morning sessions. That is what we have to do well as a team at Pac-10's to get more swimmers in a position to score points for the team. This meet should prepare us well for that situation in February.'

'We're very excited about our relays at this point of the season. The short relays, 200 free and 200 medley, will go in the morning, and the top 16 teams will advance to the finals sessions. All other relays will be timed finals and swum at night. We are looking to improve from where we were in Minnesota in those relays and get faster entry times for Pac-10's.'

'Since it is the US National Championships, international swimmers will not be able to score points, but are allowed to compete for their teams and participate on relays. So for us, the team point totals will not matter to us as much as getting up, racing great swimmers, and going fast times.'

Quam on the Long Course Invitational: 'Sunday will present an opportunity to race in a long course meters pool after racing yards all weekend. We can convert those times for Pac-10's and also use them during the summer long course season. It should be different and fun to race long course.'

Coaching Staff: Head coach Erica Quam is in her eighth season at WSU...under Quam the Cougars have set 19 school records and earned 82 different spots on school's all-time top 10 lists...she is joined by assistant coach Lindsay Henahan and volunteer assistant coach Jesse Grow...Henahan is in her second season while Grow is new this season.
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