Sept. 7, 2009
PULLMAN, Wash - The Washington State women's swim team competed Labor Day in the Snake River Challenge. The annual event consists of a 2.2 mile swim on the Snake River from Granite Point to Wawawai Landing, followed by a 2.2 mile run back to Granite Point.
A strong headwind made for choppy conditions Monday making the already grueling event that much more challenging for the swim team.
Junior Taylor Whitaker was the first competitor to make it out of the water and onto dry land. She was eventually passed by fellow junior Jennifer Dean who finished first overall in 71 minutes, 8 seconds.
"I finished second in the swim and second overall last year so I really wanted to come out and see if I could push it for the win this year," Dean said.
Shawna Keller (senior, Cambridge, Ontario) finished second with a time of 72:35 while newcomer Shelbi Luchini (freshman, Rodeo, Calif.) rounded out the top three at 73:10.
The Snake River Challenge is a WSU tradition that kicks off the season each year. The event allows the swimmers to get to know one another as well as get a chance to push their limits.
"It's all about the effort," said Dean. "It gives us an instant connection at the start of the year because we are all cheering for each other."
This year's group was tightly packed with only a little over 14 minutes separating the swimmers at either end of the field.
"That was the closest we've ever finished across the board, it was an awesome performance," Erica Quam told her athletes after event.
The next event scheduled for the Cougars is the Alumnae Meet Saturday, Oct. 10 at Gibb Pool.