November 17, 1998
PULLMAN, Wash. - The Apple Cup isn't only reserved for the football field as the Washington State women's swim team hosts rival Washington at Gibb Pool on the eve of the state's biggest cross-state rivalry.
The Cougars would like to jumpstart their road to recovery from an all-time 0-19-1 deficit against the Huskies. The closest upset came in 1992, where both schools tied with 102.5 points at Seattle. This ended the Cougars' longest losing streak to UW with 13.
Last season, WSU traveled over to Husky Pool where the Huskies prevailed to a 132-73 win, while the football team was triumphant the next day with a Rose Bowl berth.
With the tables turned this year, the Cougar swimmers may see the football team's struggle - as their gain to beat the Huskies.
However, WSU coach Rocco Aceto's emphasis is not on the Cougars' win-loss record at the moment, but how they will match up against the conference teams at Pac-10's.
"I think it is going to be over a 50 point meet in their favor," he said. "If they want to beat us here then that's fine, but when the conference meet comes around - we are going to beat them."
Both schools have not been strangers this season, after a Nov. 6 meeting at the Husky Relays. There, the Cougars established four top 25 relay times compared to the Huskies' two in the 200 medley and 200 free.
Close races for the Nov. 20 showdown will be seen in the 200-yard backstroke, 200 breaststroke, 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle - events Aceto says they will try to win.
UW has two newcomers to its squad that the Cougars will be keeping their eye on. Sophomore transfers Jaina McClure (Minnesota) and Rae Abbott (South Carolina) will challenge the Cougars' own top dawgs in senior Katie Keller (sprint/freestyle) and junior Erin Eldridge (breaststroke). Abbott is currently ranked No. 5 in the 200 breaststroke ahead of Eldridge, who is No. 13.
Averaging around 100 fans per meet, the Cougars hope the eve of Apple Cup is just their cup of tea. Several pool and school records may be rewritten.
"We are training well and we will be prepared for Friday night," Aceto said.
The Cougars and Huskies dual at 6 p.m.