March 26, 2007
EAST MEADOW, N.Y. - WSU swimmers Michaela Ahlin, Kayli Changstrom, Shawna Keller, Erin McCleave, Bryn Mooney, Afton Pickett and Elyse Peterson are set to compete at the 2007 U.S. National Spring Championships held at the Nassau County Aquatic Center March 27-31.
"This is the biggest group that we've taken at Washington State, so I'm excited about that," said head coach Erica Quam. "I'm also really excited to have five people who are returning to the team next year go. It's just a great opportunity to get up and compete against some great swimmers across the nation. Being far away in a venue we don't typically swim and racing people from across the country will be great. [The team] will definitely see some different competitors and I think that's a good thing rather than a challenging thing just because you're not making a lot of comparisons. You're just getting up and seeing what you can do."
McCleave, who recently earned two All-American honors at the 2007 NCAA Championships, will be the first Cougar competitor at the US Spring Nationals. She will swim the 800 meter freestyle Tuesday and is seeded 27th in the event. Other events McCleave will compete in include the 100 meter freestyle, 200 meter freestyle, 400 meter freestyle, 1500 meter freestyle, and 50 meter freestyle events.
Senior Kayli Changstrom will swim the 200m butterfly and 400m individual medley events while junior Bryn Mooney will compete in the 100m freestyle and the 100m butterfly. Sophomore Elyse Peterson qualified for the 200m breaststroke and the 50m freestyle events while Afton Pickett will compete in the 100m and 200m backstroke. Shawna Keller is slated to swim the 200m breaststroke and the 200m individual medley and fellow freshman Michaela Ahlin will compete in the 100m and 200m butterfly events along with the 50m freestyle and the 200m freestyle.
As a team, Washington State has qualified to compete in three relay events - the 800m freestyle relay, the 400m freestyle relay and the 400m medley relay.
"I think the one thing that stands out [about the group competing] is just consistency with the way they have improved all season long," said Quam. "I think it's a characteristic of the whole team but this represents the top people on the team who progressed all year long and getting them another opportunity after Pac-10s is really great. It's been challenging when you see a lot of your peers in college going on spring break and you're trying to keep up a pretty heavy training load. You have to make some sacrifices so they've done a really great job with the preparation."
Competition at the 2007 Spring Nationals begins Tuesday, March 27 with the women's 800 freestyle at 4:00 p.m. followed by the men's 1500 freestyle preliminaries. Racing continues Wednesday, March 28, with the women's 800 and the men's 1500 freestyle finals along with both the men's and women's 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 200 backstroke and 200 butterfly events. Preliminary heats begin at 9:00 a.m. while finals are slated for 5:30 p.m. on each day of competition. For event schedules and live results, visit www.usaswimming.org.