March 27, 2008
A Cut Above: The competition to get invited to the NCAA Championships was fierce, so fierce that only 11 swimmers in the nation who did not earn automatic qualifying times made the final cut for the championships. Even though the efforts of the Washington State swim team fell short of making the national meet, the Cougars had nine individuals with a total of 16 individual NCAA B consideration times and all five relays made the NCAA B consideration cut. WSU hadn't had a B cut in a relay since 2001.
Of the 18 events at the NCAA Championships, swimmers needed an automatic time to compete in 13 of them, including four of the five relays. WSU was one of 95 teams to submit entries, one of 38 teams with nine or more athletes who had consideration times and one of 31 teams with consideration times in all of the relays.
The Pacific-10 Conference had the highest number of automatic qualifying times of any conference with 142 entries, and the Pac-10 had the most automatic qualifiers in 11 of the 18 swimming events. The Southeastern Conference was the only conference to have more NCAA qualifiers than the Pac-10's 59 qualifiers.
The 2007-08 Season: The Cougars posted a 5-2 dual meet record. WSU opened its season by hosting Idaho, winning 278-158, then traveled to San Jose State and secured a 170.5-118.5 victory.
In November, the Cougars traveled to Arizona and beat Northern Arizona 157-137 before falling to nationally-ranked Arizona State 172.5-115.5. Prior to the Pac-10 Championships, WSU won two duals with Idaho, winning the first 113-53 and the second 139-49. The Cougars rounded out their regular season with a dual at Washington and lost 148-109 to the nationally-ranked Huskies.
In addition to its dual meet schedule, WSU competed in a number of invites including hosting the inaugural Debbie Pipher Memorial Invite with Ohio State, University of the Pacific and Idaho competing. The Cougars also competed at the Princeton Invitational, the UC Irvine Invite and the Long Beach Grand Prix.
In the seven dual meets and four invitational meets the Cougars competed in, the 18 swimmers posted 87 lifetime best times.
Swimming in the Pac: The Pacific-10 Conference is one of the best swimming conferences in the nation. Seven of the nine conference swim teams were ranked in the top 25 of CollegeSwimming.com led by Stanford at No. 2, Arizona at No. 4 and California at No. 8.
At the Pacific-10 Conference Championships, WSU scored 337.5 points and had 16 swims make the evening final sessions. Sophomore Michaela Ahlin was the highest individual finisher with a ninth place showing in the A consolation heat of the 200 butterfly. The 200 and 400 freestyle relays both finished in seventh place ahead of Southern California and Oregon State.
The Record Book: Six WSU records were broken this season, all of them during the Pac-10 Championships. Sophomore Michaela Ahlin set the record in the 200 butterfly, clocking in at 1:59.23. The previous record was held by Melissa Hubley (2:00.36) set in 2001.
The record in the 100 backstroke was set twice in one day as junior Afton Pickett set the record during a morning preliminary heat with a time of 55.49. Freshman Rugile Mileisyte then broke that record in the evening final session with a time of 55.32. The previous record was held by Andree Anne LeRoy (56.34) set in 2001.
The 800 freestyle relay set the school record with a time of 7:23.26. Ahlin, Mileisyte and freshmen Talor Whitaker and Sierra Burton were members of the record-breaking squad. The previous record was set in 2006 with a time of 7:25.21. Burton and Ahlin along with Pickett and Peterson broke another relay record in the 400 medley relay with a time of 3:43.19. The previous record was 3:45.36 set last season.
Including the records, this year's team holds 44 spots on the Cougars all-time top-10 list in 14 different individual events. Two of the four relays are all comprised of current Cougar swimmers who are all slated to return next season. Ten Cougars have times on the all-time top-10 list in three or more events.