Feb. 26, 2009
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. - Sophomores Talor Whitaker and Rugile Mileisyte both had record-breaking performances Thursday in the second day of the Pacific-10 Conference Championships contributing a combined 23 points to the Cougars' total 126 points.
Mileisyte was the lead scorer of the day chipping in 22 points with her eighth-place finish in the 50 freestyle earning her an NCAA `B' consideration time. She broke the WSU 50 free record for the fourth time this season earlier in the day with a prelim time of 22.51 and was just one-hundredth of a second off that time during her final performance (22.52). She broke it for the fifth time with her lead off in the 200 free relay with a time of 22.45. Mileisyte previously set the record at the USA Swimming Southern California Grand Prix in January with a time of 22.78.
Whitaker also had a WSU record in the preliminary rounds with her performance in the 200 individual medley. The sophomore finished with a time of 2:01.44 bumping the previous record-holder, Andree Anne LeRoy, out of the top spot. LeRoy set the record back in the fall of 2001 with a time of 2:02.74. Whitaker went on to finish eighth in the `C' final with a time of 2:01.88.
Junior Michaela Ahlin had a lifetime best performance in her prelim swim for the 500 free with a time of 4:49.93. She then beat that time during the final with her first-place finish in the `C' final in a time of 4:46.64, an NCAA `B' consideration time. She moves up to the second spot on the Cougar all-time top 10 list with the time, just three seconds behind record-holder Erin McCleave.
In a close race with the relay team from USC, separated by just two-hundredths of a second, the 200 free relay team also broke a WSU record with a time of 1:31.96 and was just less than a second from an NCAA `B' consideration time (1:31.88). The team consisting of Mileisyte, Whitaker, freshman Emma Neely and senior Jamie MacLeod beat the record previously held by Teryn Ternent, Rachel Dong, Lindsay Henahan and Andree Anne LeRoy (1:32.82) set in 2001. The finish also earned the team an eighth-place finish and 44 points. For the first time this season, all eight swimmers for the A and B 200 free relay teams all swam their legs in 23 seconds or less.
Across the board, five out of the six swimmers in the 500 free, three out of five in the 200 IM and seven out of 10 in the 50 free set lifetime bests today and senior Afton Pickett moved up to the third spot on the Cougar All-time top 10 list in the 200 IM with her prelim time of 2:03.50. Senior Jamie MacLeod (23.40) moved into the third position while freshman Emma Neely (23.77) grabbed the tenth spot in the 50 free. Freshman Rachael Krager moved into fifth-place on the all-time top 10 list in the 500 free with her prelim time of 4:57.81.
"I think we are swimming lights out," WSU Head Coach Erica Quam said. "It's a great environment within our team and it took a total team effort this morning to get three people into the finals tonight. We're swimming the best we ever have across the board and that's really exciting.
The Cougars are currently sitting in ninth-place with 126 points and less than 20 points behind a seventh-place Arizona State team that earned 45 points in the diving competition, an event that WSU is unable to participate in. No. 4 Arizona currently leads the championships with 510.5 points while No. 2 Stanford is in second-place with 448.5 points.
Racing continues Friday with the prelims for the 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast and 100 back beginning at 11 a.m. with finals at 6 p.m.