Jan. 27, 2010
This Week: The Washington State swim team will host the Oregon State Beavers in a dual meet Friday, Jan. 29 at Gibb Pool...Oregon State has become the official rival for the Cougars after the University of Washington dropped its women's swimming program at the conclusion of last season...event will serve as the last home meet for WSU seniors Michaela Ahlin and Shawna Keller...events are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.
Cougar Catch-Up: The Cougars are coming off a 191-70 win at Seattle University where the WSU swimmers won 13 of the 14 events...Cougars set four Connolly Center Pool records during the meet...the 200 medley relay team of Shelbi Luchini, Jessie Craig, Michaela Ahlin, and Rugile Mileisyte started off the afternoon with a victory in 1:46.97...Mileisyte returned later to set the pool record in the 100 backstroke with a time of 57.89 seconds, while Ahlin set a facility standard in the 200 butterfly with a time of 2:04.13...in the final event of the day, the team of Talor Whitaker, Ahlin, Evelina Bieleckaite, and Mileisyte won the 400 freestyle relay in a pool-record time of 3:31.45.
Last Season: The Cougars finished the season with a 6-2 dual meet record after opening the season with a 6-0 start, which included a win over BSU...the undefeated start was Quam's career best and one win away from tying the program best start of 7-0 (1978, Pipher)...Quam also became the first WSU head coach to have three 4-0 starts in her career...over the course of last season the Cougars se 26 school records in 14 different events with 20 of those performances coming at the Pacific-10 Conference Championships...Michaela Ahlin, Rugile Mileisyte and Elyse Peterson represented WSU at the NCAA Championships the most in school history.
2009-10 Outlook: This year's squad returns 13 letterwinners including school record holders Michaela Ahlin (100 butterfly, 200 butterfly, 400 IM), Rugile Mileisyte (50 freestyle, 100 freestyle) and Talor Whitaker (200 IM)...the team has also welcomed seven new freshmen.
Head Coach Erica Quam On The Event: "They are a strong team, they've got some depth in some events and some holes in others. We'll try to capitalize on that and create a lineup that will be the best to race them head to head. We will have some people in some on-events and some people swimming some different things that might not be their main event, and that is what makes these dual meets fun. I think it is going to be up to our team to step up to the challenge and we have certainly had some great, close dual meets with Oregon State. So it is a really good rivalry and is something that brings out the best in both teams and hopefully that will continue this week.
"Oregon State has never had a traditional rival because the University of Oregon doesn't have swimming so that's an exciting thing for their program and certainly we've had the closest meets with Oregon State. Of Course we're going to miss racing the Huskies and miss them having a program there. It's just too bad that the UW chose to handle the situation like that by dropping their swimming programs when they were as good as they were and that is definitely a rival that we will miss having."
Saying Farewell to the Seniors: Ahlin and Keller will take part in their last competitive swim in Gibb Pool, Friday, but both have already left their mark on the WSU program.
Ahlin currently holds three individual school records (100 fly, 200 fly, 400 IM) has been a part of four school-record breaking relay teams (400 free, 800 free, 200 medley, 400 medley). The Tyreso, Sweden native also ranks second in the 500 free and seventh in the 200 IM.
Keller is a part of four WSU top-10 lists, highlighted by the fourth-best 100 breaststroke in school history (1:03.44).
"They've been a part of this program through some up's and some down's but some great learning experiences for the program," said Quam. "I think they've been an integral part of our success, they are really great trainers to have in workouts and great personalities to have on the team. It's been fun having them and they will definitely be missed."
Coaching Staff: Head coach Erica Quam is in her eighth season at WSU...under Quam the Cougars have set 19 school records and earned 82 different spots on school's all-time top 10 lists...she is joined by assistant coach Lindsay Henahan and student assistant coach Jesse Grow...Henahan is in her second season while Grow is new this year.
Next Up For the Cougars: WSU will compete in its final dual meet of the season at Idaho, Feb. 6...the meet will serve as a tune-up before heading to the Pac-10 Championships Feb. 24-27, in Long Beach, Calif.