March 21, 2009
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Junior Michaela Ahlin broke her own WSU 200 butterfly record Saturday as she swam in the final day of the 2009 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships.
Ahlin placed 21st in the preliminary rounds of the event today with a time of 1:56.46 improving on her previous WSU record time of 1:56.66. Ahlin narrowly missed the cut time for the B Final (1:56.03) by just 43 hundredths of a second. The A Final cut time was 1:54.68. After the prelims today, Stanford's Elaine Breeden led all swimmers in the event with a time of 1:51.85.
Senior Elyse Peterson also competed today finishing 43rd in the 200 breaststroke prelim with a time of 2:13.81, less than a second off her WSU record time of 2:13.36. The B Final cut time for the event was 2:10.81 and the cut time for the A Final was 2:09.33. Fellow Pacific-10 Conference swimmer Rebecca Soni of USC led in the event after today's preliminaries.
"I am so proud of these three swimmers," Head Coach Erica Quam said. "They each have their own story and they did an outstanding job this weekend making their team, coaches, and Washington State proud not only by the way they got up and raced in the fastest meet in the world, but in the way they carried themselves: with utmost class and Cougar pride."
"As a senior, Elyse Peterson showed her toughness and consistency all season long," Quam said. "She led by example with this and her performances here at NCAAs can help pave the way for our future by knowing where we are capable of competing and the direction in which we are headed as a program.
"Rugile has dropped a full second in her 50 freestyle since last season. She went from not making NCAAs to swimming between a 22.45 and a 22.65 seven different times in the last three weeks of the season. This shows incredible consistency and has raised her level of confidence and experience going into this summer when she is slated to compete in the World University Games and World Championships.
"Michaela has grown so much, barely missing this meet last year and dropping nearly three seconds to qualify this year. True to her history, she got better each day and was another three tenths faster in her prelim swim than her finals swim at Pac-10s. She walked away from this meet with two lifetime best performances and lowered two of her school records, as well as having the highest place of our three swimmers in the meet in the 200 butterfly.
"This is an incredible field of competitors. It is such a challenge to break into the top 16 to score and I believe our program has made huge strides to get three swimmers to qualify for this competition. Our next step is to bring at least one more swimmer along next year so that we have the potential to also compete in relays. With Michaela and Rugile returning to the team, it is up to them to bring this mentality back to our group and I know they too believe we are capable of this and see our potential to be here competing at an even higher level next season.
"I would like to thank our administration and numerous support staff for all of their help throughout this season. It has been an exceptional season for our program, one that reinforces what we are doing, the way that we have been doing it, and makes me believe even more in what we are capable of in the near future!"