March 2, 2000
PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State University All-American Erin Eldridge returns for her third consecutive trip to the NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships to be held March 16-18 in Indianapolis, Ind.
Eldridge qualified 11th nationally in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1 minute, 2.52 seconds. The senior from Kirkland, Wash., also finished 22nd in the 200 breaststroke with a 2:15.63. Both times were posted at the recent Pac-10 Conference Championships in Long Beach, Calif.
"I am excited to see Cougar tradition continue on the national level," said WSU coach Rocco Aceto after qualifications and invitations were released by the NCAA Tuesday.
Last season, Eldridge finished in the top 16 and earned All-American honors in the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke events. She caps off a historic four-year career at WSU with her final trip to postseason competition. Eldridge was the first Cougar ever to be named an NCAA qualifier, Olympic Trial Qualifier and All-American.
"I expected this out of myself," said Eldridge on her qualification. "I am getting right back into the water now to try to break American records, finish in the top three and prepare for the converted times at NCAAs."
This is the first year Eldridge will compete in meter distances at nationals. The NCAA changed the format to accommodate American records that will fall at the meet with the Summer Olympics ahead, she said.
Freshman Melissa Hubley (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada) came close to qualifying for this year's national meet. After breaking the school record in the 200 butterfly with a time of 2:00.87 at Pac-10s, Hubley ranked 31st in the nation in the event. Unfortunately, the NCAA invited only the top 26 times, but she returns next year to continue the tradition set forth by Eldridge and the senior class.
"I'm not really disappointed," Hubley said. "I was hoping to make it, but I am just happy with my time. It is nice to have the first year gone and to look ahead to next year."