Jan. 17, 2009
LONG BEACH, Calif. Freshman Jessie Craig filled in for sophomore Sierra Burton in the 400 free relay at the Southern California Grand Prix Saturday, contributing to a Cougar first-place finish and a meet record. Freshman Emma Neely and sophomores Talor Whitaker and Rugile Mileisyte rounded out the record-setting team.
The Tucson Ford team (S. Denninghoff, W. Myers, S. Wells and A. Kirkpatrick) previously set the record at last year's meet with a time of 3:27.80. WSU finished third to Tucson Ford in that same meet and had the chance to turn the tables Saturday edging Tucson Ford for the top spot with a time of 3:24.27.
"We were very excited to get the win today," WSU Head Coach Erica Quam said. "It was good to see the team rally and really show that we have a lot of potential on that relay. We got third-place in that event last year and second-place in the 400 medley and 800 free relays and we were getting tired of getting second."
The WSU B 400 free relay team saw a lifetime best performance by senior Elyse Peterson with her lead off, putting the Cougars on course for a fourth-place finish overall with a time of 3:30.61.
Saturday's final session started off well for the Cougars with Burton (51.36) and Neely (51.57) taking first and second-place respectively in the B consolation of the 100 free. Mileisyte and Whitaker then finished first and second in the A consolation with times of 50.75 and 51.11 respectively.
"The swimmers that competed at this meet last year swam much faster this year than they did last year at this time and that is very encouraging," Quam said.
Junior Michaela Ahlin competed in two finals finishing second in the A consolation for both the 200 butterfly (1:58.72) and 500 free (4:56.37).
"Michaela has only been faster than the times she swam at today when she has been fully rested," Quam said. "She had a great race in the 500 free, the fastest in-season time she's had by quite a bit."
The Southern California Grand Prix continues Sunday with prelims beginning at 9 a.m. and finals starting at 5 p.m.