Feb. 7, 2009
PULLMAN, Wash. - The Washington State swim team (6-2, 0-2 Pac-10) captured two events Saturday in several tight races with arch-rival Washington (11-8, 5-4). After all was said and done, the Huskies walked away with a 162.5-96.5 victory over the Cougars.
Junior Michaela Ahlin and senior Elyse Peterson led the Cougars with 13 points apiece while sophomore Talor Whitaker followed close behind with 10 points on the day. The seniors competing in their last meet at Gibb Pool all scored (Peterson, 13; Pickett, 7; Marceau, 4; MacLeod, 1.5) combining for 25.5 total points.
"I'm proud of these seniors for getting up and giving it their all today," WSU Head Coach Erica Quam said. "I think overall as a team we were flat and we just couldn't bounce back from that. We're capable of more than what we showed in the pool today and I think that's a good lesson to learn at this point, in a dual meet and will set us up better for Pac-10s, which is our overall goal. We've got to take some lumps along the way to learn some lessons and I think out of those lessons and challenges we'll be a better team."
WSU had its first victory of the meet in the sixth event with an impressive first-place finish by Ahlin in the 200 butterfly. Ahlin finished with a time of 2:02.25 and was almost a full six seconds ahead of UW's second-place Shanda Case. Ahlin also had a tight race in the 500 free giving her a close second-place finish with a time of 4:59.49.
"Michaela had a good win in the 200 butterfly," Quam said. "I think she expected to have a bit more of a race but she did a great job there. She had a really good race in the 500 free. I think she learned that she needs to take it out a little bit faster at the beginning because that was the difference. She hung with Ashley (Daly) the rest of the way, which is a good confidence booster for her going into Pac-10s."
Peterson would go on to clinch the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:18.08 and was more than four seconds faster than Genna Patterson of Washington. Like Ahlin, Peterson also had a close race in the 100 breast finishing behind Patterson by less than one second with a time of 1:03.40. Patterson's first-place finish broke the Gibb Pool record previously set by Birte Steven of Oregon State in 2004.
"Elyse had some great races today," Quam said. "I'm just so proud of her performances in the medley relay, the free relay and both breaststroke events and definitely the win in the 200 (breast). She was coming on against Genna (Patterson) in the 100 and was maybe one stroke too short, but she was a couple seconds faster than she was at this point last year so I think she's definitely looking at that and keeping it in the back of her head, which is really good for her confidence."
Several WSU swimmers had second-place finishes throughout the day including sophomore Talor Whitaker who had a close second-place finish in the 100 butterfly (56.91) and another in the 200 IM (2:07.76).
"Talor did a good job getting up and racing some really good fly and IM swimmers today," Quam said. "She is showing some really good consistency this season and some toughness. I think she will really come around with some rest going into Pac-10s."
Sophomore Rugile Mileisyte also had a solid performance despite feeling a little under the weather earlier in the week. The WSU record-holder notched a second-place finish in the 100 backstroke with a time of 56.19. Hannah Ross won the event in a time of 55.30 to break the Gibb Pool record previously held by Mileisyte (56.86).
"Rugile had a little bit of a tough day," Quam said. "She had been sick earlier this week and had trouble getting up in the close time frame between the 100 backstroke and the 50 freestyle. I think she had a great race in her 100 back, which should set her up well at Pac-10s and at that meet its only one or two swims a session so she'll get a bit more rest than she did in the dual meet today."
Five Gibb Pool records fell at today's meet including the 100 backstroke performance by Hannah Ross. UW also set pool records in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:42.56, the 100 breast (1:02.51), the 200 backstroke (1:59.17) and the 400 free relay (3:26.85).
After a season of intense training the Cougars will slow things down in preparation for the Pacific-10 Conference Championships beginning Feb. 25 in Federal Way, Wash.
"We're definitely ready to rest," Quam said. "We're going to take some mornings off and definitely reduce our workload. The intensity will definitely remain high but we'll have a lot more aerobic swimming in between to try to get everyone's legs rested and get them ready to go."