Jan. 21, 2008
LONG BEACH, Calif. - The Washington State swim team wrapped up a competitive three days at the Long Beach Grand Prix meet Monday.
Facing stiff opponents from the national team and top swim clubs from around the country, several Cougars raced their way into second swims in the finals.
The 400 medley relay of Rugile Mileisyte, Elyse Peterson, Michaela Ahlin and Sierra Burton placed second in 3:47.09, a second off the first place Mecklenburg Aquatic Club's relay team (3:46.12) with Olympians Margaret Hoelzer and Carly Piper leading off and anchoring the victory.
Three Cougars placed in the 100 butterfly led by Ahlin's fifth place finish in the B final with a time of 56.56. Talor Whitaker placed eighth in the same heat in 57.80 after swimming 57.37 in the preliminaries and Bryn Mooney touched fifth in the B consolation heat in 57.52.
Shawna Keller placed fifth in the B final of the 200 IM in 2:06.54 and sixth in the B final of the 100 breaststroke in 1:05.30. Whitaker placed seventh in the B consolation heat of the 200 IM in 2:08.84.
Peterson had a strong swim in the A final of the 100 breaststroke, touching eighth in 1:03.43. Keller also picked up a sixth place showing in the B final of the same event with a time of 1:05.30. Mileisyte placed third in the B final of the 100 backstroke in 57.01.
Among the competition the Cougars faced were several top 10 competitors. In the men's competition, Matt Grevers took first in the 200 IM. The victory, along with earlier wins in the 50 and 200 freestyles and the 200 backstroke, earned Grevers the top male performance award for the Long Beach Grand Prix.
Also swimming well in the men's competition was six-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps won 2-of-3 events Monday, swimming both the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke in faster times than he did a year ago.
Erik Vendt broke the American record in the 1000 freestyle earlier in the meet with a time of 8:36.49 and nearly broke another in his 1650 freestyle victory (14:26.97) Monday.
For the women, two-time Olympian Kaitlin Sandeno wrapped up the meet with a victory in the 200 IM after winning four races and finishing third in two others over the course of the meet to earn the top female performance award.
Another highlight in the women's competition was Olympian Tara Kirk who bested a strong field in the 100 breaststroke by turning in the only sub-minute swim with a 59.11 winning time.
"I'm glad we were able to come down for this competition," said WSU Head Coach Erica Quam. "It was a challenge this group can build off of going into the championship season."
The Cougars will be taking a week off after this three-day competitive stretch and will next be in the water as they host Oregon State Feb. 1 at Gibb Pool.