Nov. 5, 2010
PULLMAN, Wash. - In a night full of close races, the Washington State University swim team took down New Mexico State by 25 points, Friday at Gibb Pool.
Neither team took control of the meet until the Cougars outscored the Aggies 41-14 in the final three events of the night to win by a score of 143.5-118.5. WSU is now 3-0 in dual meets this season with previous wins over Idaho and Seattle.
"It's exciting," said WSU head coach Eric Quam. "This is what college swimming is about; getting into meets that are close and back and forth. I think our team showed a lot of toughness and character. They are stepping up and going faster times than the weeks before and I think we are making progress."
Talor Whitaker led the WSU squad with 22 individual points and two event wins. The senior finished first in the 100 butterfly and won a closely contested battle in the 100 freestyle. Whitaker and NMSU's Brittney Moore exchanged the lead multiple times before the Cougar captain pulled away for a two-second victory.
"Talor did a great job tonight," said Quam. "We have been a little slim in the distance area, with a couple injuries and an illness. Talor normally swims 200's and down but we just challenged her tonight to come out and swim a good 1000 freestyle. We wanted her to try to control the race, see if she could have a good last 50 and she pulled it out."
Shelbi Luchini earned a first-place finish in the 400 IM with nine hundredths of a second separating her from second place. The Rodeo, Calif., finished with 16 individual points, second-most for the Cougars.
Evelina Bieleckaite and Rugile Mileisyte both had individual victories, Friday. Bieleckaite's win came in the 100 freestyle where she touched the wall in 51.76 seconds. Mileisyte triumphed in the 50 freestyle, edging out her Aggie competitor by less than two tenths of a second.
"It's all about racing right now" Quam said. "It's not about times as much; it's about trying to work on the little things like getting in and out of the wall faster than the person on the other team. If you can do that and gain confidence in that area, then when we rest, those skills will be there."
The Cougars will be pack in the pool, Saturday as they take on the Fresno State Bulldogs at Gibb Pool. Events are scheduled to start at 11 a.m.