Feb. 28, 2009
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. - Sophomore Rugile Mileisyte, junior Michaela Ahlin, senior Elyse Peterson and senior Afton Pickett broke WSU records Saturday in the final day of the Pacific-10 Conference Championship in a weekend where WSU swimmers broke records in nine individual events and four relays. Throughout the championships WSU has also boasted three different top eight finalists and had 64 lifetime best swims. The Cougars finished ninth overall with 341 points.
Ahlin led the Cougars with 24 points coming from her sixth-place finish in the 200 fly. Ahlin had broke the record for the event earlier today in the prelim round (1:56.95) and then broke it again during finals competition with a time of 1:56.66 also earning her an NCAA `B' consideration time. The time also puts Ahlin in the NCAA women's top 30 for the event. Ahlin previously set the record at the 2008 Pac-10 Championships with a time of 1:59.23.
Peterson placed third in the `B' final of the 200 breast with her record-breaking time of 2:13.14, her third NCAA `B' consideration time in the championships. Peterson's record bested the previous top time of 2:13.54 held by three-time NCAA All-American Erin Eldridge that had, until tonight, stood uncontested for the last decade.
Pickett broke the 200 back record twice today, first in the prelims with a time of 1:59.44 then with a final time of 1:57.12, an NCAA `B' consideration cut that earned her a first-place finish in the `C' final. Her finish also contributed nine points toward the team total. The previous record of 1:59.64 was held by Andree Anne LeRoy set in the fall of 2001.
Mileisyte broke yet another record this weekend with her fifth-place finish in the `C' final with a time of 49.81. Three-time NCAA All-American Erin McCleave previously held the record with a time of 50.09.
All of the Cougar relay records are now held by current athletes as the 400 free relay team of Mileisyte, freshman Emma Neely, senior Jamie MacLeod and Ahlin took down the record set in 2001 by LeRoy, Melissa Hubley, Rachel Dong and Taryn Ternent (3:23.27). The team finished eighth with an NCAA `B' consideration time of 3:21.29 defeating the team from Oregon State (3:22.92) and was less than a second behind the team from UCLA (3:21.04). The finish contributed 44 points to the Cougars' total.
Five WSU swimmers swam lifetime bests today earning them positions on the all-time top 10 lists. Freshman Rachael Krager took the third spot in the 1650 free with a time of 16:53.43 and the fifth spot in the 200 fly with a time of 2:05.13. Senior Kristin Marceau climbed to the seventh position in the 1650 free with a time of 17:07.09. MacLeod and Neely took the seventh and eighth spots respectively in the 100 free with times of 50.96 and 51.00 while freshman Danielle Palumbo clenched the tenth spot in the 200 back with a time of 2:04.49.
The Cougars placed ninth overall with 341 points while No. 8 California won the conference title with 1550 points. No. 4 Arizona placed second with 1339 and No. 2 Stanford took third. At the 2008 Pac-10 Championships, the Cougars broke seven school records, less than half of the number of records the team broke this year.
"I think our team captured what Cougar pride is all about this weekend," WSU Head Coach Erica Quam said, "passion, determination, hard work and confidence. These qualities helped us have the most amazing Pac-10 performance WSU has ever had. The seniors led the charge and I am very proud to have four seniors leaving with lifetime bests across the board at their final meets at the Pac-10 Championships. I think it says a lot about our program to have our seniors continuously better themselves throughout their careers and to end on that high note."
Mileisyte and Ahlin will be swimming in the Pacific-10 Conference Invitational Sunday. Mileisyte will be competing in the 50 and 100 free while Ahlin will race in the 100 fly. Swimming begins at 11 a.m.