Dec. 4, 2010
PRINCETON, N.J. - The Washington State University swim team did their part to change the school record books during the second day of the Big Al Invitational, Saturday. The team notched five performances worthy of the all-time top-10 list.
The night was highlighted by Rugile Mileisyte's performance in the finals of the 100 backstroke. The senior finished second with a time of 54.64 seconds, good enough to set a school record in the event and break the NCAA "B" consideration time. It is the Alytus, Lithuania native's second consideration time of the meet as she met the "B" standard in the 50 freestyle during the opening day. Mileisyte also moved to fourth all-time in the 200 freestyle with her preliminary swim of 1:49.52.
In the final event of the finals session, Mileisyte was back in the pool with Talor Whitaker, Jennifer Dean and Emma Neely for the 800 freestyle relay. The team took first by a three-second margin and touched the wall in 7:23.17, exactly matching the NCAA "B" standard.
WSU head coach Erica Quam said she was pleased with how her team was performing both mentally and physically, recovering between sessions and races.
"This team is focused, confident and they are having a lot of fun swimming fast," said Quam. "These are amazing meets to be a part of as a coach."
Though Mileisyte did not swim the finals session of the 200 freestyle, Neely, Dean and Whitaker represented the Cougars by finishing second, third and fourth, respectively.
Shelbi Luchini led the WSU squad in the 400 individual medley. The sophomore from Rodeo, Calif., finished second in the event, crushing her old lifetime best by five seconds. Her time of 4:23.32 ranks fifth all-time in school history.
WSU fielded two swimmers in the finals of the 100 butterfly. Whitaker earned a second-place finish with a time of 55.10 seconds. The senior was followed by freshman Emma Johansson who finished sixth in the finals, but swam the sixth-fastest time in school history during the preliminary session, touching the wall in 55.68 seconds.
A pair of juniors found success in the 100 breaststroke as Jessie Craig and Marina Ruiz Jimenez finished second and third, respectively. Ruiz Jimenez's time of 1:04.85 marked a lifetime best and moved her to the ninth spot on the Cougar all-time list.
The meet will resume Sunday for its third and final day of competition. Preliminary races will begin 10 a.m. ET with the finals session to follow at 4 p.m. Live results will be posted at www.collegeswimming.com.
"Tomorrow is all about toughness," said Quam. "We can't get ahead of ourselves. We need to keep preparing well and taking things one race at a time."