Oct. 11, 2000
The Cougar Women's Swim Team is ready to dive into the season, and unlike the feline animal they share their nickname with, these cougars definitely aren't afraid of the water.
Coach Rocco Aceto is very enthusiastic about his team this season. With six returning letter-winners who currently hold 17 times on WSU's all-time top 10 list, and 10 new recruits who will all make an immediate impact, it is easy to see the basis of his enthusiasm.
"We're looking forward to climbing the national poll, as well as becoming a better dual meet team this season," Aceto said.
A strong contingent of six returning sophomores, all of whom posted marks in the school's all-time top ten list for their respective events, will lead the team.
Among the top returners is sophomore Melissa Hubley from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, who smashed the WSU school record in the 200 butterfly by nearly five seconds last season. At the Canadian Olympic Trials she finished 16th in that same event, as well as placing 15th in the 100 butterfly. Hubley swims these same two events plus the 400 individual medley for the Cougars.
Other returners include Lindsay Henahan from Rochester, N.Y., Sara Schmied from Woodinville, Wash. and Rachelle Carano from Reno, Nev. These three swimmers teamed up with now graduated senior Kelley Miedema to set the school record in the 200 freestyle relay at the Pac-10 Championships last season. In addition, Hubley and Henahan, along with now graduated seniors Erin Eldridge and Miedema, made up the 400 medley relay team which broke the WSU record at the Pac-10's as well.
Re-joining the team after a year off from competition is senior Carrie Breed. Breed, from Port Orchard, Wash., swims the IM and distance events.
The Cougar recruiting class features athletes not only from the U.S., but also Canada, Mexico and South Africa.
"Our recent success and having elite athletes such as Erin Eldridge and Katie Keller, has allowed us to recruit a wealth of talent this year," Aceto said.
Leading a strong class of recruits is Andree-Anne LeRoy from Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada. LeRoy, who has competed in numerous international meets, placed 10th in both the 100 backstroke and 200 IM at the Canadian Olympic Trials.
"Andree-Anne is the most highly versatile swimmer ever to enter the Cougar swim program," Aceto said.
Also adding international flavor to the Cougar swim team are Tatiana Maristany from Mexico City, Sasha Taylor from Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada and Taryn Ternent from Edenvale, South Africa. All three have extensive experience in international competition.
From a bit closer to home comes Katie Byrnes from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Nicole Chinn from Seattle, Rachel Dong from Paramount, Calif., Theresa Dunn from Morgan Hills, Calif., Christina Swanson from Bainbridge Island, Wash. and Semah Zavareh from Houston.
Aceto is excited about the variety of competition this year's schedule will provide his team. The season kicks off with the University of Pacific Invitational in Stockton, Calif. October 13-14. In addition to the host school, the meet features teams from San Diego State, Fresno State and Nevada which finished 13th at NCAA Championships last year.
The swimming schedule features three home meets at Gibb Pool this year. This first contest in Pullman features SEC powerhouse South Carolina, and is Saturday, October 21, at 11 a.m. San Jose State will visit Pullman for a meet Saturday, November 4, at 11 a.m, while WSU will host Pacific-10 Conference rival Washington at Gibb Pool for a meet Thursday, November 16, at 7 p.m.
The season will be capped off when WSU hosts the 2001 Pac-10 Swimming and Diving Championships in Federal Way, Wash., February 22-24.