Jan. 29, 2010
PULLMAN, Wash. - The Washington State University swim team lost a close meet to Pac-10 rival Oregon State Friday, falling 135.5-126.5. Senior leaders Michaela Ahlin and Shawna Keller led the Cougars in scoring during their final competition at Gibb Pool.
Ahlin was the first WSU swimmer to earn an individual win, taking the 200 freestyle in 1:51.10. The Tyreso, Sweden native edged out Anna Crandall by less than half of a second. Both swimmers ended the night with a meet-high 22 individual points.
Keller's night was highlighted by a win in the 200 breaststroke in a time of 2:20.32. The Cambridge, Ontario native finished second in the 200 individual medley and placed third in the 100 breaststroke, giving her 18 points for the night.
Both seniors said they had mixed emotions about the event, excited to enter a new stage of their lives but sad to leave the WSU swimming program.
"I have had four awesome years here and I am happy to leave but I am also very scared to leave," said Ahlin. "This is what I have been doing for so many years, I love it so much and I have had the best experience with swimming here."
"Its bitter sweet," Keller added. "It has been a long four years in a way, but also very, very short. It is definitely going to be a part of my life that I miss."
Even with wins from the veteran swimmers, the Cougars were slowly falling behind throughout the meet until the 11th event of the night when Ahlin, Jennifer Dean and Rachael Krager went 1-2-3 in the 500 freestyle, respectively. The event turned the momentum around and gave WSU renewed energy heading into the final three events.
"Rachael Krager stepped up and did an awesome job," said WSU Head Coach Erica Quam. "She swam so well in the 1000 freestyle, then came back in the 200 fly and then came back again to get that third place in the 500 free. Michaela and Jen were strong and staying in control and we were hoping for that."
In the final event of the night, WSU relay teams picked up 15 points in the 400 freestyle relay by taking first and second place. The team of Rugile Mileisyte, Evelina Bieleckaite, Dean and Ahlin won the event in 3:28.85. The quartet of Melissa Bogert, Emma Neely, Jessie Craig and Jenna Bekker held off the OSU squad with a time of 3:32.31.
WSU will travel to Idaho Feb. 6, for their final dual meet of the season before heading to the Pac-10 Championships Feb. 24-27.
Quam said the team will focus on the front-end of its races, getting out to confident and fast starts. She added that Idaho is a sprint-oriented team and will set the Cougars up nicely as they head into the conference championships.