Swimming Opens Season With California Trip
Oct. 17, 2001
COUGARS FACE SAN JOSE STATE, CALIFORNIA: The Washington State University women's swim team heads to the sunshine state of California this week to kick off their season with a pair of meets. The Cougars take on San Jose State Friday at noon in San Jose, then complete their trip Saturday with a meet against the California Golden Bears at noon in Berkeley.
Last year, the Cougars dominated San Jose State 176-85 in Pullman. The Spartans are currently guided by interim coach Victor Wales, after losing 2000 Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year Pablo Morales to Nebraska.
The toughest test for Washington State will come against California Saturday at the Spieker Aquatics Complex. The Golden Bears placed seventh at the NCAA Championships last year, led by 2001 Pac-10 and NCAA Swimmer of the Year Natalie Coughlin. Coughlin won NCAA titles last season in the 100 butterfly and 100 and 200 backstroke, breaking NCAA records in all three events. She currently holds American records in the 100 fly and 100 back, and owns the world title in the 100 back. California also has an Olympic medallist in junior Staciana Stitts who won gold in the 400-meter medley relay in 2000.
"Cal definitely has a very strong team, and will be our biggest challenge during the first half of the season," WSU Head Coach Rocco Aceto said.
NEXT WEEK: Washington State opens its home swim season with a meet against the University of San Diego. The first meeting ever between the two teams begins 11 a.m. Saturday, October 27 at Gibb Pool in Pullman.
2000-01 RECAP: The Cougars reached new heights during the 2000-01 season. WSU recorded its best dual-meet season in school history with nine wins, including the Cougars' first victory over intrastate rival Washington in a dual-meet. The team then went on to place seventh at the Pacific-10 Conference Championships, the best in program history.
This season, WSU returns five juniors and nine sophomores, 14 of the 17 letterwinners. These athletes currently hold 41 positions on the school's top-10 lists for individual events, as well as five school records.
"Last year, we learned a lot about not only training hard, but competing hard," Aceto said. "With so many athletes returning, there are a couple of new circumstances," WSU Head Coach Rocco Aceto said. "Expectations are definitely elevated now that the majority of our team has a realistic expectation of what competition is like at the Pac-10 and Division I level."
COACH ROCCO ACETO: Rocco Aceto is currently in his fifth year as head coach of the WSU women's swim team. Under his direction, the Cougars have sent athletes to the NCAA Championships four years in a row, gained their first three-time NCAA All-American, garnered recognition as the second best swimming team in the nation for academics, eclipsed school records 38 times and established 101 positions in the WSU All-Time top 10 list in his four years with the team.
Prior to his appointment at WSU, Aceto served for two years as the assistant coach for the men's and women's swimming programs at Auburn University.
Originally from Portland, Maine, Aceto competed on the swim team at his alma mater, North Carolina State, establishing school and Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) records in the 50 freestyle and 400 and 800 freestyle relays during his collegiate career.
"When you put these three student-athletes together, learning to be leaders, I think we have a bright future for this team," Aceto said.
Hubley, a junior from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, comes off a season in which she broke her own school record in the 200 butterfly while placing fifth at the Pac-10 Championships, qualified for the NCAA Championships, and received the team's Most Outstanding Award. During the summer, she went on to win a gold medal in the 200-meter butterfly at the 2001 Canada Games.
Dong's collegiate career got off to a fast start during her freshman year. The native of Paramount, Calif., broke the school record in the 100 butterfly and contributed to three relay teams setting WSU records at the 2001 Pac-10 Championships. Currently, she holds positions on seven Cougar top-10 lists for individual events. After the season, Dong received the team's Most Improved Award and Coach's Award.
Ternent also excelled in her first year as a Cougar. The sophomore from Edenvale, South Africa smashed the school record in the 50 freestyle en route to placing eighth at the Pac-10 Championships last season, and swam on two relay teams that set WSU records. In addition, Ternent owns places on three other school top-10 lists.
ATHLETES IN WSU RECORD BOOKS: Cougar swimmers currently hold 41 positions on WSU's all-time top 10 lists for individual events, including five school records: Rachel Dong-100 fly (55.68 seconds), Melissa Hubley-200 fly (2:00.36), Andree-Anne LeRoy-200 IM (2:03.53), 400 IM (4:24.16), Taryn Ternent-50 free (23.26). The following swimmers currently hold positions in WSU top 10 lists:
Rachel Dong -100 fly (1st), 50 free (2nd), 100 breast (2nd), 200 breast (2nd), 100 free (4th), 200 IM (8th), 200 free (10th)
Irwin is a butterfly swimmer from Vacaville, Calif. who can give the team an immediate boost, especially in the dual-meet season.
Coach Aceto went international again to recruit Louw, who hopes to continue the tradition of outstanding South African swimmers at Washington State. Louw, a native of Welgemoed, won 2001 South African National Championships for the 17-18 year old age group in the 50, 100, 400 and 800-meter freestyle events. She then went on to garner a bronze medal in the 100-meter freestyle and a fourth-place finish in the 200-meter freestyle at the 2001 South African Open Championships.
"Jadine definitely has a world class kick and great distance per stroke," Aceto said. "She's loaded with talent, and if she continues to improve, can help at the Pac-10 and NCAA level immediately.