Swimming & Diving Competes At WAC Championship

The San Jose State University women’s swimming and diving team travelled to San Antonio, Texas, on Monday, February 18, for the 2008 Western Athletic Conference Swimming & Diving Championship. The four-day meet will begin on Wednesday night, February 20, and run through Saturday, February 23, at the Palo Alto College Natatorium.

The Spartans travelled 22 swimmers, freshman diver Jo Thibodaux and four coaches, led by third-year head coach Sage Hopkins. San Jose State is coming off of back-to-back best-ever fourth-place finishes at the WAC Championship over Hopkins’ first two seasons in charge, and will be looking to crack the top three at this year’s event.

A total of 21 events will be contested, with 13 individual plus three diving, as well as five relay events.

San Jose State is led by senior co-captain Brie Marhenke, who is entered in her two specialty events, the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle, as the top seed. She is the top seed in the 100 by over a full second. Marhenke won gold medals in each event at the 2006 WAC Championship prior to redshirting a year ago. She is the only individual WAC swim champion in program history. The native of Carmichael, Calif., heads into the WAC meet with best times this season of 23.09 in the 50 and 50.60 in the 100, the only two NCAA B’ cuts by a Spartan this season. As the school record-holder in both events with marks of 22.54 and 50.30, respectively, Marhenke has her sights set on achieving NCAA automatic qualifiers in each and guarantee her spot at the NCAA Championships in Columbus, Ohio, March 20-22. This year’s NCAA A’ standards are 22.62 in the 50 and 49.42 in the 100.

The 50 free will be contested on the first full day of competition on Thursday, February 21, with the 100 freestyle to follow on the final day, on Saturday, February 23. For her third individual event, Marhenke is also entered as the 10th seed (58.28) in the 100 butterfly on Friday. She has the third best time in San Jose State history in the event, at 55.96, from the 2006 WAC Championship.

The only other Spartan who enters the WAC Championship as the top seed in her event is freshman Caitlin Macky in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:06.12. The native of San Diego, Calif., has had a tremendous rookie season of collegiate swimming. She is also the second seed in the 400 individual medley (4:31.83), the fourth seed in the 200 breast (2:20.42) and the seventh seed in the 100 breaststroke (1:06.08).

Fellow freshman standout Kirsten Trammell is seeded second in the 200 breaststroke with a mark of 2:19.78. She is also seeded second behind Macky in the 200 IM (2:07.24), third in the 400 IM (4:32.42) and eighth in the 100 breast (1:06.13). Junior Lauren Mar is seeded second in the 100 backstroke (58.18), third in the 100 free (51.99) and sixth in the 50 free (24.22). Senior Amanda Carr (5:04.10) and Katey Nelson (5:07.23) are seeded second and fifth, respectively, in the 500 freestyle. Carr is fourth in the demanding 1650 free (10:31.64), which leads off the evening portion on Saturday. Nelson is also seeded fifth in her best event, the 200 back (2:06.99). The junior has earned All-WAC honors in the event in each of her first two seasons.

Fourth-year senior Jillene Golez is the ninth seed in the 100 fly (58.26) and sixth in the 200 fly (2:07.65). Junior Beste Erener is seeded fifth in the 400 IM (4:33.49), eighth in the 200 fly (2:09.02) and ninth in the 200 IM (2:10.20). Sophomore Ally Jack is ninth in the 200 fly (2:09.49). Freshman Meghan McCurley is eighth in the 100 free (52.92) and ninth in the 50 (24.37). Freshman teammate Julia Koch is seeded 10th in the 200 free (1:55.56).

San Jose State is the top seed in the 200 freestyle relay with a best time this season of 1:35.60. The 200 free relay will be the last event on Thursday night. The Spartans are seeded third in the meet’s first event, the 200 medley relay (1:46.44), as well as the 400 medley relay (3:53.65) and the meet’s final event, the 400 freestyle relay (3:32.06).


San Jose State’s highest finish all-time at the WAC Championship is fourth, which it has achieved in each of the last two years. The Spartans concluded the 2006 event with an all-time highest score of 524.5 points before compiling 430.5 points in 2007.

In 2006, the Spartans produced their first-ever WAC champions in swimming, both individually and as a relay, with Brie Marhenke sweeping the 50 and 100 freestyle events and anchoring the 200 freestyle relay to a first-place finish, with current junior Lauren Mar also on the relay. The Spartans collected six gold medals, four silver medals, five bronze medals, seven first-team and 22 second-team All-WAC honors, and seven school records at the highly-successful 2006 meet.

Previously, the Spartans had registered a trio of fifth-place finishes, the last time being at the 2004 meet. The WAC crowned a new champion in 2006 with the departure of SMU, as Hawai’i took its first conference team title with 775.5 points. SMU had won all nine titles since San Jose State’s first year of WAC membership in 1996-97.

In dual competition in 2007-08, San Jose State went 3-1 against opponents it will see in San Antonio. The Spartans fell at Boise State, 125-172, but came back to defeat the Broncos the next day, 95-92, before a pair of home wins over Idaho (188-92, 176-104). San Jose State produced a final dual record of 8-4 this season. The Spartans won their last four dual meets in a row, including a first known victory over Pacific and a pair of triumphs against Cal State Bakersfield, all on the road. Among the losses were defeats to tough Pacific-10 Conference opponents Stanford and Washington State.

Individual events will be scored on 16 places: eight places (20-17-16-15-14-13-12-11) for finals and eight places (9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1) for consolation finals. Relay scores will count double.

Results will be posted following every heat on the WAC’s website at www.wacsports.com. The link will also be available through the San Jose State website at SJSUSpartans.com.


Live video and audio from the finals of each night of the championship will be available on a paid subscription basis through www.WAC.tv.


All-Session Passes (includes all 10 sessions) are $30 for adults and $20 for children ages 18 and under.
Single Session prices are as follows:
Wednesday evening relays: $5
Prelims: Adults $6, Children $4
Diving: Adults $6, Children $4
Finals: Adults $7, Children $4