11 Swimmers Qualify For Day Two Finals

San Antonio, Texas - Brie Marhenke and Lauren Mar each won their respective heats in season-best times during preliminaries of the 50 freestyle and earned top-four seeds for the evening to lead a total of 11 Spartan finals qualifiers on day two of the 2008 Western Athletic Conference Swimming & Diving Championship on Thursday, February 21. The meet, being held at the Palo Alto College Natatorium, continues with finals in five events beginning at 4:30 p.m. PST.

Marhenke, who entered 50 freestyle prelims as the top seed, sprinted 22.88 to win the eighth and final heat and hold on to that top seed for the evening championship final. The senior co-captain became the first swimmer in program history to earn an individual WAC title when she won the 50 free two years ago. Marhenke’s mark still falls just .26 seconds short of an automatic NCAA qualifier, but is the first NCAA B’ cut by any swimmer thus far at the 2008 WAC Championship. She holds the school record with a best time of 22.54.

Mar raced a season-best 23.76, short of her lifetime best by just .31 seconds, to win the sixth heat and ultimately grab the fourth seed for tonight’s final.

Meghan McCurley, a freshman out of Fair Oaks, Calif., turned in a best time of 24.28 in her first WAC Championship race for the 14th seed. Junior Tarolyn Robertson will join her in the consolation final after her lifetime-best 24.34 earned her the 16th best time of the morning.

In the 500 freestyle to start the morning off, freshman Julia Koch’s lifetime-best 5:05.97 put her in the championship final as the sixth seed. Fourth-year senior Amanda Carr went 5:07.70 for 11th and the consolation final. Junior Katey Nelson snuck into the bonus consolation final in 24th with a mark of 5:13.25.

Spartan finalists from the 200 individual medley include the standout freshman duo of Kirsten Trammell and Caitlin Macky. Trammell is in the championship final as the fifth seed after she won her heat with a mark of 2:07.76, just .52 seconds off her best ever. Macky was just off the championship final in ninth with a time of 2:09.07. Junior Beste Erener joins Macky in the consolation final in 13th with a lifetime-best 2:10.11. Sophomore Erin Garcia’s best time of 2:10.89 puts her in the bonus consolation final in 17th.

Freshmen Daphne Yeung and Ashley Krisman are alternates for bonus consolation finals in the 50 free and 500 free, respectively. Making their first WAC Championship appearances, they turned in best times of 24.74 and 5:13.67.

Other San Jose State competitors in 50 free prelims on Thursday morning included senior co-captain Nikki Chapman, who improved her season best by over three seconds in racing 27.12. Fellow senior Sara Riley fell .01 seconds short of her best in 25.60. Fourth-year senior Jillene Golez (27.34) and sophomore Ally Jack each swam 50 yards of butterfly, with Jack’s 26.84 her best this season.

More WAC Championship debuts came in the 50 free from junior transfer Kelly Wilkings (25.70), sophomore Amanda Mikaelsson (26.14) and freshmen Ashley Ladd (25.32) and Julie Wynn (25.40). Ladd and Wynn’s times were lifetime bests.

In all, the Spartans will have nine swimmers in a top-16 scoring position in tonight’s finals, the most of any team.

Spartan freshman Jo Thibodaux, a native of Alvin, Texas, is making her WAC Championship debut on the one-meter springboard this afternoon. She will be performing six dives, with the top eight advancing to the evening final.

Thursday’s action will conclude with the 200 freestyle relay. San Jose State is the top seed in the event with the WAC’s best time this season of 1:35.60. The Spartans, led by Marhenke, will look to topple the school mark of 1:34.00.

San Jose State at 2008 WAC Championship
February 20-23, 2008

Team Scores (Through 2 of 21 events):
1. Nevada 74
2. Hawai’i 68
3. Northern Arizona 66
4. San Jose State 60
4. New Mexico State 60
6. Idaho 50
7. San Diego 48
8. Boise State 46

Partial Results (Top times and Spartan swimmers in day two preliminaries):
500 Freestyle: 1. Becky Triemstra, NAU, 4:59.16; 6. Julia Koch, SJSU, 5:05.97; 11. Amanda Carr, SJSU, 5:07.70; 24. Katey Nelson, SJSU, 5:13.25; 26. Ashley Krisman, SJSU, 5:13.67.

200 Individual Medley: 1. Margaret Doolittle, NEV, 2:04.21; 5. Kirsten Trammell, SJSU, 2:07.76; 9. Caitlin Macky, SJSU, 2:09.07; 13. Beste Erener, SJSU, 2:10.11; 17. Erin Garcia, SJSU, 2:10.89.

50 Freestyle: 1. Brie Marhenke, SJSU, 22.88; 4. Lauren Mar, SJSU, 23.76; 14. Meghan McCurley, SJSU, 24.28; 16. Tarolyn Robertson, SJSU, 24.34; 26. Daphne Yeung, SJSU, 24.74; 40. Ashley Ladd, SJSU, 25.32; Julie Wynn, SJSU, 25.40; Sara Riley, SJSU, 25.60; Kelly Wilkings, SJSU, 25.70; Amanda Mikaelsson, SJSU, 26.14; Ally Jack, SJSU, 26.84 (50 Fly); Nikki Chapman, SJSU, 27.12; Jillene Golez, SJSU, 27.34 (50 Fly).

One-Meter Diving: In progress.