Six Spartan Swimmers To Compete At Grand Prix Meet

San Jose State University swimmers Brie Marhenke, Katey Nelson, Julia Koch, Caitlin Macky, Kirsten Trammell and assistant coach Ashley Vrieze will be in action at the Stanford University Invitational Grand Prix at the Avery Aquatic Center on the Stanford campus this Friday through Sunday, April 4-6.

The meet, part of the 2008 USA Swimming Grand Prix Series, is hosted by Stanford University, Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics and Pacific Swimming, and will be run in long-course meters. The world-class Avery Aquatic Center boasts an outdoor, 50-meter, 10-lane competition pool, with a separate 50-meter warm-up pool. Up to 10 lanes will be utilized for preliminaries, which begin at 9:00 a.m. on all three days, and eight lanes for finals, which start at 5:00 p.m.

Marhenke, who just completed her final season as a Spartan with her second appearance at the NCAA Championships, and Vrieze, a former standout Spartan swimmer who is in her first season on the San Jose State coaching staff, will both look to attain Olympic Trials qualifiers in their respective specialties. Marhenke will focus her attention on the 50 and 100 freestyle events, with Vrieze the 100 and 200 backstroke. The duo holds the San Jose State school records in those events. The 2008 USA Olympic Team Trials will be held in Omaha, Neb., June 29-July 6.

Marhenke will swim her first-ever long-course 100 freestyle on Friday, April 4, with the Trials qualifier set at 57.19, and the 50 freestyle on Saturday, April 5, needing a time of 26.39 seconds. Her best to date is 27.76 from June of 2006.

Vrieze is entered in the 200 backstroke on Saturday and the 100 backstroke on Sunday, April 6. Her personal bests are 1:04.81 and 2:23.79, with Olympic Trials standards set at 1:04.59 and 2:17.99, respectively.

Nelson will be a fourth-year senior for the Spartans in 2008-09 as a three-time All-Western Athletic Conference backstroke performer. At the Grand Prix, she will swim the 200 back on Saturday and both the 100 back and 200 free on Sunday.

Koch, Macky and Trammell just concluded exceptional rookie campaigns of collegiate swimming with all-conference honors of their own. Koch is entered in the 100 free on Friday, 400 free on Saturday and 200 free on Sunday. Macky will swim the most events of any Spartan affiliate, four, with the 200 breaststroke on Friday, 200 individual medley and 100 breast on Saturday and 100 butterfly on Sunday. Trammell, an individual WAC bronze medalist in the 400 IM, is competing in the 200 breast on Friday and the 400 IM on Sunday.

Under the direction of third-year head coach Sage Hopkins, San Jose State placed fourth at the 2008 WAC Championship in San Antonio, Texas, in late February, matching the program's best finish from the previous two years since Hopkins took charge.