Vrieze Competes At USA Olympic Team Trials

Omaha, Neb. - Former San Jose State University swimming standout and assistant coach Ashley Vrieze competed in the 100-meter backstroke at the 2008 USA Olympic Team Trials at the Qwest Center on Monday morning, June 30.

The native of Arcata, Calif., timed 1:04.06 to place 75th out of 121 swimmers who posted times. Vrieze raced 30.73 seconds over the first 50 long-course meters, and came back in 33.33 seconds. She was competing for De Anza Cupertino Aquatics in lane two in the 12th of 16 total heats, placing seventh in her heat of eight.

The participants with the 16 fastest times moved on to the semifinal round later on Monday night, with the top eight from that group advancing to the final on Tuesday night, July 1. The first and second finishers in the final make the 2008 USA Olympic team.

Vrieze, who was an assistant on San Jose State head coach Sage Hopkins’ staff in the 2007-08 season after a stellar finish to her collegiate career the year before, had entered her first Trials seeded 37th with an entry time of 1:03.41, achieved while winning the event at the Speedo Grand Challenge in Irvine, Calif., on Sunday, May 25. She holds the school records in all three backstroke distances in short-course yards.

Among the top 16 times to qualify for semifinals were two world-record marks. Hayley McGregory first eclipsed the mark of 59.21, set by former Cal star Natalie Coughlin this past February, by racing 59.15 from her spot in lane four to win the 15th heat. McGregory would ultimately qualify in second place for the semifinal round, however, as Coughlin entered the water for the 16th and final heat, in lane four, and broke that mark once more by timing 59.03.

Brie Marhenke, a senior co-captain in 2007-08 and two-time NCAA Championships qualifier as a Spartan, will travel to Omaha, Neb., on Tuesday, July 1, and compete for Santa Clara Swim Club in preliminaries of the 50-meter freestyle on Saturday morning, July 5. The 50-meter freestyle event will lead off the program that morning, beginning at 11:00 a.m. CDT (9:00 a.m. PDT), and can be viewed via a free webcast on-line at NBCOlympics.com.