Former Spartan Swimmers Set For U.S. Open

Minneapolis, Minn. - Former San Jose State University swim standouts Brie Marhenke and Ashley Vrieze are currently in Minneapolis, Minn., for the 2008 U.S. Open, set to take place at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center from Tuesday, July 29, through Saturday, August 2.

Vrieze, who completed her stellar Spartan career in 2007 and spent the 2007-08 season as a San Jose State assistant coach, will compete in her specialty, the 100-meter backstroke, on the long-course meet’s fourth day, Friday, August 1. The native of Arcata, Calif., is seeded 28th on a psych sheet consisting of 71 swimmers, with her best time of 1:03.29, achieved in placing second in the event at her previous meet, the USA Swimming Bakersfield Sectional in Bakersfield, Calif., on Sunday, July 20. That mark was well under the Open qualifying standard of 1:04.69.

Vrieze will once again be swimming for De Anza Cupertino Aquatics (DACA), with fourth-year San Jose State head coach Sage Hopkins also present in Minneapolis as part of the DACA coaching staff.

On the fifth and final day of the U.S. Open, on Saturday, August 2, Marhenke will participate in her best event, the 50-meter freestyle. Marhenke is a native of Carmichael, Calif., who just concluded her collegiate eligibility at the end of this past season as a four-time individual conference gold medalist and two-time NCAA Championships qualifier. Racing for Santa Clara Swim Club, she enters with a seed time of 26.38 seconds, tied for the 42nd-fastest among 58 competitors listed on the official psych sheet, with 26.59 seconds being the meet qualifier. The two-time San Jose State team captain posted that mark during preliminaries at her previous meet, the 2008 USA Olympic Team Trials, in Omaha, Neb., back on Saturday, July 5. Vrieze also swam the 100 back at this year’s Olympic Trials.

Preliminary heats on each day of the 2008 U.S. Open are scheduled to start at 7:00 a.m. PDT, with evening finals beginning at 4:00 p.m. PDT.

The U.S. Open is sanctioned by USA Swimming through Minnesota Swimming, and serves as the selection meet for the 2009 World University Games, to be held from July 2-7, 2009, in Belgrade, Serbia. Twenty-four members of the U.S. national team are slated to compete.