Swimming Heads South For Annual Nike Cup

THIS WEEK - SPARTANS HEAD SOUTH FOR NIKE CUP
The San Jose State University women’s swim team flies to Orange County early Wednesday morning, November 14, for the 2007 UC Irvine/Nike Cup, to be held at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in Long Beach, Calif., from Thursday, November 15, through Saturday, November 17. The team will return to San Jose on Sunday morning, November 18.

The Nike Cup, formerly known as the Speedo Cup, will once again be hosted by UC Irvine. Preliminaries begin at 11:30 a.m. for the women all three days, with finals starting at 6:00 p.m. No diving is held at the event. The Spartans are travelling with 24 swimmers.

Following Nike Cup, the Spartans have one final competition for the 2007 calendar year, a straight dual meet at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., on Saturday, December 8.

SAN JOSE STATE UNIVERSITY
at 2007 UC IRVINE/NIKE CUP
BELMONT PLAZA, LONG BEACH, CALIF.
THURSDAY-SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15-17, ALL DAY


SAN JOSE STATE at UC IRVINE/NIKE CUP
The Spartans secured fifth place at the conclusion of the third and final day of the 2006 Speedo Cup, accumulating 547 points over the 18 events in holding off Colorado State, in sixth with 541, among the 22 scoring squads. San Jose State trailed only team champion Brigham Young (1088), UC San Diego (749), USC (636) and UC Irvine (635.5). The Spartans comfortably out-pointed the other two Western Athletic Conference teams, the University of San Diego (12th, 340) and Northern Arizona (17th, 63).

San Jose State returned to the Speedo Cup in 2005 after a one-year hiatus, finishing a program-best fourth at the meet in current third-year head coach Sage Hopkins’ debut season. Current senior and team co-captain Brie Marhenke finished second in the 50 free in a school-record 23.42, an NCAA B’ cut, behind only Stanford’s Brooke Bishop (22.99). The Spartans earned 650.5 points, their highest total ever, to place behind Stanford (1760.5), Nevada (723) and Brigham Young (699). Their previous highs were 517 points in 1998 and sixth place in 2002. San Jose State’s first year of Speedo Cup competition was 1995, when it finished 21st out of 22 teams with 14 points. It has competed at the event in each year since, with the exception of 2004.

The Spartans finished 12th out of 17 teams in 1996 (238 points), 15th out of 22 in 1997 (232), eighth out of 20 in 1998 (517), 12th out of 23 in 1999 (316), 10th out of 22 in 2000 (371), 10th out of 18 in 2001 (278), sixth out of 23 in 2002 (397.5) and ninth out of 16 in 2003 (348).

Elin Carlsson has the lone individual Speedo Cup title for a San Jose State swimmer, having won the 500 freestyle event in 1997 in a time of 4:59.28. Marhenke achieved a couple of relay wins as a former two-year member of the Oregon State Beavers. The transfer anchored the triumphant 200 free relay (1:33.77) in 2004 and 400 free relay (3:29.95) in 2003.

ABOUT UC IRVINE/NIKE CUP
The 2007 Nike Cup will feature 23 women’s teams and 17 men’s teams. The women’s field includes No. 14 UCLA, host UC Irvine, Brigham Young, Air Force, Rice, New Mexico, Pacific, UC San Diego, the top-ranked team in the NCAA Division II, and UC Santa Cruz, the ninth-ranked team in Division III. The men’s field includes No. 3 Stanford, Brigham Young, UC Irvine, Air Force, Pacific, UC Davis, Cal State Northridge, No. 3 (D-II) UC San Diego and No. 8 (D-III) UC Santa Cruz. The meet will be scored to 24 places in each event. This will be the first year the meet will be known as the Nike Cup after being the Speedo Cup since 1992.

The Nike Cup was hosted by the University of Southern California from 1989-1991, as the United States National Grand Prix Swimming Invitational, and in 1992 as the Speedo Cup. UC Irvine has hosted the meet since 1993. UCLA, California, Pacific and Stanford have each notched a pair of women’s team championships. Stanford won back-to-back team titles on the women’s side before not competing at last year’s Speedo Cup. The Cardinal accumulated a record 1760.5 points in 2005 to finish ahead of 20 scoring squads. BYU won last year with 1088 points.

NIKE CUP ORDER OF EVENTS
The 2007 UCI/Nike Cup will begin with the 200 free relay on Thursday, November 15, followed by the 500 free, 200 IM, 50 free and 400 medley relay on day one. The 200 medley relay, 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast, 100 back and 800 free relay will all be contested on day two on Friday. The meet will conclude on Saturday with the 1650 free, 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, 200 fly and 400 free relay, for a total of 13 individual and five relay events. No diving is held.

San Jose State senior Brie Marhenke will compete in the 50 freestyle on the meet’s first day on Thursday, and the 100 free on the final day on Saturday, looking to become the first Spartan swimmer to win an event at this meet since Elin Carlsson in 1997, and just the second ever.

SAGE HOPKINS ON NIKE CUP
“Nike Cup is always the focus of our fall season. Our expectation is a top-four team placing, and lifetime bests for each swimmer. We had great preparation leading up to this meet, and the team is very focused and excited to compete."