Atlanta, Ga. - Former San Jose State University swimming standout and current Spartan first-year assistant coach Ashley Vrieze concluded competition at the 2007 ConocoPhillips USA Swimming Short Course National Championships at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center on Saturday, December 1.
Sixteen U.S. Olympians and numerous 2008 Olympic hopefuls were present in Atlanta for the last national U.S. swimming event prior to the 2008 Olympic Team Trials, to be held in Omaha, Neb., June 29-July 6, 2008. More than 1,000 swimmers were expected to have competed.
Vrieze, swimming for De Anza Cupertino Aquatics (DACA), a club team for which she also coaches, began the event by racing a 56.16 leadoff 100 backstroke leg of the 400 medley relay on Thursday, November 29. DACA placed 15th out of 43 competing foursomes, in a time of 3:49.37, earning four points. The relay representing the University of California timed 3:38.47 to win.
The native of Arcata, Calif., and school record-holder in three events then swam 56.26 during preliminaries of the 100-yard backstroke on Friday morning, November 30. The mark was around a second faster than she was at this time last year, but .48 seconds off her school standard of 55.78, placing her 42nd among 119 total competitors. Vrieze went out in 27.43 over the first 50 yards, and came in at 28.83. Former Cal star and Olympian Natalie Coughlin won the event in evening finals for California Aquatics, in 50.64.
On Saturday, December 1, Vrieze finished the meet by competing in the 200-yard backstroke. She timed 2:03.86 in morning prelims to place 65th out of 101 swimmers. Her school record is 2:02.55 from the 2007 Western Athletic Conference Championship. Olympian Margaret Hoelzer of North Carolina’s Mecklenburg Aquatic Club, went 1:51.68 to win the event.