Swimmers Look For 9-1 At Home Against Pacific

THIS WEEKEND - SPARTANS HOST AREA RIVAL PACIFIC IN DUAL MEET
The San Jose State University women’s swimming and diving team closes out the 2008 calendar year with one final competition, a dual meet against the University of the Pacific, on Saturday, December 6. The first of 14 swimming events at The Aquatics Center on the San Jose State campus, is now slated for a later 3:00 p.m. start, to accommodate the final exams schedule of the Spartan swimmers. No admission fee is charged to attend meets at The Aquatics Center.

The day will follow a standard collegiate 16-event dual format, beginning with the 200 medley relay and ending with the 400 freestyle relay. The complete order of events is as follows: 200 medley relay, 1000 free, 200 free, 100 back, 100 breast, 200 fly, 50 free, 100 free, 200 back, 200 breast, 500 free, 100 fly, 200 IM and 400 free relay. There will be two short breaks after the 50 free and 100 fly. The one-meter and three-meter diving events will take place at The Aquatics Center beginning at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, December 5.

Under the direction of fourth-year head coach Sage Hopkins, the Spartans have had an incredible fall portion of their 2008-09 schedule. San Jose State enters Saturday’s meet with an impressive dual record of 8-1, and on an eight-meet winning streak since a season-opening loss at No. 3 Stanford. The Spartans were also the only team to complete the inaugural Western Athletic Conference Shootout unbeaten at 5-0 in Las Cruces, N.M., in October, and are coming off a program-best second-place showing at the annual Nike Cup in Long Beach, Calif., two weekends ago.

Pacific, a member of the Big West Conference, enters Saturday’s meet at 3-2 overall.

Following Saturday’s dual meet, the Spartans will take a break for final exams and the holiday season. San Jose State will resume competition with a dual meet at Cal State Bakersfield on Friday, January 2.

SAN JOSE STATE UNIVERSITY (8-1, 5-0 WAC)
vs. UNIVERSITY OF THE PACIFIC (3-2, 0-0 BWC)
THE AQUATICS CENTER, SAN JOSE, CALIF.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 6, 3:00 P.M.

SAN JOSE STATE (8-1, 5-0 WAC) vs. PACIFIC (3-2, 0-0 BWC)
Pacific, like San Jose State, was last in action at the 2008 UCI/Nike Cup. The Tigers were in sixth-place after day one, and remained in that position through the three-day event, with 559.5 points. Saturday’s meet will also mark the end of the Tigers’ calendar year, as they will next head to No. 3 Stanford for a dual on January 10.

Pacific was picked to place fifth in the Big West Conference preseason poll, by the six league head coaches. This season’s Big West Championships will be held February 25-28, at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in Long Beach, Calif., site of the Nike Cup. UOP is the first of two Big West opponents for San Jose State this season. The Spartans will also travel to face UC Davis on January 10, 2009.

UOP is led by senior Jenny Lewis, who earned Big West Swimmer of the Week honors for the first time in her career after winning the 50 freestyle at the Nike Cup. Lewis sprinted 23.12 to touch ahead of San Jose State sophomore Meghan McCurley (23.56) in third-place in the championship final on the meet’s first night on Thursday, November 20. Lewis also placed fourth (51.02) in the 100 free, right behind Spartan senior Lauren Mar (50.87), and seventh in the 100 back (57.05) behind Spartan winner Heather Denman (54.86). Fellow UOP senior Jun Huang was third in the 100 back (56.53).

In last year’s meeting between the non-conference area rivals on December 8, 2007, San Jose State narrowly edged UOP in a collegiate swimming thriller, 131-130, in Stockton, Calif. The dual came down to the very last event, the 200 freestyle relay, with the Spartans needing to win it with one foursome, and place second or third with the other. They went first and third to edge the Tigers for San Jose State’s first win over UOP in known program history. The Spartans dropped a 136-125 decision in San Jose in their only other match-up with the Tigers under fourth-year head coach Sage Hopkins, on December 9, 2006. Adam Kennedy is 3-2 in his first season in charge at Pacific.

LAST YEAR: SPARTANS EDGE TIGERS IN THRILLER
San Jose State narrowly edged Pacific in a collegiate swimming thriller a year ago on December 8, 2007, by the final score of 131-130 at the Chris Kjeldsen Pool in Stockton, Calif.

The Spartans finished first and third in the final event of the day, the 200 freestyle relay, to overtake UOP by a single point, the result marking San Jose State’s first victory over the Tigers in known program history.

Down by three points at the final break, 114-111, Hannah Tringham (4:32.53), Caitlin Macky (4:37.10) and Kirsten Trammell (4:37.95) finished second, fourth and fifth in the 400 individual medley to collect seven points for the Spartans, while Pacific gained 12 more points to extend its advantage to eight points heading into the final event.

Knowing it needed to win the 200 freestyle relay and still also place a second foursome in either second or third, San Jose State did exactly what it had to do. Diving into the water behind by a little over a second after then-freshmen Daphne Yeung and Julie Wynn, senior co-captain Brie Marhenke swam a 22.74 split to her counterpart’s 24.05 to take a slim lead, with current senior tri-captain Tarolyn Robertson holding off UOP’s Melissa McGhee with a 25.09 anchor leg. Wynn was competing in her first collegiate A’ relay.

Meanwhile, the Spartan B’ relay of Meghan McCurley, Joanna Torres, Lauren Mar, and Sara Riley, timed 1:39.17 to easily outdistance the remainder of the opposition and gain the two crucial points for third-place.

Marhenke won the 50 free in 23.76 before taking the 100 by over a second over Mar (53.76), in 52.69. Marhenke anchored the second-place 200 medley relay (1:48.40) to begin the meet, with Mar, Macky and Robertson swimming ahead of her.

Other individual winners for the Spartans included Mar in the 100 back (59.31) over teammate Katey Nelson in second (1:01.37), and Tringham in the 200 fly (2:06.60) over Jillene Golez (2:09.87) and Ally Jack (2:10.83) in a 1-2-3 SJSU sweep. Macky won the 200 breast in 2:22.93. Yeung (54.90) and McCurley (55.28) completed a rare 1-2-3-4 effort for San Jose State behind Marhenke and Mar in the 100 freestyle.

SAGE HOPKINS ON THE NIKE CUP
“Nike Cup was our greatest performance on both a team and individual basis, in any of my seasons here at San Jose State. We came out of the meet with 108 season-best times and 73 lifetime bests. We had six swimmers out of 21, that every time they touched the water was a lifetime best, and we had most swimmers who just about every time they touched the water, it was a lifetime best. It was truly a remarkable and special meet to be a part of. The team spirit was amazing. The team chemistry was flawless. There is really not a whole lot more I can say other than it was just amazing.”

SAGE HOPKINS ON THE PACIFIC MEET
“UOP is a great, strong program. This is our third year in a row of having a December competition against them. Each year, it’s been an absolute dogfight that’s gone down to the wire. We’re very excited and very focused, just as I’m sure they are. There’s going to be great racing from both programs, and we’re just excited to get in and race to close up the fall season.”