The Washington State University swimming team took down the Idaho Vandals, 157-48, Saturday at Gibb Pool. The competition marked the final home meet of the season for the Cougars, and the final home meet in the careers of seniors Jennifer Dean, Rugile Mileisyte and Talor Whitaker, who were honored prior to the first event.
“They are an amazing senior class,” said head coach Erica Quam. “They really are three amazing people both in the pool and out. They have been great leaders all year long; they really became our captains and handled that role really well. I owe a lot of the great environment that the team has right now to their great leaderships and attitudes.”
The senior trio had made their impressions on the WSU swimming program throughout their four years in Pullman, and made their final impressions on the Gibb Pool record book during the meet. The seniors paired with sophomore Evelina Bieleckaite to break the Gibb Pool record in the 200 freestyle relay. The team finished in 1:34.21, beating the previous mark by over a second.
“When we heard the lineups today, we all started cheering,” Whitaker said. “We were just happy that Erica gave us the opportunity to swim together for the last time and do something as great as finally break that pool record.”
In addition to the relay victory, Whitaker finished with wins in both of her individual events. The Chesterton, Ind., native led all competitors with 18 individual points after winning the 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley.
Mileisyte finished first in her only individual event of the day, the 100 freestyle. She finished with a winning time of 51.65 seconds, just ahead of Dean, who picked up two second-place finishes for the day.
Though the seniors highlighted the meet, Mileisyte and Whitaker were just two of seven different WSU swimmers who earned individual victories during the competition. Freshman Lora Lougee led a Cougar sweep of the 1000 freestyle and helped push WSU out to a 31-5 lead after only two events.
Fellow freshman Emily Fenster took first in the other distance event, the 500 freestyle, touching the wall more than six seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.
Bieleckaite, Emma Neely and Marina Ruiz Jimenez picked up individual victories in the 50 freestyle, 200 freestyle and the 100 breaststroke, respectively.
“I just wanted them to get up, race and work on some of the little details and I think most people did a really good job with that,” said Quam. “I think it’s a good note to end on going into Pac-10’s.”
The Cougars will next swim at the Pac-10 Championships, Feb. 23-26, in Federal Way, Wash.