Sports

Making waves: Pac-10 swimming chamionships conclude tonight inside the KC Aquatic Center

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

The biggest college swim meet in the Western United States concludes tonight at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center. The 2006 Pac-10 Men’s Swimming Championships features four of the top-six ranked teams in the nation and will, most likely, include several athletes who will participate in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing.

“We feel fortunate to have such a great facility available to host the Pac-10 Championships,” said Christine Dawson, the Pacific-10 Conference Assistant Commissioner for Olympic sports. “The King County Aquatic Center is a well-managed facility that is in excellent condition, and our coaches and student athletes know they can have a great championship experience there.”

Preliminary swims will kick off at 11 a.m. today and finals are set to begin at 6 p.m. at the Aquatic Center. The University of Washington is hosting the six-team meet.

Stanford enters tonight’s last day of competition as the defending Pac-10 champions and are currently the No. 1-ranked team in America. Cal-Berkeley comes in as the third-ranked team, followed by the University of Southern California (fourth), Arizona (sixth) and No. 25 Arizona State. The Huskies finished the regular season with a 6-6 record.

Fox Sports Network will be covering the action for delayed broadcast beginning March 10. Last season, Washington finished sixth at the Pac-10 Championships with 224 points. Stanford won the meet with 932.5 points, followed by California (883), USC (579), Arizona (450) and Arizona State (311.5). Tickets are available at $10 for adults or $6 for a student/senior citizen.

Today’s swimming action will have a little Federal Way feel when USC junior Joon Youm steps on the starting blocks inside his former home pool in the 100-yard breaststroke preliminaries.

Youm was one of the most decorated swimmers in the rich history of Decatur High School. During his Gator career, Youm was a three-time All-American and the Washington State Swimmer of the Year from 2001-03. Youm won a total of six Class 4A individual championships — three each in the 100-yard breaststroke and 200 individual medley. Decatur also won the 2003 state team championship.

The Federal Way resident has had a solid three-year career at USC. As a freshman, Youm posted a pair of consolation finals appearances at the 2004 Pac-10 Championships. He finished 15th in the 200 breaststroke (2:02.28) and 16th in the 100 breast (56.82). Last year, Youm finished a personal-best 13th in the 100 breaststroke (56.14) at the 2005 Pac-10 Championships.

The Pac-10 Men’s Swimming Championships will be the first of two elite-level meets the King County Aquatic Center will host this month. The 2006 United States Spring Nationals will bring over 900 of the best men and women swimmers in the country to Federal Way. The meet will run from March 28 through April 1.

The Aquatic Center is also slated to host the 2008 NCAA Men’s National Championships.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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