Oregon State sophomore Sammy Harrison won the 1st swimming Pac-12 Championship in school history.
History was made last weekend for the Oregon State swim team. Sophomore Sammy Harrison achieved what no other swimmer at OSU has ever done.
When she looked up at the board at the end of her race, she was filled with a wave of emotions.
“It was just the greatest experience I have ever had,” Harrison said. “The fact that my whole team was there, and I know that it meant as much to them as it did to me was also incredible. I’m just so happy.”
Harrison had just won the first individual Pac-12 title in Oregon State swimming history. She finished first in the 1,650-yard freestyle with a time of 15:55.57, breaking her own school record, which was set at 16:17.78. Her time earned her an A-Standard time, guaranteeing her a place at the NCAA Championships.
The OSU swim team traveled to Washington last weekend to participate in the Pac-12 Swimming and Diving Championships. The team had been hoping to peak at this meet, and it showed. The Beavers saw multiple season- and career-best times at the end of the weekend.
Harrison wasn’t a one-hit wonder, either. She also broke the school record in the 500-yard freestyle — her first event of Pac-12s — placing fourth with a time of 4:40.30. Her mark hit a B-Standard, not guaranteeing her to continue further in this event, but her time gives her the 22nd-best time in the nation. The top 40 usually make it to NCAAs.
“It boosted my confidence and I felt a lot better than I did when we first got there,” Harrison said. “It set me up with a really good mindset going into the mile.”
Harrison also finished 23rd in the 200-yard freestyle (1:48.88).
Harrison was not alone in her success for Oregon State.
Senior Crystal Kibby, in likely the final meet of her college career, finished ninth in the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:13.48 and 18th place for the 100-yard breaststroke (1:02:70).
Fellow breaststroker freshman Andrea Young, placed 25th in the 200 breaststroke (2:20.31).
Senior Aya Fujimura, in her final collegiate swim meet, finished with a time of 2:02.10 in the 200-yard butterfly, earning her a 22nd-place finish.
Sophomore Amani Amr finished in the top 25, taking 23rd in the 200-yard backstroke (2:01.58), while freshman Taylor Frank followed Harrison, taking 24th in the 1650 freestyle (18:13.10).
While Harrison had a great weekend, balancing trying to peak between the Pac-12 Championships and NCAA Championships has been hard for her and the coaching staff.
“That’s always the tricky technical side of swim coaching,” said assistant coach Jaime Jackson. “We’ll probably go two weeks max of really hard training, then start resting again.”
The coaching staff hopes the success of this season can serve as motivation for the team going into the spring, summer and ultimately, next season.
“I think that can give us a lot of momentum going into the spring as far as how hard we’re willing to train,” Jackson said. “My hope is that seeing how successful she was can set them up for (next season).”
Harrison will be heading to Minneapolis, Minn., for the NCAA Championships, which start Mar. 20.
Scott McReynolds, sports reporter
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