Cougar swim team hits road for Pac-12 Championships

WSU will compete in four-day tournament in hopes to win conference

Freshman+swimmer+Keiana+Fountaine+swims+100+fly+in+meet+against+Utah+Feb.+16+in+Gibb+Pool.+Fountaine+finished+in+5th+with+a+time+of+59.56.
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Cougar swim team hits road for Pac-12 Championships

Freshman swimmer Keiana Fountaine swims 100 fly in meet against Utah Feb. 16 in Gibb Pool. Fountaine finished in 5th with a time of 59.56.

Freshman swimmer Keiana Fountaine swims 100 fly in meet against Utah Feb. 16 in Gibb Pool. Fountaine finished in 5th with a time of 59.56.

PAIGE CAMPBELL | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

Freshman swimmer Keiana Fountaine swims 100 fly in meet against Utah Feb. 16 in Gibb Pool. Fountaine finished in 5th with a time of 59.56.

PAIGE CAMPBELL | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

PAIGE CAMPBELL | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

Freshman swimmer Keiana Fountaine swims 100 fly in meet against Utah Feb. 16 in Gibb Pool. Fountaine finished in 5th with a time of 59.56.

SIGMUND SEROKA, Evergreen reporter

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This Wednesday marks the first day of the Pac-12 Championship tournament the WSU swim team has been looking forward to all season.

This meet is a big deal for Head Coach Matt Leach. For him and many of his players this will be their first time competing in the Pac-12’s. With the new territory and still discovering his young team, there are a few things Leach will look for this weekend.

“We’re looking for energy,” Leach said. “We’re putting all of our eggs in one basket … we’re going out and not worrying about anything else but what we can control. Positive attitude and strong effort and we’ll be fine.”

Last year, the championship went to the Stanford Cardinal for the second year in a row while WSU managed to place eighth, just one spot above last place Oregon State.

Since the first championship back in 1987, Stanford won 21 times, including a 13-year stretch of back-to-back championships in the very beginning. The only other schools to win the championship include Arizona with four titles, California with four titles, UCLA with two titles and USC with one title.

WSU will look to bring home their first Pac-12 championship this weekend at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center.

While the whole team will be competing at the Pac-12’s, some swimmers are striving to continue their dominant season at the championships. Freshman Keiana Fountaine, sophomores Mackenzie Duarte and Taylor McCoy, junior Ryan Falk and senior Linnea Lindberg are all swimmers included in this list.

Leading up to Pac-12 Championships, Leach has noticed a lot of the younger swimmers have made the most out of their final moments of learning before the tournament.

“Even when you look at winter training and the Arizona and Arizona State meets, some very strong swimming,” Leach said. “Mackenzie [Duarte] coming in and winning 200 breastrokes and you look at Taylor McCoy winning Pac-12 swimmer of the week, first one in a very, very long time.”

All season long, it has been a point of emphasis on the Cougars’ swimming team to maintain a strong team culture while also having fun and competing within their control.

Leach is not looking for one athlete specifically to shine in Pac-12’s, but rather the entire team to perform with the greatest amount of positive energy and effort they have given this season.

“As long as you’re sending off good energy, no matter how you swim,” Leach said. “Because when we have success, I want everyone to feed off that success.”

WSU will dive into the Pac-12 Championships beginning on Wednesday and will last until Saturday. The last two days of the championship will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network.