Costella fourth in nationals

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Lauren Costella of the Carson Tigersharks continued to make her mark on the national level on Tuesday.

Costella placed fourth in the 800-meter freestyle at the USA Summer National Championships at Clovis West High in California. Costella lowered her seeded time by nearly 11 seconds to place fourth. Costella was seeded 17th with a time of eight minutes, 53.01 seconds, but finished in 8:42.24.

In addition, Costella also had a senior national qualifying time for the 400 free, swimming the first 400 in 4:19.19. She also finished less than a second of the second and third place finishers as their times were 8:41.55 and 8:41.75. "She's kind of kicking herself over that," Puleo said.

But Puleo said Costella had nothing to be disappointed about her performance.

"You've got to be happy about that," said Puleo about an 11-second time drop.

"That's a helluva drop. She went out very aggressively. Lauren had a helluva 800."

Puleo said Costella knew she had to swim at least 4:20 in the first 400 to be among the top finishers.

"These kids won't back down from anybody," said Puleo about how Costella's effort represented the Tigersharks. "She did what had to be done to be competitive."

Costella was the fastest swimmer in the third of five heats. Only three swimmers in the fifth heat that had the top eight seeds were able to beat Costella.

"She was fourth from the middle of the pack essentially," Puleo said.

This week's meet is being used as a qualifier for this month's Goodwill Games in Sydney, Australia. The most versatile swimmers will be chosen for the Goodwill Games, Puleo said.

There are also several swimmers who are not in this week's meet, but competed at the World Championships, who have said they would participate in the Goodwill Games. Puleo said the format of the Goodwill Games works against Costella.

Costella will compete in the 400 individual medley on Thursday. Justin Barber of the Tigersharks will also participate in a 400 I.M. time trial on Thursday.

On Saturday, Costella and Barber will compete in the 1,500 free. On Sunday, Costella will compete in the U.S. Open Water Championships 5K swim.


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