Listening to Justin Barber and Lauren Costella, Friday was just another day at the office.
All the two 16-year-old Carson Tigersharks did was win their respective 1,650-yard freestyle races to begin the Pacific Swimming Short Course Senior Championships in Carson City. Costella cruised to first-place in the women's mile race with a time of 16 minutes, 50.34 seconds and Barber won the men's race in 16:26.40 while teammate Ryan Hudson placed third on the first day of the Championships, which continue through Monday at the Carson City Aquatic Facility.
Winning was nice, but neither of the Tigersharks was especially elated about their performance.
"That wasn't one of my better swims. I was hoping to go about 20 seconds faster," Costella said.
"I was kind of disappointed with today," Barber shrugged. "With an altitude adjustment, it would have been close to my best time, about five seconds off my best, which is all right.
Even if they weren't at their best, remember, Barber and Costella were both coming off impressive victories last weekend at the Hitachi International Junior Championships in Beaverton, Ore. Costella won the women's 800 freestyle in a meet record time of 8:42.92.
"Last weekend was pretty phenomenal for me," Costella said. "I did really well in the 800 freestyle; I'm 19th right now in the world in that event, so I was pretty happy with that swim.
"My 400 I.M. was pretty good, too (4:47.38); I'm 23rd in the world in that event now," added Costella, who is entered in the women's 400 individual medley today.
Barber also placed fourth in the Portland meet's 400 I.M. with a Tigersharks club record time of 4:35.14. "We had a big meet last weekend so I'm kind of all meeted out. I'm not ready for this weekend, but I'm going to try and do the best I can," Barber said.
Barber and Costella, both sophomores at Carson High School and both qualifiers for the U.S. Olympic Trials this past August, are approaching a time when they will face important meets on successive weekends.
"That's one of the things they have to learn," Tigersharks coach Jack Simon said. "To be able to swim in the big-time, you've got to be able to step it up and go back-to-back. If you're going to be swimming at the collegiate level you have to be able to do it every week."
Barber won his race by nearly six seconds over the Reno Aquatic Club's Thomas Brown, who was clocked at 16:32.24, while Hudson placed third in 16:51.02.
Costella logged a time of 16:50.34. Heather Wilcox of Tualatin Hills Swim Club in Beaverton, competing in a separate heat, placed second overall in 17:23.84. Jessica Cotton, 14, of Tiger Aquatics, was third 17:36.25 and San Jose State bound Brooke Wells was fourth in 17:53.41.
"This was a good swim for Heather," Simon said of the 17-year-old Wilcox. "She had a time of 17:19 at sea level two weeks ago, so to go 17:23 up here at altitude is pretty good."
Another Tualatin Hills swimmer, Melissa Green, an Olympic trials finalist who has committed to the University of Southern California, is entered in the women's 400 I.M. today. Costella comes in with the fastest time of 4:26.32 and Green is seeded No. 2 in 4:27.70. Green is seeded No. 1 for Sunday's 100 butterfly and Monday's 200 butterfly.
(Trials beginning at 9 a.m., finals are at 4 p.m.)
Women's 400 I.M.
Men's 100 breaststroke
Women's 50 freestyle
Men's 200 freestyle
Women's 100 backstroke
Men's 100 butterfly
Women's 500 freestyle
Men's 200 I.M.
Women's 400 medley relay
Men's 800 freestyle relay
Men's 1,000 freestyle