Costella wins three more races at Pacific Championships

Lauren Costella is now a perfect four-for-four at the Pacific Swimming Short Course Senior Championships.

The 16-year-old Carson Tigershark won each of her three races on Saturday, giving her four gold medals at the midway mark of the four-day meet being held at the Carson City Aquatic Facility. She won the 400 individual medley, the 100 backstroke and the 500 freestyle to go with her victory in Friday's 1,650 freestyle.

The Tigersharks' Justin Barber also won the men's 1,000-yard freestyle and Kate Hardt of Carson City, who competes for Reno Aquatics, sped to victory in the women's 50 freestyle to supply additional highlights for hometown fans.

The day turned out well overall for the meet host Carson Tigersharks, according to coach Jack Simon.

"We've been swimming pretty well so far, hopefully that will continue," Simon said. "We had four wins tonight, which I am pretty pleased with. We're coming along, and I'm pleased about that because we're still in a pretty intense training program right now."

Costella led a 1-2-3 Carson City sweep in the women's 100 backstroke. She won the race in a personal record time of 1 minute, 1.08 seconds while Hardt was second in 1:01.38 and Tara Theileman of the Carson Tigersharks placed third in 1:01.65.

The backstroke was especially satisfying for Costella, who only ranked No. 24 with an entry time of 1:04.73.

"That's not really one of her strengths, but her backstroke is getting better and better, which is going to help her I.M. dramatically," Simon said. "She improved her time this morning (in the preliminaries) and she was even faster tonight."

The 15-year-old Theileman supplied another bright spot for the Tigersharks.

"Tara had a good race," he said. "She still doesn't understand how to swim the last 25 of a race, otherwise, I think she might have won it. When she learns how to attack the last 25 with a faster tempo, she'll be right there."

Costella gave a strong performance in the 400 I.M., where she turned a time of 4:29.10 to outlast the Tualatin Hills (Beaverton, Ore.) tandem of Melissa Greene and Heather Wilcox, who finished second and third. Greene, who placed sixth in the 100 butterfly at this year's U.S. Olympic Trials and is headed to the University of Southern California after high school, finished second in 4:35.86.

To cap off her day, Costella cruised to first-place in the 500 freestyle with a 5:02.64 clocking. Jessica Cotton, 14, of Tiger Aquatics in Stockton, Calif., was second in 5:05.00.

Barber, also 16, edged Reno Aquatics rival Thomas Brown to win the men's 1,000 freestyle. Barber clocked in at 9:42.75, just ahead of Brown in 9:42.95, while Ryan Hudson of the Tigersharks finished a close third in 9:46.29.

Barber later placed third in the 200 I.M. (2:03.40) and sixth in the 200 freestyle (1:50.23).

Hardt, 16, won the women's 50 freestyle with a 25.12 dash after placing second in the 100 backstroke.

It was also a successful day for 16-year-old Graham Lentz of the Piranha Swim Club (Rohnert Park, Calif.), who won both the men's 200 I.M. (1:59.00) and the 100 breaststroke (1:00.14). Lentz was a high school All-American in the 200 I.M. and 200 breaststroke for Casa Grande High in Petaluma.

Another local highlight came from Eddie Shepard, 19, of the Douglas Dolfins, who placed third in the butterfly race with a 54.37 effort. And the Tigersharks' Ryan Theileman, 16, took third in the B final of the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:51.76, an improvement of nearly two seconds over his entry time.


(Prelims at 9 a.m., finals at 4 p.m.)

Women's 1,000 freestyle

Women's 100 breaststroke

Men's 200 backstroke

Women's 200 freestyle

Men's 200 breaststroke

Women's 100 butterfly

Men's 100 freestyle

Women's 200 I.M.

Men's 200 butterfly


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