The level that Lauren Costella has reached was demonstrated on Tuesday when placing ninth in the nation was a disappointing finish.
Costella, swimming for the Carson Tigersharks, placed ninth in the 800-meter freestyle at the United States Spring National Swimming Championships in Minneapolis. Costella finished in eight minutes, 47.54 seconds.
"It wasn't a real good swim," Tigershark coach Jim Puleo said. "The field got away from her pretty early."
Among those who set a fast pace in Costella's heat was Diana Munz, who ended up winning the title in 8:32.20.
"She just lost her stroke," said Puleo about Costella when she was trying to make up ground. Puleo said Costella's stroke wasn't as long and as relaxed as it normally is.
Last summer at the national championships, Costella placed fourth in 8:42.24 in the 800 free. In that race, she had a 4:19 400. On Tuesday, she had a 4:21 400.
Puleo said Costella had been "training well enough that she should have been faster. I'm just hoping it's the worst swim of the meet."
Costella will swim in the 400 individual medley on Thursday, in the 400 free on Friday and in the 1,500 free on Saturday. Costella is the defending champion in the 1,500 free, winning at last summer's national championships.