Costella solid at U.S. Nationals

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Lauren Costella had an encouraging effort heading into her best event at the U.S. Swimming Championships.

Costella, a Carson High senior swimming for the Carson Tigersharks, placed 38th in the 400-meter freestyle, finishing in four minutes, 23.33 seconds.

"It wasn't that bad of a swim," Tigershark coach Jim Puleo said. "That 4:23 is around her best time. I think she's pretty confident going into the mile."

Puleo was referring to today's 1,500 free in which Costella is a two-time national champion. Puleo said he and Costella have made some technical changes which has helped her performance.

Tara Theilemann, another CHS senior swimming for the Tigersharks, swam in a 200 free time trial on Friday, finishing in 2:07.07. Her time was faster than the 2:07.88 she posted in Thursday's 200 free.

Puleo said Theilemann swam more under control, went out faster and came back fast. "I think she finished the meet on a better note," Puleo said.


The Tigersharks have had an impressive two days so far at the Far Western Regional Championships in Pleasanton, Calif. With 10 swimmers competing, the Tigersharks have their largest contingent at the meet in a long time.

Highlights so far have been Kiel Costella's third place finish in the 1,650-yard free and John Wandel's eight place finish in the 100 free.

In the 17-18-year-old 1,650 free, Costella placed third in 17:23.11. In the 13-14 100 free, Wandel qualified for the finals in seventh in 51.82. He placed eighth in the finals.

Andrew Willett placed ninth in the 1,650 free for 13-14 boys in a Pacific Regional reportable time of 17:25.70.

Costella also took 10th in the 400 individual medley in 4:36.52, finishing close to his personal best.

Other finishes on Friday for the Tigersharks were: 11-12 girls --Abby Niehoff,100 free, 21st, 58.24; 200 backstroke, 18th, 2:22.36. Niehoff's time in the 200 back was a Pacific Region reportable time.

13-14 girls -- Rebekah Niehoff, 200 back, 41st, 2:20.28. 13-14 boys -- Willett, 200 back, 20th, 2:11.94. 9-10 boys -- Nick Schlager, 200 I.M., 21st, 2:46.36.

In addition, the 13-14 boys relay placed ninth in the 400 free and 400 medley relays. Sean McKenna, Garrett Clayton, Willett and Wandel finished the 400 medley relay in 4:13.20, just missing their best time. They finished the 400 free relay in 3:45.24.

"We had a really good day," Tigershark assistant coach Jackie Boudreau said.

On Thursday in the 200 free, Abby Niehoff had a personal best of 2:06.43. Rebekah Niehoff finished in 2:04.18 and Willett finished in 1:57.11, just missing their best times.

Also in the 200 free, Schlager took 26th in 2:229.92. Schlager placed 10th in the 100 breaststroke (1:27.42) and 34th in the 50 back (32.25) as well.

"Across the board they're swimming well," Boudreau said. "There's been a lot of best times."


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