Locals strong at nationals

Local swimmers had a solid day on Friday at the National Championships being held at Stanford.

Carson High graduate Lauren Costella, who also swims for the Carson Tigersharks, took a step in the right direction when she finished 35th in the 400-meter freestyle in four minutes, 27.07 seconds. Costella, who will be a sophomore at Stanford, has been struggling with her stroke all summer, but showed progress on Friday and gained some momentum going into her swim today in the 1,500 free.

"A much better swim on her part," Tigershark coach Jim Puleo said. "Better controlled. I think she's looking forward to the mile. It was just a better controlled swim." Puleo said he and Costella will work on improving her tempo for today's race.

Also for the Tigersharks, Jamie Engan, who will be a junior at Carson, swam to a personal best of 2:26.66 in a time trial in the 200 individual medley. Puleo said Engan struggled somewhat in the back half as she had trouble in the breaststroke leg, which caused her to fatigue in the freestyle leg.

"We just fell off the back half a little bit," Puleo said. "She just muscled the breaststroke."

Engan will swim in the 1,500 free as well. "Both girls are looking forward to the mile," Puleo said.

In addition, Julie and Kate Hardt, both Carson graduates, had a solid effort to help Reno Aquatics take eighth in the 800 free relay in 8:26.42. Kate will be a junior at the University of Minnesota while Julie just completed her career this past spring at the Universityof Georgia.

The meet concludes today. The Hardts are also scheduled to swim as Julie will swim in the 50 free and with her sister in the 400 medley relay.

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