Local swimmers making their mark

Staff Reports

Local swimmers are continuing to make their mark on the collegiate level, both in the pool and in the classroom.

It's a busy time of year for local swimmers with many of them competing in conference championships with an eye on next month's NCAA Championships.

In addition, Carson High graduate Ryan Costella continues to make his mark scholastically. Costella, a captain for the Villanova men's swim team who swims for the Carson Tigersharks, has been accepted to Cambridge University in England. Costella plans to study international relations with an emphasis on U.S.-Chinese relations.

He was a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship to attend Oxford. Another scholarship that Costella is a finalist for is the U.S. State Department's Fulbright Scholarship, which is given to students to study abroad.

Costella is also up for an NCAA postgraduate scholarship. A select group of student-athletes are given NCAA postgraduate scholarships. Based on the criteria, it figures that Costella has an excellent chance to receive that scholarship.

In the pool, two local swimmers have already made their mark in conference championships. Carson graduate Kate Hardt, a University of Minnesota sophomore, placed 12th in the 500-yard freestyle in this week's Big 10 Championships being hosted by Minnesota.

Hardt came in seeded 26th with a time of four minutes, 57.91 seconds. She just qualified for the consolation finals in 16th in 4:53.34. She finished 12th in the finals in 4:50.59.

She also helped Minnesota to a sixth place finish in the 800 free relay in 7:19.14. She's scheduled to compete in the 100 free where she's seeded 22nd (51.70) and the 200 free where she's seeded 14th (1:50.27). The Big 10 meet will continue through Saturday.

Carson graduate Justin Barber, another Tigershark who's a freshman at Notre Dame, finished 17th in the 500 free at the Big East Championships. Barber was an alternate for the consolation finals after finishing in 4:33.58. He came in seeded 28th. He will compete in the 1,650 free and the 400 individual medley where he's seeded 17th in both events.

The Pac 10 Championships will be held Feb. 26-28 at Long Beach's Belmont Plaza. Carson graduate Lauren Costella, another Tigershark who's a freshman at Stanford, will compete. Carson graduate Jessie Hong, a junior at Oregon State, should also compete.

The Southeastern Conference Championships will be hosted by the University of Georgia Feb. 25-28. Carson graduate Julie Hardt, a senior at Georgia, and Carson graduate Tara Theilemann, a Tigershark who's a freshman at Alabama, will compete. Evan Fischer, a Tigershark who's a senior at Tennessee, should also compete.

The NCAA women's championships will be held March 18-20 in College Station, Texas. The NCAA men's championships will be held March 25-27 in Long Island, N.Y.


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