Costella named to World University Games |

Costella named to World University Games

Carson High senior Lauren Costella has finally been recognized as a two-time national champion should be:

She’s been chosen for the United States national team to compete in the 2003 World University Games. The international event is for the world’s top athletes who are in college.

The swimming competition in the World University Games will be held Aug. 22-24 and 26-28 in Daegu, South Korea. The U.S. swimmers will hold a training session for the World University Games from May 1-4 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Costella won the 2001 and 2002 national titles in the 1,500-meter freestyle at the United States Summer National Championships.

“Obviously Lauren’s pretty excited about this,” said Jim Puleo, who coaches Costella for the Carson Tigersharks. “It’s about time they’ve recognized her winning efforts at nationals.”

Puleo said he didn’t know what events that Costella would compete in. He said since she’s the national champion in the event, Costella should compete in the 1,500 free.

He said he hopes that Costella will be chosen to compete in as many as four events, including the 800 free and the 400 individual medley. Puleo said Costella could finish strong in the 400 I.M. He said the events that Costella will compete in should be determined at the training session in May.

“It feels awesome,” said Costella about her selection. “I was really surprised. Now I finally get to represent the U.S.A.”

Costella’s training will be geared to doing as well as possible at the World University Games. The national championships will be held two weeks before the World University Games. Puleo said he didn’t know if Costella would compete in the national event, but was leaning to having her compete in that meet.

“I think it will be a good tuneup meet,” Puleo said. “I want the first international experience for her to be a successful one.”

There’s still one obvious requirement for Costella to compete in the World University Games: She must be a registered college student.

Costella was thinking about delaying college for a year to train for the 2004 U.S. Olympic trials.

“This obviously weighs that decision considerably,” Puleo said. “There’s still an outside chance she’ll stay home.”

Costella has already scheduled three of her five visits to Stanford, Michigan and Florida. Among the other schools that Costella said she’s considering visiting are Yale, Auburn and Virginia.

She said there’s a “slight chance” that she may not go to college next year. Costella also said she wants to keep her options open.

“I want to look at the colleges first,” she said. “It will probably be more than likely that I will sign.”

Tigershark Notes: Puleo was named as one of the 2002 award of excellence winners by the American Swimming Coaches Association. About 100 coaches throughout the nation received the award.