Hardt, Costella crack top 30 in 400 free | NevadaAppeal.com

Hardt, Costella crack top 30 in 400 free

Staff reports

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Carson City’s Julie Hardt and Lauren Costella cracked the top 30 overall in the 400-meter freestyle on Tuesday during the Phillips 66 U.S. Summer National Swimming Championships.

Hardt, who competes for Reno Aquatics and the University of Georgia, qualified for the 400 freestyle C Final and finished 19th overall with a time of 4 minutes, 17.80 seconds. The 20-year-old Carson High School graduate turned a time of 4:18.76 in the prelims.

Costella of the Carson Tigersharks didn’t qualify for the final but her time of 4:20.33 did rank as the 27th fastest time overall. Costella, 17, was seeded 30th coming into the event so the result was encouraging, according to Tigersharks coach Jim Puleo.

“That’s her best 400 free time from a flat start (her previous best time was set in a relay), she swam a well-split race and she moved up from 30th to 27th,” Puleo said. “I think this was a positive step for her, especially after her 400 I.M. yesterday.”

Costella placed eighth in the 400 individual medley on Monday, although her time of 4:56.95 was slower than expected.

“It wasn’t as fast as we would have liked. I think the heat and humidity sapped her, but remember, she is still eighth in the country for that event. She was still in the big dance and had a chance to march out there with the championship swimmers.”

Dana Baum, a Carson High graduate who went on to Minnesota, clocked a 4:24.20 in the prelims.

Reno Aquatics placed 10th in the women’s 400 freestyle relay with the quartet of Marshi Smith (59.87), Ashley Clendenin (57.91), Baum (57.58) and Hardt (57.70). Clendenin is a senior at the University of Nevada and Smith is a Reno High student.

Tara Theilemann of the Carson Tigersharks is entered in the 200 freestyle today. Costella will be in the pool for a 200 butterfly time trial.

“They’re really looking forward to the next few days,” Puleo said. “I’m really happy about the up tempo attitudes of the girls. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”