Locals shine in the pool | NevadaAppeal.com

Locals shine in the pool

Carson City has had a long line of swimmers who have competed at the collegiate level and this year is no different with no less than six Carson High graduates swimming in college this year.

Lauren Costella, Justin Barber, Tara Theilemann, Kate Hardt and Megan Keller are all former CHS standouts who are swimming at colleges across the country.

Theilemann, a junior, is having a solid season with the No. 21 ranked Alabama women’s swim team while Barber, another junior, is also having another solid year with the No. 19 ranked Notre Dame men’s swim team.

Keller, who attended the University of Washington, has resumed her swimming career and is now a junior with the Delta State women’s swim team, a Division II school in Mississippi.

Costella and Hardt are continuing their outstanding careers. Hardt, a senior at Minnesota, is an NCAA Championship qualifier, while Costella, a junior at Stanford, earned All-American honors at last year’s NCAA Championships. Costella’s younger brother, Kiel, is a sophomore with the Villanova men’s swim team.

I had hoped to track down some of these swimmers while they were home for Christmas. And while the best laid plans didn’t exactly work out, I was able to chat with Lauren last week at the Carson Aquatic Center.

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Costella said she’s really enjoying the season so far under first-year coach Lea Maurer. “Things are going really well,” Costella said.

“I definitely love her as a coach,” said Costella about Maurer. “She makes swimming so much fun. I love swimming right now.”

Stanford has competed in four meets so far, winning them all. Stanford won the Speedo Cup in Long Beach, Calif., the Big West Shootout at UC Irvine and dual meets with San Jose State and Texas.

“We dominated,” said Costella about the meet between the Cardinal and Texas, two traditional powers. “It was awesome.”

Costella said she believes this year’s Stanford team should again finish high at the NCAA Championships.

“I think our goal right now is to be top three,” Costella said. “I really think the talent on our team – we can get in teh top three for sure.”

Costella said she’s swimming faster at this time of the year than she did last season. “I’m actually doing really well,” she said. “I’m definitely swimming a lot better and a lot stronger.”

Costella swims in the 1,650 and 500-yard freestyles, the 400 individual medley and the 200 butterfly. Costella is looking to again qualify for the maximum three individual events allowed for the NCAA Championships in the 1,650 and 500 freestyles and 400 I.M.

She took sixth in the 1,650 free last year to earn All-American honors. “I’d like to move up to at least top three,” said Costella about her goal this year in the event.

She would also like to place in the top 16 and score points for Stanford in the 400 I.M. and 500 free.

“It’s nice to come back home,” said Costella about returning to Carson. “I definitely don’t come home as much as you think.”

She also said she tries to keep in contact with her former CHS teammates as much as possible. “For the most part we try to stay in tough and see each other as much as possible,” Costella said.

Stanford and Notre Dame played each other in football this year and unfortunately for Costella, Barber was able to claim bragging rights as the Fighting Irish beat the Cardinal 38-31. But Costella reminded Barber that Notre Dame was heavily favored and that a Stanford win over the Irish would have been much more impressive. If Stanford had won, Costella said, “I would have so rubbed it in Justin’s face.”

Costella’s also proud to be a part of a tradition in which Carson swimmers have competed at major colleges across the country. “I just think of all the places that people have gone over the years,” Costella said.