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Feb. 21, 2003

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State synchronized swimming team (10-1) will travel to Norton, Mass., to compete in the Wheaton College Invitational at 4 p.m. Saturday. The Buckeyes are returning to the friendly confines of the Balfour Natatorium, site of the 2002 Collegiate National Championships where the squad claimed its 22nd title.

SEASON BESTS
All of the 2003 season bests have come at Ohio State’s home facility during the OSU College Association Meet Feb. 8. Senior Victoria Bowen recorded a 94.334 in the solo event. Senior Suzanna Hyatt and freshman Chelsea Luker joined forces to earn a mark of 94.167. The high trio score was earned by Bowen, Hyatt and sophomore Lindsay Newbill at the same event, recording a score of 94.000. The Buckeye team of Bowen, Heather Burdick, Hyatt, Carly Grimshaw, Luker, Lauren Marsh, Newbill and Emiko Takyu tallied a socre of 96.833.

LAST YEAR AT THE WHEATON INVITATIONAL
The Ohio State synchronized swimming team captured first place at the Capital District Collegiate Invitational last season hosted by Wheaton College in Norton, Mass. The Buckeyes finished with a team score of 119.0. Wheaton finished second (102.5), Rhode Island placed third (52.5) and Boston was fourth (37.0). Senior Carolina Moraes placed first in the solo competition with a score of 94.167. Carolina and sister Isabela Moraes captured first place in duet with a score of 94.334. Mary Hofer joined the Moraes twins to notch top honors in the trio competition with a score of 93.333. The Buckeyes also placed first in the team event with a score of 94.833.

RICHMOND
Freshman Leslie Edgerton captured first place honors in the solo event with a mark of 87.500. Teammates Stephanie Raftery and Megan Mikulecky placed first in the duet, recording a score of 83.667. Edgerton, Lauren Byrom and Katie Meyer won the trio with a score of 87.000.

Buckeyes Jessica Beck, Byrom, Stacey Coffman, Edgerton, Sharon Mejia, Meyer, Raftery and Isla Turner finished first in the team event with a mark of 92.334.

WILLIAM & MARY
The Ohio State synchronized swimming team defeated the College of William & Mary in a dual meet Sunday, Feb. 16 in Williamsburg, Va. The Buckeyes finished with 97 total points while William & Mary recorded 88.

Katie Meyer finished first in the technical figures routine with a score of 78.737 while Leslie Edgerton won the solo event with a mark of 89.833. Two Buckeye trio teams tied for first-place honors in the event. Edgerton and Meyer teamed up with Lauren Byrom while Stacey Coffman , Sharon Mejia and Isla Turner all earned scores of 88.167. In the team event, the Buckeyes defeated William & Mary with a mark of 92.500.

BUCKEYES NAMED TO U.S. TEAM II
Buckeyes Victoria Bowen, Suzanna Hyatt and Lindsay Newbill are three of 12 members named to the 2003 U.S. National Team II. The squad will compete at the 2003 United Airlines Open July 15-19 in Federal Way, Wash.

2003 SEASON OUTLOOK
The Ohio State synchronized swimming team kicks off the 2003 season after winning three-consecutive national championships from 2000-2002, under the guidance of head coach Linda Witter. While a bulk of the championship team from a year ago has graduated, namely Carolina Moraes, Isabela Moraes, Mary Hofer, Beth Kreimer and Kristin Price, the squad has a positive outlook and will focus on gaining more experience for its underclassmen.

The leadership of the 2003 Buckeye team will come from seniors Victoria Bowen, Suzanna Hyatt, Sharon Mejia, Katie Meyer and Kris Moyer.

“We have tremendous senior leadership this year,” Witter said. “Victoria and Suzanna are amazing. They show concern in this new team. We know we lost some amazing talent, but they always get the team to do the right thing. They are role models by example. That kind of leadership doesn’t get any better.”

Bowen and Hyatt finished fourth in the trio event at the 2002 Collegiate National Championships with former teammate Beth Kreimer. Bowen garnered her second All-America nod while Hyatt also earned her second honor as a Buckeye.

Bowen and freshman Chelsea Luker are set to compete in the solo event for the Buckeyes this year. Luker and Hyatt are the frontrunners for the duet position while two groups of three are competing for the top spot in the trio event. Luker, Lauren Marsh and Carly Grimshaw make up one of the Buckeye trios. Bowen, Hyatt and Lindsay Newbill will also compete in the trio event, occasionally rotating with Emiko Takyu. The 2003 Ohio State ‘A’ team will consist of Bowen, Luker, Hyatt, Marsh, Newbill, Takyu, Grimshaw, Heather Burdick and Chisako Ukai. Sophomores Laura Green, Valerie Jolibois, Mary Elliott and Isla Turner have quality experience in the figures event while Stacey Coffman and Mejia have previous experience in the trio event. Marjorie Ardito and Bethany Galla also will look to contribute to the Buckeye effort this season.

The Buckeye roster consists of 11 newcomers, including eight freshman faces. Sophomore Brianne Pineiro, originally from Staten Island, N.Y., spent her freshman year as a member of the Miami Hurricane swim team before transferring to Ohio State. Ukai, from Nagano City, Japan, and Takyu, a native of San Jose, Calif., also joined the Buckeye squad this season. The freshman class includes Jessica Beck, Lauren Byrom, Leslie Edgerton, Megan Mikulecky, Stephanie Raftery, Erin Schmidt, Luker and Grimshaw.

“This year will be a whole new experience for our freshmen and sophomore class, but they know the tradition of our program and they work hard every day in practice,” Witter said.

The Buckeyes begin the season by playing host to the OSU Tri-Meet, competing against Miami (Ohio) and Walsh. The OSU Tri-Meet is one of four home events for the Scarlet and Gray. The home slate includes a dual meet against Michigan (Jan. 25), the OSU College Association Meet (Feb. 8) and the North Regional Championships (March 1). The 2003 Collegiate National Championships are scheduled for March 24-27 in Tuscon, Ariz. The U.S. National Championships will be held April 24-27 in Long Island, N.Y.

Coach Witter and the Buckeyes have a positive outlook on the season despite being considered slight underdogs in the hunt for another Ohio State national championship in 2003.

“A team is only as good as your athletes are,” Witter said. “I enjoy working with them. They are very attentive and are all very eager to learn. They are quick to make corrections and they do anything I ask of them. It doesn’t come easy, but they are getting better each day.”

2002 NATIONAL CHAMPIONS
Brazilian Olympians Carolina and Isabela Moraes ended their senior season in style by helping the Ohio State Buckeyes to the school’s 22nd overall title at the U.S. Collegiate Synchronized Swimming Championships in Norton, Mass.

The Buckeye twins utilized lengthy underwater hybrids to win duet gold with a final score of 96.333. Stanford’s Erin Dobratz and Lindsey Wigginton – both members of the U.S. National Team program – finished second at 95.000.

The Moraes sisters teamed up with Mary Hofer of Spring Valley, Calif. to win the trio’s fourth Collegiate gold with a score of 97.333. Stanford’s top trio of Dobratz, Wigginton and Norris finishd a point back at 96.333.

Carolina Moraes and Stanford’s Katie Norris created a first occurrence of their own in the sport of synchronized swimming. Moraes and Norris earned a perfect tie of 95.833 in the solo final to share the event’s gold medal.

There was no tie in the team event, however, with Ohio State capturing gold with a score of 98.167. Swimming for Ohio State Lester, Isabela Moraes, Beth Kreimer, Lauren Marsh, and Kristin Price.

The overall title is Ohio State’s third consecutive, and 22nd overall title in the 26th year of the championships.

UP NEXT
The Buckeyes return home March 1 for the final home meet of the 2003 season when Ohio State plays host to the North Regional Championships.