March 13, 2012
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Junior Rachel O’Brien will head to Auburn, Ala. to compete at the 2012 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, where she will be the lone Beaver in the competition.
The event is set to take place March 15-17 at the James E. Martin Aquatic Center, which has played host to the Auburn Tigers since 1993. The pool has been used for four SEC Championships and two other NCAA Championships.
This is the second year in a row that O’Brien has qualified for the NCAA Championships. Last year, she and senior Jenni Dole were the only Beavers able to qualify.
“It is very exciting to qualify for the NCAAs again,” O’Brien said. “It is such a fast meet that I knew it wouldn’t be easy to make it, but the Pac-12 Championships went well and I was able to qualify. I am very excited. I just wish more of the team had been able to come because that would have made it a very fun meet.”
At the 2011 NCAA Swimming Championships, O’Brien finished in 37th place in the preliminaries of the 100-yard butterfly and in 37th place in the preliminaries of the 200-yard butterfly. She is hoping to improve her performance in both events at this year’s championships.
“My goal in the 100-yard butterfly is to hopefully get a personal best time and beat Anna Crandall’s record as the no. 2 time on the OSU all-time list,” O’Brien said. “In the 200-yard butterfly I just really want to make the finals and get All-American honors.”
Last year was the first year that O’Brien had competed at the NCAA Championships. With a new feeling of confidence, she feels more prepared the second time around.
“I definitely feel more prepared than last year,” O’Brien said. “I am not as nervous as last year because I know what to expect when I get to the meet. I have been to a lot of high pressure meets, but the NCAAs are by far the most nerve-racking.”
At the Pac-12 Championships, O’Brien was able to finish in seventh place overall in the 200-yard butterfly and finish in 12th place overall in the 100-yard butterfly. For the past two weeks since the completion of the Pac-12 Championships, O’Brien has been preparing mentally and physically for the NCAAs.
“To prepare myself for the NCAAs I have tried to stay focused the past two weeks and really try to perfect some of my weaknesses in the pool,” O’Brien said. “Physically, I’ve been trying to get a lot of rest and head coach Larry Liebowitz and I have been doing a lot filming in the water to work on some of my stroke corrections.”
O’Brien is set to compete in the 100 and 200-yard butterfly at the NCAA Championships. The 100-yard butterfly preliminaries and finals are scheduled for March 16 and the 200-yard butterfly preliminaries and finals are set for March 17. The preliminaries are set to start at 9:00 a.m. PST and the finals will begin at 5:00 p.m. PST each day.
Fans can follow along with all the action at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships by going to www.ncaa.com and finding live stats under the women’s swimming section. Fans can also watch live streamed video provided by Auburn at the following links:
Friday Preliminaries: http://ulive.cbssports.com/index-ncaa.html?media=303038
Saturday Preliminaries: http://ulive.cbssports.com/index-ncaa.html?media=303039
ESPN will be streaming the Friday and Saturday night finals at www.watchespn.com.