The Washington State Cougars have traveled to Federal Way for their last Pac-12 meet of the season, competing in the Pac-12 Championship meet this weekend, and fifth-year seniors, Chloe Larson, Taylor McCoy, and Mackenzie Duarte are taking the pool at the King County Aquatic Center for the last time.
Larson won the 50-freestyle last year at Pacs. This marked a significant milestone for the Cougs, as Larson was the first Coug to win an individual Pac-12 championship. She had dominated in the 50-freestyle races this whole season and was looking to go for a second title in the event, but her prelim time put her outside the top 8 for the final on Thursday. She finished 13th overall.
The women of the swim team earned a GPA of 3.47 in the fall of 2021, which was one of the highest GPAs in program history. McCoy and Larson were named CSCAA Scholar All-Americans.
There were a lot of firsts this year for the lady Cougs. The Cougs beat Arizona for the first time in program history, and this team also consists of three swimmers who qualified for the Olympic trials: Duarte, Larson, and McCoy. Unfortunately, none of the fifth-year seniors made the cut for the team but this was another history-making moment for the Cougs.
Last season, Larson, the Pac-12 50-freestyle champion competed in the NCAA Championships. She also qualified for the 100-freestyle with a time of 48.88 seconds, she was tied for 23 in the country. Larson also recorded the fastest time in program history for the event. Going into the 50-freestyle, Larson swam a time of 22.37, which was a top 25 time. Unfortunately, Larson missed the final cut of top 16. Larson finished the season with two of the top ten times in the 100-free and three of the top ten times in the 50-free in program history.
Larson was also the second Coug in three seasons to earn an NCAA qualifying time. Durate was the first Coug in nine years to punch her ticket to the NCAA Championship meet. Duarte earned the first punched ticket in 2019.
This season the Cougs won four out of their seven meets. The women opened up with a win against Idaho with a score of 166-128. The Cougs won 11 of the 16 events. McCoy won three of the individual events. A freshman from Italy, Angela Di Palo won her first two collegiate meets during the races against Idaho as well.
Their next meet would be at the Chick-Fil-A Invite. The relays proved to be a force to be reckoned with the 800-free team placed fifth while the 200-free relay team placed sixth. On the last day of the invite, the 400-free relay placed seventh.
On Oct. 15, program history was made when the women swam against the Wildcats of Arizona. This was a program win with a score of 131.5-129.5. The Cougs were on a five-meet losing streak against the Wildcats, but that didn’t last for long. McCoy lead the Cougs in scoring with a career-high of 21 points. Five different Cougs won events. The meet was close, and it came down to the 400-medley relay. The Cougs placed second in the event to win the meet by 2.
Moving on to their meet against the Sun Devils of Arizona State who were ranked 22 in the country. McCoy once again led the Cougs with 17 points in one meet. The 200-free relay was the big win of the day against the Sun Devils. The Cougs did fall, 157-105.
This season alone, the Cougs posted 25 season-best times. Larson won the 50 free once again and this gave her the third straight win in the 50-free of the season. The women did lose to No. 17 USC, but this meet did mark several top performances in program history.
Moving to their next California school meet, the Cougs faced UCLA. The Cougs did lose but again, had another great day of swimming. Larson became hotter and won the 50 free for the fourth time in a row. Di Palo continued her collegiate career winning the 200 free and a season-high time.
Next, the Cougs moved to Grand Canyon University. The Cougs won nine of the 11 races to clinch a 126-74 win. McCoy and Di Palo each won 18 points each. Larson again won the 50-free, her fifth straight 50-free win.
Going into their last invite of the season, the Cougs traveled to Houston, TX to compete in the Phill Hansel Invite where the Cougs set five school records. The women added 12 new program top 10 times. McCoy who had already broke the school record in the 200 individual medley, broke the school record in the 200 backstroke. The 400 free relay team also set a new program record. Larson added an NCAA “B” time in the 100 free as well as a win. The Cougs finished fourth out of seven teams.
In their last meet against the University of Nevada, the Cougs won 142-119. This was the first time the Cougs swam in over two weeks because of COVID protocols. The Cougs won eight races against a 5-1 Wolfpack. Larson swam in her last collegiate dual meet where she won the 50 free yet again. Larson won seven straight 50 free races this season and also won two 100-free races. McCoy also won the 200 back and 400 individual medley.
Coming into Pac-12’s the Cougs are coming off the highest points earned by a Cougar team ever in the meet last year. Last year the Cougs totaled 533 points and nine top-10 times and two school records.