Larson’s 22.86 50 & McCoy’s 3 Event Wins Help Lead Washington State Over Idaho

Idaho vs Washington State



  1. Washington State – 121
  2. Idaho – 85


  1. Washington State – 57
  2. Idaho – 19

Washington State traveled to Idaho for a two-day dual meet this weekend, coming away with victories on both days. This meet was the only meet on Washington State’s schedule this fall, although the Cougs could still potentially add more.

Senior Taylor McCoy came up huge for the Cougs, placing 1st in 3 events, including the 200 IM, 400 IM, and 200 back. McCoy’s biggest swam arguably came in the 100 back, however, where she swam exhibition (not for points). McCoy unleashed a personal best in the race, clocking a 55.44. The swim shaved off .02 seconds from McCoy’s previous best, and landed her #10 on the all-time Washington State rankings. McCoy also swam a lifetime best in the 200 free, which she time trialed on day 2. In the 200 free, McCoy finished in 1:52.30, which was a personal best by 2 seconds.

In the 200 IM, Taylor McCoy led the field handily, touching in 2:03.75 as the only swimmer to crack 2:06. She swam a consistent race across all 4 strokes, splitting 27.25, 30.80, 35.86, and 29.84 respectively by 50. She went on to win the 400 IM in 4:23.17, coming in 9 seconds ahead of the runner-up, freshman teammate Josie Liebzeit (4:32.08). McCoy also won the 200 back by 6 seconds, touching the wall in 1:58.12.

Cougar Chloe Larson posted some of the fastest swims of the meet, topped by her 22.86 in the 50 free on day 1. Larson was the only swimmer in the field to break the 23-second mark, and was just off her own best time of 22.64, which she swam at the Women’s Pac-12 Champs in February. Larson also won the 100 free with a 50.46, which was also not too far off her best time of 49.63.

Idaho’s Katie Hale bested Larson considerably in the 50 fly, swimming a 24.21 (Larson 25.33). Hale was 2nd in the 100 free, coming in right behind Larson with a 50.53. She was also 2nd in the 50 free at 23.19. Hale also swept the sprint backstroke events, taking the 50 back with a 26.00, while Washington State freshman Makayla Poloni was 2nd in 26.56. Hale went on to win the 100 back with a 55.40.

Washington State has been building a breaststroke squad since head coach Matt Leach arrived in Pullman, and the Cougs swept the breast events this weekend. Mackenzie Duarte, who was the Cougars’ first NCAA qualifier in a decade in 2019, took the 200 breast with a 2:20.11. While Daurte was well off her personal best of 2:09.47, the time wasn’t particularly out of step with dual meet swims we’ve seen from Duarte in the past few seasons. She also led a 1-2-3-4 punch for Washington State, with freshmen Alexandra Vartiainen (2:22.65), Emily Ward (2:22.83), and Kaya Takashige (2:27.95) coming in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th.

Vartiainen and Ward pulled off their own 1-2 punch in the 50 breast, with Vartiainen taking home her first collegiate victory in 29.95. Officially, Ward was next in at 30.81, although Duarte (30.37), freshman Hailey Grotte (30.49), and Takashige (30.51) all touched before Ward, but swam exhibition. It was Grotte who notched the win in the 100 breast, posting a huge lifetime best on along the way. Grotte clocked a 1:04.67, marking her first time under 1:06 in the event. Duarte finished in 2nd with a 1:05.23, Vartiainen was 3rd in 1:06.22, and Takashige took 4th with a 1:06.37.

Another Washington State freshman, Josie Liebzeit, picked up a win in the 500 free, clocking a 5:03.89. The swim comes in just off her lifetime best of 5:02.59. Freshman teammate Makayla Poloni took 2nd with a 5:09.70. Sophomore Mia Zahab took the 200 fly with a 2:05.09. Teammate Michee Van Rooyen clocked a victory in the 200 free with a 1:52.64.

Idaho picked up their other event win in the 100 fly, where Rylie Jones swam a 56.22.

Notably, Washington State did not have its full roster at the meet. Keiana Fountaine, Lauren Burckel, Kate Laderoute, and Emily Barrier were some of the Cougars’ top swimmers last season, and did not compete at the meet, along with a handful of other swimmers.



MOSCOW, Idaho (Nov. 20, 2020) – Washington State Women’s Swimming opened the 2020-21 season with a 121-85 victory against the University of Idaho at the Idaho Swim Center Friday.

The Cougars recorded seven wins in the 13 events lead by senior Taylor McCoy’s victories in the 200 IM and 400 IM.

In the morning session, the Cougars claimed three of the four events as freshman Josie Liebzeit won her first career race in the 500 free, McCoy followed with a win in the 200 IM and senior Chloe Larson capped the morning with an impressive win in the 50 free. Larson closed in on the school record but came up four-tenths of a second behind with a 22.86, good for the fifth-fastest time in WSU history and an impressive feat in the season’s opening meet.

“Today marked the beginning of our journey. It had been too long since we last raced but the Cougs did a great job racing, did a great job cheering, created our own atmosphere and understood this is the start of our process,” head coach Matt Leach said. “We had some outstanding swims this morning by Josie winning the 500 nearly with a lifetime best time while another freshman Makayla (Poloni) finished second. Taylor (McCoy) had a solid start to the season with a win in the 200 IM that saw the Cougs go 1-2-3-4-5, Chloe (Larson) was two-tenths off her life time best winning the 50 and Hailey Grotte finished third with a lifetime best.”

In the afternoon session, a pair of freshman Alexandra Vartiainen and Emily Ward finished one-two in the 50 breast before McCoy added her second win of the day, this time in the 400 IM. WSU closed the meet with wins by sophomore Michee Van Rooyen in the 200 free and freshman Hailey Grotte in the 100 breast while McCoy ended the night finishing second in the 100 backstroke with a career-best 55.45, good for 10th-best in WSU history.

“For the second session this afternoon we saw some great swims out of everyone. Our energy continued to improve and we took steps forward to continue developing our culture,” Leach added. “Our breaststroke group stepped up and had solid swims. Taylor (McCoy) led our IMers going 1 through 4 in the 400 IM and Michee (Van Rooyen) swam out to an early lead in the 200 free for a solid win. We are looking forward to competing again tomorrow! GO COUGS!”


MOSCOW, Idaho (Nov. 21, 2020) – Washington State Women’s Swimming continued to impress on its opening weekend, cruising to a 57-19 victory over the University of Idaho for the second consecutive day at the Idaho Swim Center Saturday.

The Cougars recorded wins in all four events as senior Taylor McCoy won the 200 back, senior Chloe Larson won the 100 free, senior Mackenzie Duarte won the 200 breast and sophomore Mia Zahab ended the meet with a win in the 200 fly.

“We swam well today and I liked how we competed that past two days, our first competition in 250+ days. I’m proud of these young women for their hard work, their commitment to the process and to pushing through adversity,” third-year head coach Matt Leach said. “We were lucky enough to put our hand on the wall first today in all but one of the events which was great to see! We will continue to work on developing our culture and energy in practice as we prepare for the next step. Go Cougs!”

The Cougars do not have another meet scheduled for the remainder of the fall at this time.


MOSCOW, Idaho – Idaho swim opened competition against Washington State at the UI Swim Center on Friday. Through 13 events the Vandals trail the Cougars, 121-85.

“It’s a tough back-to-back weekend, but I go back to this idea that we’re just so excited to be racing,” said head coach Mark Sowa. “Across the board, I was actually really, really happy with how we raced.”

Katie Hale opened up the meet with a dominant victory in the 50-yard butterfly. She won by more than a full second, finishing in 24.21 seconds. Hale would go on to also win the 50-yard backstroke, in 26.00 seconds, and the 100-yard backstroke in 55.40 seconds. Hale earned a second-place finish on the day as well, with a time of 23.19 seconds in the 50-yard free.

Rylie Jones got a win for the Vandals, in the 100-yard fly. She won in 56.22 seconds. Jones placed third in the 50-yard fly in 25.69 seconds.

“We had a little more speed, our 50s were really good, specifically our 50-flies were great,” Sowa said. “Our backstroke right now is probably our deepest event, and we showed that today too. I thought that was really good.”

Alexa Teneyck and Kaling Phung went 2-3 in the 200-yard free. Teneyck placed second at 1:55.15, and Phung edged out WSU’s Emily Ward by 0.02 seconds to finish third in 1:55.44.

Teneyck swam the top time for the Vandals in the 500-yard free, taking third in 5:10.40. Teammate Haylee Buyers also scored in the event with a fourth-place finish at 5:12.84.

“Our 500s were really solid. That was the first time Haylee Buyers had ever raced it for us, so that was a really fun swim to watch,” said Sowa.

Haily Oldham led the way with for the Vandals in the 50-yard breaststroke. She finished third overall in 31.50 seconds.

“The fun part is there’s a ton we can improve on too,” said Sowa. “Their attitudes right now are really, really good in terms of looking at things objectively and not overreacting to swims that could be a little better. But this is a really good PAC-12 team. To be able to pick up some wins against them, and not just wins in events but individual races within them for second and third, we’re not backing down against anybody right now and I like that for this young team.”

The third and final session begins on Saturday at 11 a.m. and will be streamed on Facebook Live.

“Fast swimming, get your hand on the wall. Just more of what we’re doing. Good focus, knowing that three sessions in two days is tough. If we do that I think we’ll see some good things,” Sowa added.



MOSCOW, Idaho – Idaho swim closed out competition with Washington State on Saturday morning. The Cougars ultimately took the meet, 178-104, but the Vandals saw plenty of positives over the weekend.

“We felt great about it. We went from not racing for eight months to having seven sessions in two weeks. That’s a ton,” said head coach Mark Sowa. “What has been awesome is the attitude has continued to be great. I thought our focus was surprisingly really good this morning. Especially now that this campus is emptying out for fall break, these kids are here racing and representing this university. I’m incredibly proud of them.”

Kaling Phung battled for a second-place finish in the 200-yard backstroke. She edged out a pair of WSU swimmers late, finishing in 2:04.57. Haylee Buyers also scored for the Vandals in the event, finishing fifth in 2:07.26.

Katie Hale also earned a second-place finish on Saturday, in the 100-free. It was a tight race throughout, but WSU’s Chloe Larson ultimately took the sprint by 0.07 seconds. Hale finished in 50.53 seconds for second, with teammate Rylie Jones close behind in third at 51.73 seconds.

“I love the 100-freestyles, both Rylie’s and Katie’s were really impressive,” Sowa said. “That’s about a half second faster for Rylie than it was a week ago, and that’s Katie’s lifetime best. She’s having a nice season so far.”

Bindi Pedersen grabbed a third-place finish in the 200-yard fly. She finished in 2:09.00. Buyers also scored in the event, taking fifth in 2:10.59.

Kailee Puetz and Jennifer Conger both scored for Idaho in the 200-yard breaststroke. Puetz finished in 2:33.12, while Conger was right behind in 2:33.36.

“We’re psyched to be racing, we’re psyched to be healthy,” said Sowa. “We’re very thankful to have this opportunity to race good competition as well.”

Next up for the Vandals is a trip to Flagstaff to take on Northern Arizona, beginning on December 3.


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