Birte Steven Zips to Breaststroke Wins at Speedo Northwest Sectionals; 42 Year-Old Dennis Baker Takes the 200 Fly

MOUNT HOOD, Oregon, July 23. SWIMMERS and spectators at the Speedo Northwestern Sectionals held July 17-20th at Mt Hood, Oregon, were treated to a handful of world-class performances by German breaststroker Birte Steven.

Steven, who swims for Germany by way of Oregon State, showed her intentions to challenge the domestic breaststroke thrones of Sara Poewe and Anne Poleska by sweeping both breaststrokes here in runaway wins. Steven sped to a 2:29.25 in the 200 breaststroke, winning by nearly eight full seconds, in addition to taking the 100 breast in 1:10.21. Both times show great promise in her desire to become an Olympian for Germany next year.

In addition to Steven's outstanding performances, Olympic Trials standards were achieved by Rebecca Sturdy of host club Mt. Hood, in winning the 100 backstroke (1:04.14), and by Tacoma/Stanford's Dana Kirk, in the 100 (1:01.38) and 200 (2:13.81) butterfly events.

Kim Harada swam to a hat trick of titles in sweeping the 50 (26.40), 100 (57.45), and 200 (2:03.90) freestyles, all of which were Nationals qualifying standards. In the 50, she missed qualifying for Olympic Trials by an agonizing hundredth of a second.

In men's events, there were no Trials qualifiers, but Hawaii's Hongzhe Sun was the most versatile and prolific winner, taking four titles. Sun won the 100 fly (56.07), 200 IM (2:08.16), as well as the 100 (58.77) and 200 (2:06.66) backstrokes.

Sixteen year-old Ryan Verlatti of Tacoma won the 100 (52.36) and 200 (1:54.46) freestyles, while Brian Davis of Northwestern University and Issaquah notched a trifecta, taking the 400 (4:02.72), 800 (8:20.31), and 1500 (16:15.00).

In the oldie-but-goodie file, Oregon's 42 year-old Dennis Baker, more than twice the age of any other swimmer in his final, took a win in the 200 butterfly with a time of 2:06.20.

Full results can be found at the host team's webpage: http://www.mhst.org/meetre/index.htm

–Josh Jeffrey

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