Tigershark swims to championship

Lauren Costella of the Carson Tigersharks is a national champion.

Costella continued her banner week at the USA Summer National Swimming Championships at Clovis West High School (Calif.) by winning the 1,500-meter freestyle on Saturday. Costella finished in 16 minutes, 26.13 seconds to win the event.

"Before the race I really wanted to go out there and win it," Costella said. "This is kind of my big break into the swim world."

Costella, 16, led the race throughout and was able to maintain a 1:05 pace for each 100 leg throughout the event. Costella swam the first 800 in 8:44 in dropping her previous best (16:38.07) by nearly 12 seconds.

"I was just happy because I took out strong and didn't die," she said. "I was really happy with keeping consistent and holding 1:05s.

"It was just all-around, a solid really good swim. I feel great. It was really exciting. I was very, very happy."

Costella also set a personal best in placing fourth in the 800 free earlier in the week.

"She did a great job," said Tigershark coach Jim Puleo about Costella's 1,500. "She went out well. She went out really fast.

"She just looked very relaxed. She just looked really good. Of course, I was happy for her. She's made a quantum leap of improvement this past year."

Costella will compete today in the U.S. Open Water Championship 5K race.

In addition for the Tigersharks on Saturday, Justin Barber placed 42nd in the men's 1,500 at the national meet in 16:26.70.


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