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March 9, 2006

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The 18th-ranked Virginia women’s swimming and diving team has qualified four swimmers to compete in the 2006 NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships, which are being hosted by the University of Georgia. Fourth-years Rachael Burke (Bethesda, Md./Good Counsel), Brielle White (Philadelphia, Pa./Springside School) and Katie Gordon (Winter Park, Fla./Trinity Prep), and second-year Anna Steenrod (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Latin) will represent UVa at the NCAA Championships. The meet will be held at Gabrielsen Natatorium at the Ramsey Center in Athens, Ga., Thursday through Saturday, Mar. 16-18.

The Cavaliers look to improve upon last year’s 26th-place performance at the national meet. Virginia’s 26th-place finish in 2005 snapped a streak of seven consecutive top-20 finishes at the NCAA Championship.

Burke is competing in her fourth NCAA Championship and will swim the 500 and 1650 freestyles. She is seeded sixth in the 1650 free with a time of 16:13.65, which she established while winning the mile at the 2006 ACC Championship. Burke was the runner-up in the mile at NCAAs in 2004 with a personal-best time of 15:55.27 (1500-meters) to garner first-team All-America honors. Last year, Burke earned honorable mention All-America accolades with a 16th-place showing in the 1650 freestyle. She also competed in the 500 freestyle at NCAAs last year. She is a five-time All-American, including three first team honors. In 2003, Burke finished seventh in the 500 and 1650 freestyles for the first two first-team All-America certificates of her career.

Gordon will compete in the 500 free, 400 individual medley and the 200 backstroke. She is seeded ninth in the 400 I.M. with a career-best time of 4:14.85, which she set while finishing second at the ACC Championships. In addition to runner-up honors in the 400 I.M., Gordon was an ACC finalist in the 200 backstroke (5th) and 500 freestyle (7th). Gordon competed in the 2003 NCAA Championships as a first-year and earned honorable mention All-America honors in the 500 freestyle.

Steenrod, who is swimming in her first NCAA meet, will compete in the 200 I.M., 400 I.M. and the 100 breaststroke. Steenrod earned All-ACC honors with a third-place finish in the 200 I.M. (2:01.61) at the ACC Championships. She was also an ACC finalist in the 400 I.M. (4th – 4:19.60) and 100 breast (7th – 1:04.17).

White, who is swimming in her fourth NCAA championship, is among the top seeds in the 100 and 200 backstroke events. The five-time All-American is seeded third in the 100 back with a time of 53.35 and fifth in the 200 back (1:55.83). White is a two-time first-team All-American in the 100 back with a fourth-place finish last year and a third-place showing in 2004. She was an honorable mention All-American in the 100 back in 2003 and has earned the same honor in the 200 back in 2004 and 2005. White is a seven-time ACC champion in the backstroke events, including four consecutive titles in the 100 back. She holds the ACC records in the 100 back (53.12) and 200 back (1:56.54).

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