Mason Freshman Wins Two Gold Medals

Posted: April 4, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By David Driver

Kate Ziegler, a freshman at George Mason, did her part for the United States swimming team that competed in the recent world championships.

Ziegler was the top women’s finisher in the 800-meter and 1,500-meter events at the worlds, which ended April 1 in Melbourne, Australia.

Kate Ziegler

The Great Falls, Va., resident was part of an American team that dominated the championships.

The U.S. team won 20 gold medals, and 36 medals overall. Australia was second with 21 medals, including nine gold.

“I don’t know how it would have been possible for us to do much better,” said Ziegler last weekend, according to the Associated Press. “All the guys on the team are breaking world records and American records.”

“It’s certainly one of the best team performances we’ve ever had,” U.S. head coach Mark Schubert told reporters in Australia.

Ziegler was also breaking records Down Under. She won the 1,500 freestyle with a time of 15:53.05 on March 27, as she beat second-place Flavia Rigamonti (15:55.38) of Switzerland and third-place Ai Shibata (15:58.55) of Japan. Ziegler’s time was the second-best in history behind American Janet Evans, whose 19-year-old record in the event is the oldest in the sport.

Ziegler defeated Loure Manaudou of France in a stirring 800-meter freestyle race, with a championship record time of 8:18.52. Manaudou took the silver in 8:18.80.

Ziegler is a graduate of Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, Va. She enrolled at Mason last semester. Since she turned professional a year ago, she is not able to compete for the Patriots. Ziegler is a volunteer assistant coach with the Mason team.

She practices at Mason and with her club team, FISH, in McLean, Va., under the guidance of coach Ray Benecki.

Ziegler set American records in the 1,650 freestyle and 1,000-freestyle in December at the Tom Dolan Invitational at Mason. She will now set her sights on the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.

Write to at