The San Diego State womens swim team is favored to win the Mountain West Conference this year, and former Othello High School standout Natilee Ruiz will help the Aztecs mount that charge.
In a pentathlon against the University of San Diego on Sept. 21, Ruiz finished fourth among 46 swimmers with a total time of 5 minutes, 3.71 seconds. The times included were from the 100-yard freestyle (third place, 52.27), 100 butterfly (16th, 1:01.11), 100 backstroke (third, 58.56), 100 breaststroke (14th, 1:11.04) and 100 individual medley (fifth, 1:00.73).
Ruizs efforts helped San Diego State win the pentathlon 71-22.
Ruiz is one of five SDSU swimmers to have competed at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials this past summer in Omaha, Neb., joining Katelyn Weddle (Yuma, Ariz.), Leona Jennings (Seattle), Mikaela Macklin (Placerville, Calif.) and Meghan Zimmer (Santa Maria, Calif.).
The Aztecs open conference action Saturday against UNLV.
Ruiz is not the only womens swimmer to watch from the Mid-Columbia.
Prossers Mackenzie Gant is a sophomore at Seattle University, and Moses Lakes Courtney Schwiesow will start her freshman season at Cal State East Bay.
As a freshman at Biola University last season, Hanfords Christine Tixier set an NAIA record of 54.60 seconds in winning the 100 fly at the NAIA National Swimming and Diving Championships.