OLYMPIC SWIMMER HAS TIES TO BROOKINGS

September 22, 2000 11:00 pm

Brookings has a connection to the 2000 Olympics Games, which is currently underway in Sydney, Australia.

The youngest member of the 2000 U.S. Olympic synchronized swimming team, Elicia Marshall, 21, is the granddaughter of Geri Combis, who recently moved to the Brookings-Harbor area.

Combis said her granddaughter has virtually swam around the world.

She has competed with the U.S. National Synchronized Swimming Team throughout the United States and in Canada, Germany, Scotland, France, China, Australia, Taiwan, and Korea, Combis said.

Ive been lucky to be able to travel and watch her compete during the 10 years shes been in synchronized swimming, Combis said. The proud grandmother left last week for Sydney for the games.

Marshall is the daughter of Roger and Judy Marshall of San Jose, Calif. She has one sister, Marlena, 17, and one brother, Zachary, 10.

Sister Marlena competed for the 1997 U.S. Junior Team. Their mother was a synchronized swimmer in high school.

Elicia graduated from Del Mar High School in 1997 and currently studies general education at West Valley College in San Jose. She would like to teach high school math or science and plans to coach synchronized swimming after retirement.

At the 1998 World Championships, Elicia was a member of the bronze-medal winning American team and also partnered with Carrie Barton to place fourth in the duet.

Marshall first teamed with Barton about a week prior to the 1997 National Championships when Bartons previous partner unexpectedly quit.

The new tandem finished a surprising second, giving Marshall one of her now six national championship medals.

As part of the Santa Clara Aquamaids, Marshall has won the last four national titles in the team competition. Six of her Aquamaids teammates are on the 2000 Olympic Team.

Barton and Marshall followed their 1997 silver medal by winning bronze at the 1998 nationals. Marshall also competed at that years World Cup, placing sixth in the duet and helping the U.S. team finish fifth.

Marshall overcame a rib injury in 1998. She practices six to eight hours a day, six days a week.

In Sydney, Marshall will likely compete only in the team event. The synchronized swimming Duet competition will be held on Monday and Tuesday and the Team competition will be held Thursday and Friday. The competition is televised the day following the actual event.