Women's Swimming Enjoys Record-Breaking Day At NCAAs

March 15, 2001

LONG ISLAND, N.Y. -- After breaking a school record just to qualify for finals, four Arizona State swimmers established yet another school-best to place eighth in the 400-yard medley relay at the first day of the women's NCAA Swimming Championships at Nassau County Aquatic Center, Thursday.

First, in the preliminaries, ASU's team of freshman Miranda Shald, junior Riley Mants, junior Sarah Baham and sophomore Claire Hedenskog, eclipsed a one-year-old record of 3:41.66 with a time of 3:40.68. While almost a full second better than the previous school record, it was just enough to capture the last spot in the championship final. Less than a tenth of a second behind ASU, UCLA swam 3:40.77 to take ninth in the prelims, while North Carolina touched the wall in 3:40.96 to finish two spots out of the finals by less than three-tenths of a second.

In the final, the Sun Devils improved the ASU record to a mark of 3:40.16, but were unable to catch seventh-place USC at 3:39.70. Stanford won the event, breaking the school's three-year NCAA record in 3:32.43. Fellow Pac-10 schools California and Arizona rounded out the top three at 3:34.83 and 3:35.21, respectively.

The Sun Devils' eighth-place finish tallied 22 points, putting ASU in 17th-place of 32 teams after the first day.

On their way to record-setting performances in the relay, ASU's quartet of swimmers produced splits that will rearrange the Sun Devil record books.Shald came into the day ranked third on ASU's all-time 100y backstroke list with a best of 55.99 in the event. However, in the relay prelims, Shald turned in a split of 55.22, dipping below senior Lauren Morelli's school-record effort of 55.59.

Likewise, Hedenskog, who was third on ASU's 100y freestyle list at 50.61, became only the second swimmer in ASU history to swim sub-50 in the event with a 49.51 effort in the prelim and a 49.41 effort in the final. Both times surpassed Nancy Osborne's 1989 Sun Devil record of 49.90.

Mants, meanwhile, who has been second on the Sun Devils' 100y breaststroke list since swimming 1:02.44 in 1999, bettered that personal best with a split of 1:01.46 in the finals. (Beata Kaszuba set the ASU record of 59.71 in 1995).

All four swimmers are set to see later action in the final two days of the NCAA Championships. Shald is a qualifier in both the 100y back and the 100y fly. Baham, too, appears in the 100y fly, along with the 200y variety. Mants will compete at both the 100y and 200y breast distances. Hedenskog will take to the water in the 100y free.

For complete results, go to www.ncaa.org

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