Pac-10 Women's Swimming Championships

Feb. 24, 2002

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PAC-10 CONFERENCE WOMEN'S SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS THIS WEEK

WHAT: Pacific-10 Conference Women's Swimming Championships

WHERE: Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool, Long Beach, California

WHO: Women's swimming teams from ARIZONA, ARIZONA STATE, CALIFORNIA, OREGON STATE, STANFORD, UCLA, USC, WASHINGTON and WASHINGTON STATE will compete for the 2002 Pac-10 Women's Swimming Championship.

WHEN: Thursday through Saturday, February 28, March 1-2, 2002, Preliminaries begin at 11:00 a.m. and finals begin at 6 p.m. each evening.

TICKETS: Tickets for the 2002 Pacific-10 Conference Women's Swimming Championships are available at the Championship or may be purchased in advance from the USC ticket office in Los Angeles, (213) 740-GOSC. An All Session adult pass is $25, an All Session student/senior citizen pass is $15. Single-day tickets are available at $10 for adults or $5 for a student/senior citizen.

MEDIA CONTACT: The USC sports information office will handle publicity of the 2002 Women's Swimming Championships. Paul Goldberg, assistant sports information director, can be reached at (213) 740-8480.

MEET RESULTS: At the conclusion of each event, results will be faxed to the Pac-10 SID offices. Also, the results will be posted on the Pac-10 web site (www.pac-10.org) on the swimming page, as well as on USC's website (www.usctrojans.com). Please contact Lori Haro at the Pacific-10 Conference office for more information

THE PARTICIPANTS

PAC-10: The 2002 Pac-10 Championships feature some of the top teams in the country ... The latest CSCAA-Top 25 poll includes five Pac-10 teams in the top-10 alone ... No. 1 STANFORD, No. 4 CALIFORNIA, No. 7 ARIZONA, No. 9 USC and No. 10 ARIZONA STATE ... Also appearing is No. 11 UCLA, while Washington was among seven other teams receiving votes ... Five 2001 individual Pac-10 champions are back to defend their seven crowns ... They are California's Natalie Coughlin (200 back), Stanford's Jessica Foschi (500 free/1650 free), Tara Kirk (100 breast/200 breast) and Shelly Ripple (200 IM) and USC's Michala Kwasny (400 IM) ... Four NCAA individual champions will take the pool at the Pac-10s ... Arizona's Sarah Tolar (200 free) won an NCAA title in 2001, as did Foschi (500 free), Coughlin (100 back/200 back/100 fly) and Kirk (100 breast) ... Team results at the NCAAs found four Pac-10 teams in the top-7 ... Stanford was runner-up to national champion Georgia, followed by No. 5 Arizona, No. 6 USC and No. 7 California.

ARIZONA: Arizona comes to Long Beach as the No. 7 team in the nation ... The Wildcats look to capture their second-ever Pac-10 title ... Head coach Frank Busch returns some of the nation's top swimmers with senior Sarah Tolar and junior Beth Botsford ... Tolar holds the Wildcats' top times this season in the 100 and 200 free and 200 IM. Last season at Pac-10s she placed second in the 200 and 500 free and fourth in the 100 free. At the NCAA Championships she won the 200 free with a time of 1:45.21 ... Botsford holds top Arizona times in the 100 and 200 free and 200 fly. In 2001 she placed second in the 200 back at both the Pac-10 and NCAA Championships ... Others that should score points for the Wildcats include senior Jenny Vanker, sophomore Jessica Wagner and newcomers Artemis Daphnis and Emily Mason.

ARIZONA STATE: Michael Chasson's Sun Devils come to the Pac-10s ranked No. 10 in the country. ASU will try to break out of the sixth-place finishes it has placed the past three years. Top returnees for the Sun Devils include seniors Sarah Baham and Riley Mants and sophomore Brooke Townsend. Last year Mants finished third in the 200 breast and fourth in the 100 breast. Baham placed fourth in the 100 fly, while Townsend finished fourth in the 500 free and sixth in the 1650 free ... Look for newcomer �gnes Kov�cs to swim well in her first Pac-10 Championships. She already has set two ASU records in the 200 breast and 400 IM and holds the nation's top time in the 200 breast at 2:07.98. She earned a gold medal in the 200 breast at the 2000 Olympics and bronze in the 200 breast in 1996.

CALIFORNIA: The No. 4 Golden Bears will look to improve on last season's fifth-place Pac-10 finish ... California is led by sophomore Natalie Coughlin. Coughlin ended the regular season with her Pac-10 dual meet record in tact. She has yet to lose in a dual race and is a perfect 29-0. This season she has had top national times in the 50, 100 and 200 free, 100 and 200 back and 100 and 200 fly. At the Pac-10 Championships, Coughlin will try to defend her 200 back title. She is a returning NCAA Champion in the 100 and 200 back and 100 fly ... Cal should also garner points from junior Staciana Stitts. Stitts has top-5 national times in the 100 breast (4th, 1:01.10) and 200 breast (4th, 2:12.45). Last year at the championships she finished third in the 100 breast and fourth in the 200 breast.

OREGON STATE: Oregon State heads to the Pac-10 Championships with a 7-5 record. The Beavers have put together three consecutive winning seasons ... This season on the OSU squad, 11 swimmers hold 14 of the school's individual event records ... Oregon State is led by junior Naya Higashijima and sophomore Birte Steven ... Higashijima has placed first in 31 of her 34 dual meet races this season. She holds top OSU times in the 100, 500 and 1650 free, 200 fly and 400 IM. She posted a national top-20 time in the 200 fly at 2:00.32 ... Last year Steven placed 16th in the 200 breast at the NCAA Championships. This year she holds the Beavers' top time in the 200 breast at 2:13.95. Nationally she has a top-15 time in the 100 and 200 breast.

STANFORD: The No. l Cardinal will look to regain its usual ownership of the Pac-10 Championship. Last year marked the second time in a row that Stanford did not win the Conference title. The Cardinal won the title from 1987-1999 ... Stanford was perfect in dual meets this season with an 8-0 overall record, 5-0 in Pac-10 competition ... Head coach Richard Quick brings to Long Beach a talented squad with several swimmers returning to defend their Pac-10 titles. The returning champions include seniors Jessica Foschi (500/1650 free) and Shelly Ripple (200 IM) and sophomore Tara Kirk (100/200 breast). Foschi's time in the 500 free and Kirk's times in her events are Pac-10 Championship records ... Foschi and Kirk are also defending NCAA Champions in the 500 free and 100 breast respectively. This season Foschi holds the No. 1 time in the nation in the 500 free (4:38.95), while Kirk holds the top time in the 100 breast (59.51). Ripple has the second-best national times in the 200 IM and 100 and 200 fly ... The three Cardinal swimmers did well in dual meets this season. Foschi enters the championships with 18 straight victories in the 500 free, while Ripple is undefeated this season in the 200 fly. Kirk remains undefeated in the 100 breast (15 career races).

UCLA: The No. 11 Bruins return as the defending Pac-10 Champions. UCLA is just the second Pac-10 team other than Stanford to win the title ... The Bruins return three swimmers that placed sixth or better in last season's championships. Sophomore Brooke Winkler came up with a third-place finish in the 400 IM, while fellow sophomore Leslie Hovsepian finished sixth in the 200 breast. Senior Katie Younglove placed sixth in the 200 fly ... This year UCLA will showcase such strong swimmers as seniors Elvira Fischer and Jen Noodle, sophomores Sara Platzer and Kristin Lewis and freshman Malin Svahnstrom ... Platzer holds national top-10 times in the 50 and 100 free while Fischer has had a top-10 time in the 200 breast this season.

USC: Head coach Mark Shubert leads a No. 9 USC squad ready to improve on last season's third-place finish at the Pac-10 Championships ... Junior Michala Kwasny returns to defend her Pac-10 title in the 400 IM. This season she has recorded top-5 national times in the 200 fly and 200/400 IM events ... Others expected to swim well for the Women of Troy include seniors Kristin MacGregor and Katie Meyer and junior Asa Sandlund ... At last year's championships MacGregor placed sixth in the 100 breast, while Meyer came in fourth in the 100 and 200 back. Sandlund had a runner-up finish in the 1650 free and was fifth in the 500 free ... Also look for freshman Kaitlin Sandeno to garner points for USC.

WASHINGTON: Fourth-year head coach Micky Wender's Huskies will strive to improve on their eight-place finish of one year ago ... With a win over Oregon State in its last dual meet of the season, Washington finished with a 15-2 overall record. The 15 victories is the most in UW program history ... The Huskies are led by junior co-captain Kim Harada. At last year's Pac-10 Championships, Harada placed fourth in the 50 free, and fifth in the 100 and 200 free. This season, Harada has posted two top-10 times in freestyle events. She has the eighth fastest time in the 50 free and 11th fastest time in the 100 free.

WASHINGTON STATE: The Cougars come to the 2002 Pac-10 Championships with an 8-3 record. Washington State finished the season with an undefeated dual meet record at home, stretching their winning streak to nine. The Cougars haven't lost at Gibb Pool since Feb. 5, 2000 ... WSU swimmers hold 45 times on the all-time top-10 lists for individual events ... In last year's championships, junior Melissa Hubley placed fifth in the 200 fly. This season she had a national top-20 time in the 100 fly ... Others that have had national top-20 times include sophomores Rachel Dong (100 fly) and Andree-Anne LeRoy (200 back).

LAST YEAR: UCLA won its first ever Pac-10 Championship, becoming just the second team other than Stanford to win the title.

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