Stanford Swimmers Set the Pace in First Day of Pac-10 Championship Action

Feb. 28, 2002

LONG BEACH, Calif. - Winning performances by a defending champion and a freshman helped the Stanford Cardinal claim the top position after the first day of competition in the Pacific-10 Women's Swimming and Diving Championships at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in Long Beach on Thursday.

Finals were held in five events, with the Cardinal earning 442 points to take the lead among the nine teams competing in the championship. California narrowly edged out USC for second place, with the two teams gaining 366 and 365.5 points respectively. Fourth place belonged to Arizona with 297 points, followed by defending Pac-10 Champion UCLA (259 points). Arizona State took the sixth position with 228 points, followed in order by Washington (132.5), Washington State (129) and Oregon State (97). Oregon does not sponsor a swimming team.

Stanford's Shelly Ripple successfully defended her Pac-10 title in the 200 individual medley, by setting a new meet record with a mark of 1:56.64. The previous meet record of 1:57.14 was held by California's Jocelyn Yeo. In the very next event, Ripple's teammate, freshman Lacey Boutwell, won the 50 freestyle with a mark of :22.73.

For host USC, junior Michala Kwasny and senior Kristin MacGregor finished second and third in the 200 IM with swims of 1:59.11 and 1:59.58, respectively. Junior Jennifer Parmenter was fourth in the 50 free (23.31) while senior Kirsten Rich was eighth (23.52). Freshman Joanna Fargus, chiefly a backstroker, took fifth in the 500 free (4:47.70) while sophomore Melissa Deary was eighth (4:51.87).

Meet records also fell in both the 200 freestyle relay and the 500 freestyle event. In the relay, California's Natalie Coughlin swam a :21.7 split, helping her team edge out Stanford for the win with a time of 1:30.47. The biggest upset of the night occurred in the 500 freestyle race. Arizona freshman Emily Mason set a new meet record of 4:38.79, edging out the two-time defending champion in the event, Stanford's Jessica Foschi. Despite coming in second, Foschi, who swam a 4:39.49, actually beat her record from last year's meet (4:39.74).

The final event of the evening was the 400 medley relay. Four of the eight teams in the final heat earned NCAA automatic qualifying times. Stanford came in first, with a mark of 3:36:54, followed in order by California (3:37.07), Arizona State (3:37.46) and Arizona (3:38.74).

In addition to the nine teams competing in the swimming events in Long Beach, six Pac-10 schools are also competing in the diving portion of the competition, which is being held at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center in Arizona. Stanford leads overall in diving as well, claiming a total of 134 points after the first day of competition. Freshman Blythe Hartley, who won the 1-meter, helped the Trojans claim second place with 85 points. Rounding out the final four positions are UCLA (61), Arizona State (35), Arizona (29) and California (18).

Swimming events will continue on Friday (Mar. 1) and Saturday (Mar. 2) in Long Beach. Preliminaries begin at 11 a.m. and finals start at 6 p.m.

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