Hartley 3rd In 3-Meter, Sandeno 4th In 400y IM At NCAAs

March 22, 2002

Freshman Blythe Hartley continued her fine diving by taking third in the 3-meter springboard while freshman Kaitlin Sandeno topped USC's swimmers with a fourth-place mark in the 400y IM to pace USC's efforts on the second day of the 2002 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships at the Jamail Texas Swim Center in Austin, Texas, on Friday (March 22).

Hartley, who won the 1-meter title on Thursday night, finished third with 567.80 points, behind only first-place Yulia Pakhalina of Houston (625.05) and second-place Sarah Reiling of Indiana (581.90). Trojan teammate Nicci Fusaro, like she did on Thursday, also finalled, finishing seventh (519.10). She was third last year. As a pair, they are USC's first tandem to make two finals each in the same meet since Natalya Chikina and Dorte Lindner did it in 1998.

'I think Blythe and Nicci both did great jobs tonight,' said head diving coach Hongping Li. 'As for Blythe, it's very tough to repeat such a great showing from last night, especially in an event that is not her strength. She did great in her hard dives, but slipped just a bit in her easy ones. But overall I'm very proud. Nicci is proving to be one of the top divers and most consistent divers in the country. To make it back to the finals from last year is no easy feat.'

The Trojans finished the second day of competition in sixth with 194.5 points. Auburn is in first (337), followed by Georgia (270), Stanford (215), Arizona (207), host Texas (202.5) and USC.

'We swam a lot better this morning and did a good job getting people in finals,' USC Coach Mark Schubert said. 'Tomorrow should be a strong day for us. Right now, diving is providing the leadership and much of the scoring and their performances have really been inspiring. 'One of the most amazing things I've seen here is what Kaitlin Sandeno did today. With her injuries and inability to train, what she did tonight was on sheer mental strength and willpower.' Sandeno suffered a sprain in her back between her rib and spinal column earlier this year that prohibited her from training until the last four weeks of the season. Despite that, she still finished fourth in the 400y IM in 4:11.30 in her first NCAA Championships final after qualifying fourth in prelims in 4:11.92. She also swam second in the 800y free relay. Junior Michala Kwasny was seventh in the consolation finals of the same event (15th overall) in 4:17.53.

USC's 800y medley freestyle of junior Jennifer Parmenter, Sandeno, senior Kristin MacGregor and freshman Joanna Fargus finished seventh in a timed final in 7:13.77.

Fargus, in her first NCAA finals appearance, took sixth in 54.57. She went 54.55 in prelims. Senior Katie Meyer, who missed qualifying for finals by less then two tenths of a second, finished seventh in the consolation finals (54.89).

Sophomore Jana Krohn made her second straight 100y finals appearance, taking eighth in 53.86. She went 53.52 in prelims.

Senior Kellie Brennan, an All-American in 3-meter the last two years, just missed out on a third time when she finished ninth in prelims with 500.45 points, 1.25 points away qualifying for finals.

USC's 200y medley relay unit of Fargus, MacGregor, Krohn and Parmenter set a pair of school records on Friday. The first one of 1:40.83 in prelims, however, was .04 short of qualifying for the championship finals, forcing USC to settle for the top seed in the consolation heat. The quartet broke the 1997 school mark set at NCAAs by Hope Gittings, Kristine Quance, Karen Campbell and Paige Francis. In the consolation finals, the foursome broke their hours-old mark by going 1:40.56.

Other USC finishers from prelims included Melissa Deary, 39th in the 200y free (1:49.54), Parmenter, 28th in the 200y free (1:48.45) and freshman Melissa Green, 45th in the 100y fly (56.01).

USC's 200y free relay also set a record on Thursday. The prelim unit of Parmenter, senior Kirsten Rich, Kwasny and MacGregor went 1:31.54, breaking the 1999 mark of 1:31.63.

The meet concludes Saturday (March 23). Prelims begin at 11 a.m. and finals at 7 p.m.

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