Tara Kirk Wins 100 Breast And Swims On Winning 400 Medley Relay Team At 2002 NCAA's

March 22, 2002

Austin, Tex. - Tara Kirk set a new NCAA meet record to win the 100 breast (59.03) and swam the breaststroke leg on Stanford's winning 200 medley relay team that set a new American record (1:37.79) to move the Cardinal up one spot to third place after the second day of the 2002 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships held at the Jamail Texas Swimming Center. Kirk extended her collegiate unbeaten streak in the 100 breast to 17 straight as she won the NCAA title for the second year in a row.

'I feel like the 100 breast is kind of my event, and I would be disappointed if I didn't win it,' said Kirk. 'I was also happy with the win because it gave our team another 20 points, and that's what this meet is all about.'

'Tara swam an outstanding 100 breast,' said Stanford head coach Richard Quick. 'She is obviously the class of the field in the event.'

Stanford's American record in the 200 medley relay was the second of the meet for a Cardinal relay squad, which also set the American mark in the 400 medley relay on Thursday with the same team of Amy Wagner, Kirk, Shelly Ripple and Lacey Boutwell.

'We wanted to start the session off with a big swim, and we came up with it,' commented Kirk. 'Everybody on the relay team had amazing swims.'

California's Natalie Coughlin had the evening's biggest individual night, smashing a pair of American records in the 100 back (49.97) and 100 fly (50.01). In the 100 back, Coughlin broke her own previous American, U.S. Open and NCAA records of 50.57 set at the 2002 Pac-10 Championships. In the 100 fly, she also broke her own previous American, U.S. Open and NCAA records of 50.67 she set earlier Friday in the prelim session.

'The 100 back is my baby,' said Coughlin. 'I knew I could go under 50 (seconds), but I didn't know if it was going to be today or next year, but that was a goal of mine. I figured that with this great crowd and being a little more rested I could swim a little faster (than at the 2002 Pac-10 Championships). I just wanted to win the 100 fly, but I didn't really care what my time was.'

Auburn leads the team competition after the second day with 337 points, followed by Georgia (270), Stanford (215), Arizona (207) and Texas (202.5) to round out the top five.

'I like the character of our team, and I do think we're battling as hard as we can,' said Quick. 'Our goal for tomorrow is to qualify enough people for the finals that we can try to move up to at least second place.'

The Cardinal has finished no worse than third in each of the 21 years of the NCAA's.

Ripple recorded the fifth-fastest time in history with a career-best time of 51.50 in the 100 fly to finish second, the fifth time in her career and second time this year she has been the runner-up in an individual event at the NCAA's.

Ripple will swim the 200 fly looking for her first individual NCAA title in her final individual collegiate race. She will enter the race as the top seed with a qualifying time of 1:53.50.

'I having been looking forward to tomorrow's 200 fly since this meet started,' said Ripple. 'I consider this my specialty event. It's what I've trained for, and I know I'm ready to do it well tomorrow.'

'I look forward to Shelly Ripple having a truly awesome 200 fly,'' added Quick. 'She is in a great position to swim faster than she ever has and at least take a run at our school record.'

In the 100 back, Wagner won the consolation title to finish ninth with a time of 54.16, while Jessica Foschi placed 11th in the consolation finals of the 200 free (1:46.86).

Stanford's 800 free relay team of Boutwell, Ripple, Foschi and Sara Watchorn finished eighth with a season-best time of 7:14.96.

Auburn's Maggie Bowen led the session's other winners with a victory in the 400 IM, recording the third-best time in history with a career-best 4:04.69. Arizona's Sarah Tolar was victorious in the 200 free (1:44.66).

Arizona was also a winner in the 800 free relay (7:05.10) with a team of Emily Mason, Jenny Vanker, Jessica Hayes and Sarah Tolar.

Houston's Yulia Pakhalina won the 3-meter diving competition with a score of 625.05. Stanford's Ashlee Rosenthal scored for the Cardinal with a 14th-place finish (475.85) in the morning prelims.

Stanford had eight other competitors in Friday's morning prelim session.

Evins Cameron (32nd, 4:20.99) and Tami Ransom (42nd, 4:29.63) swam for the Cardinal in the 400 IM. Kirsten Gilbert finished 18th in the 100 breast prelims with a career-best time of 1:02.20. Sarah Jones (22nd, career-best 55.69) and Alexis Oakland (26thT, 55.88) competed in the 100 back. Kim Powers (20th, 46.25 prelims), Alexis Sowa (26th, 264.60 optional dd) and Erica Sorgi (32nd, 251.05 optional dd) followed Rosenthal in 3-meter diving.

The 2002 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships conclude Saturday with the prelims (11 am, CT) and finals (7 pm, CT).

TEAM SCORES - AFTER DAY 2: 1. Auburn 337, 2. Georgia 270, 3. Stanford 215, 4. Arizona 207, 5. Texas 202.5, 6. USC 194.5, 7. California 178, 8. Florida 154, 9. Southern Methodist 124, 10. Arizona State 101, 11. Indiana 92, 12. Virginia 86, 13. Pacific 72, 14. North Carolina 69, 15. Miami 61, 16. Wisconsin 57, 17. Alabama 40, 18. UCLA 38, 19. Houston 37, 20. Notre Dame 36, 21. Penn State 34, 22. Tennessee 25, 23. Louisiana State 22, 24. Rice 17, 25. Cincinnati 15, 26. Michigan 14.5, 27. Florida State 12, 28T. Purdue 11, 28T. Villanova 11, 30. South Carolina 9, 31. Western Kentucky 6.5, 32. Michigan State 6, 33T. Clemson 4, 33T. Rutgers 4, 35. Minnesota 2, 36T. Texas A&M 1, 36T. Oregon State 1.

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