Hartley, Fusaro, Sandeno, Krohn All Final On Day Two Of NCAAs

March 21, 2003

Auburn, AL - Blythe Hartley was second in the 3-meter springboard while Nicci Fusaro was sixth, complementing Kaitlin Sandeno's third in the 400y IM, Jana Krohn's fifth in the 100y fly and USC's school-record setting 800y free relay that took third during the second day of finals at the 2003 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships at Auburn (Ala.) on Friday (March 21).

USC is in fourth after two days with 198 points. Auburn leads with 389, followed by Georgia (262), Stanford (202.5), USC, Texas (192) and Florida (192). The Trojans are 3.5 points ahead of last year's pace.

Hartley, the 2002 NCAA Diver of the Year who was third in the 1-meter on Thursday, took second in the 3-meter with 585.15 points. She trailed only winner Yulia Pakhalina of Houston, the defending champion in the event. Hartley has now finished in the top 4 of all five NCAA diving events in which she's competed.

Fusaro came back from an injury suffered last week at the Zone E Championships when she hit her head on a platform dive. Unrattled, she came back less than a week later to earn her fifth career All-American honor by taking sixth in the 3-meter with 516.60 points. She earned her third consecutive All-American honor in the event.

'Blythe was very good and I felt she did better here than last year in the event,' USC diving coach Hongping Li said. 'It's amazing to see Nicci compete at such a high level after what happened last week. To be able to reach the finals and dive so well is amazing and very courageous.'

USC's 800y free relay was a show of grit. Sandeno, sophomore Margie Pedder, Krohn and Kwasny swam a 7:09.80 for third, breaking the Trojan record of 7:11.34 set at the 1996 NCAAs. Only one mark is older in the USC record books (Sue Habernigg's 1984 200y free time of 1:45.73). Sandeno and Kwasny each had swum the 400y IM earlier while Krohn had raced in the 100y fly. Kwasny and Krohn had also swum in the 200y medley relay.

Sandeno opened strong in 1:46.87 and Pedder, the freshest of the bunch who will swim twice on Saturday, solidified the team's first half with a split of 1:47.46. Krohn moved the quartet into third with a fast swim of 1:48.41 while Kwasny extended the cushion and anchored the finish with the fourth-fastest anchor split of the race in 1:47.06.

'We had our ups and downs today, but raced a lot better tonight,' USC coach Mark Schubert said. 'Give Michala Kwasny a lot of credit. After a disappointing prelim (in the 400y IM), she came back with a great triple, swimming two relays and the medley. She showed great leadership.

'Kaitlin has swum two best times. I'm very excited to see her get back on track. Tomorrow's our best day, but we need to do a good job in the morning first. We're staying in striking distance of our goal of a top 3 finish.'

Earlier, Sandeno, fourth in the 400y IM last year, took third in a blistering 4:07.70, just more than a second off of the USC record of 4:06.54 held by Kristine Quance. Sandeno trailed only Auburn's Maggie Bowen (4:06.15), a three-time winner in the event, and Arizona's Emily Mason (4:07.07).

Krohn, swimming in her third career NCAA 100y final, finished fifth for the second time and broke the USC record in the event, touching in 52.43, a half second from second place. She broke Karen Campbell's USC record of 52.77 set at the 1999 NCAA Championships.

Kwasny missed the finals cut of the 400y IM, but showed why she was a two-time All-American in the event by breezing to the win in the consolation final in 4:10.55, a time that would have qualified fourth in prelims and finished fifth in finals. She did so just minutes after anchoring USC's 200y medley relay.

Sophomore Marisa Kozak and freshman Kammy Miller both made their NCAA individual point-scoring debuts. Kozak lowered her season best by more than a second in prelims, swimming a 54.72 to earn a place in the consolation finals, where she finished eighth in 55.31. Miller took eighth, as well, in the consolation finals of the 100y breast in 1:02.51. She swam a 1:02.06 in prelims to earn the second swim. Kozak was also 24th in the 100y fly in a season best 54.20.

Troy's 200y medley relay team of Kozak, Miller, Krohn and Kwasny took second in the consolation finals in 1:41.02.

Other individual Trojan finishers included freshman Joy Galloway (400y IM, 29th, 40:20.92) and senior Asa Sandlund (200y free, 50th, 1:50.62).

Saturday prelims begin at 11 a.m. CST finals are at 7 p.m. CST

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