Vendt, Mellouli Qualify For 500y Free Finals At NCAA Championships

March 27, 2003

Austin, TX - Senior Erik Vendt and freshman Ous Mellouli both qualified for the finals of the 500y free and USC's 400y medley relay also earned a finals spot to pace USC's prelims efforts on the first day of the 2003 NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships at Texas in Austin on Thursday (March 27).

Prelim diving results are not yet available

Vendt, second in the event last year, qualified second in the 500y free in 4:15.75, trailing only Georgia's Robert Margalis in the morning swim. Mellouli, who didn't swim this event at the Pac-10 Championships, qualified fourth in 4:16.07. Vendt was the third-fastest Trojan ever in the event entering this meet while Mellouli's time made him the sixth-fastest ever in the event.

In the last race of the morning session, USC's 400y medley relay of senior Jeff Lee (back), freshman Mihaly Flaskay (breast), junior J.D. Abercrombie (fly) and Mellouli (free) qualified for the finals with the seventh-fastest time (3:12.02). USC got no points in this event last year after being disqualified in the prelims of the event. Lee's opening 100y back of 48.09 was USC's top time of the year. Also notable was Abercrombie, who was swimming for the third time of the session during his fly leg.

Lee earned a spot in the consolation final of the 500y free, swimming a 4:20.32, good for 14th overall. Junior Trent Staley was 22nd in the event (4:21.99) while Erik Tolmachoff, making his NCAA debut as a senior, was 44th in 4:28.91.

The Trojans' 200y free relay of sophomore Mike Stoller, Flaskay, senior David Ringe and Abercrombie opened the meet by earning a spot in the consolation finals, swimming a 1:21.01, 16th overall. USC didn't race in this event last year.

USC had three swimmers in the 200y IM, but none qualified for a second race. Junior Jordie Proffitt, the lowest seeded of USC's entrants in the event, finished the highest with a season best 1:48.23 (24th). Abercrombie was 38th (1:50.11) and sophomore Paul Fahey was 39th (1:50.68).

Stoller, also in his first NCAAs, competed in his first individual event and swam a season best 20.32 in the 50y free (39th)

Finals begin at 7 p.m. CST. Prelims for Friday and Saturday begin at 11 a.m. CST each day and finals are at 7 p.m. CST.

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