Swimming, Diving Host No. 8 Cal, No. 4 Stanford
USC's No. 7 women's swimming and diving team (3-2, 1-1) returns to conference action this week when it hosts No. 8 California on Friday (Jan. 30) at 1 p.m. and No. 4 Stanford on Saturday (Jan. 31) at 12 p.m. Both meets will be held at USC's McDonald's Swim Stadium.
The Bears (6-0, 4-0) feature one of the world's top swimmers in senior Natalie Coughlin, a world record holder, 21-time All-American and nine-time NCAA title winner at Cal. Senior freestyler teammate Danielle Becks is an eight-time All-American.
The Cardinal (4-0, 2-0) has won 24 of the last 26 dual meets since 2002. Stanford returns all three of its NCAA title winners from last year and all 10 of its All-Americans. Breaststroker Tara Kirk returns as a nine-time NCAA champion while Dana Kirk (fly) and Kristen Caverly (back) are stalwarts as well.
USC's women finished third at NCAAs in 2003, its highest standing since winning the team title in 1997. The Trojan men took fifth. Both the men and women finished third at the Pac-10 Championships. Texas' men's squad was second last year at the NCAAs while its women were seventh. Stanford's women's team was sixth.
Kaitlin Sandeno opened the season blazing, posting four NCAA automatic times before the calendar hit November. She currently owns auto times in the 200m IM (2:13.32), 400m IM (4:39.15), 100m back (1:00.64, a USC record) and the 200m back (2:11.68). Freshman Kalyn Keller owns the squad's other NCAA auto time in the 1500m free (16:14.97).
FAST TIMES II
Kaitlin Sandeno's times in the 400m and 200m IM , converted from meters to yards, are first and third in the country according to Taper and Shave's most recent national Top 50. Both of her backstrokes were also among the top 10. Kalyn Keller was No. 2 in the 500 free (converted from 400 meters) and was fourth in 1000m . Jana Krohn (100 fly) and Margie Pedder (200 fly) are also in the top 15.
USC's women's squad returns five All-Americans off of its third-place NCAA team. Junior Kaitlin Sandeno's five All-American performances topped the team (500y free, 400y IM, 1650y free, 400y medley relay and 800y free relay) while senior Jana Krohn turned in four (100y and 200y fly, 400y medley relay and 800y free relay). Junior Margie Pedder earned All-American nods in the 1650y free and the 800y free relay while sophomore Kammy Miller earned hers on the 400y medley relay. Senior diver Nicci Fusaro finalled on the 3-meter springboard to join the group. On the men's team, three Trojans with All-American credits last year are back.
USC Coach Mark Schubert is in his 12th year at Troy. He will make his seventh consecutive Olympic coaching appearance in 2004 when he directs the U.S. women's team in Athens, Greece. Three years ago, he finished a stint as head coach of the U.S. men's swim team at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. Since he has been at USC, the men's and women's swimming programs are a combined 133-43. In his 33 years of coaching, Schubert has placed 28 swimmers on U.S. Olympic teams; these athletes have won 18 gold and eight silver medals, plus five world championship titles.
An NCAA champion and two-time Olympian, Hongping Li is in his fifth season coaching USC's men's and women's divers. Li, the winner of the 1998 and 1999 United States Olympic Committee's 'Diving Developmental Coach of the Year,' award, came to USC after serving as the head coach of the Mission Viejo (Calif.) Nadadores Diving Team since 1993. Li has had immediate and tremendous success in his first four years at USC. In 2003, he helped guide Blythe Hartley and Nicci Fusaro to All-American showings at the NCAA Championships. Hartley was a three-time All-American for the second year in a row while Fusaro earned All-American honors for the third year in a row. Hartley, the 2002 NCAA Women's Diver of the Year, repeated as Pac-10 Women's Diver of the Year and Li repeated as Pac-10 Women's Diving Coach of the Year. In 2002, Fusaro joined with Hartley to become USC's only two divers to earn All-American honors in all three diving specialties in one NCAA meet. In 2001, Li guided Kellie Brennan to a pair of All-American honors (and her third consecutive Pac-10 1-meter title) and Fusaro to her first All-American honor at the 2001 NCAAs. Both also reached the top three at the 2001 U.S. Indoor Championships.