No. 7 Trojans At No. 4 Cal, No. 2 Stanford

Feb. 1, 2005

The No. 7 USC men's swimming and diving team, led by All-Americans Ous Mellouli, Paul Fahey and Ray Vincent and 2004 Olympian Larsen Jensen, takes its biennial trip to the Bay Area to take on Pac-10 rivals California on Friday (Feb. 4) and Stanford on Saturday (Feb. 5). Both meets start at 1 p.m.

The USC men (4-1 overall, 2-0 in the Pac-10) are No. 7. Stanford (5-0, 2-0) is No. 2 while Cal (7-0, 2-0) is No. 4.

Stanford, second at the 2004 NCAAs, has won 37 consecutive dual meets dating back to 2000. The Cardinal is led by senior All-American Jayme Cramer and sophomores Andy Grant and Hongzhe Sun. Cal, seventh at last year's NCAAs, is led by senior Duje Draganja, a 2004 Olympian and one of the top sprinters in the nation. Draganja, in fact, is one of seven Bears who competed at the Athens Games.

The Trojan men got off to a strong start with a convincing win over No. 9 Texas in late October, 240.5-112.5. The Trojan men won 17 of 18 events, dominating from start to finish. The Trojans followed that with a sweep of the Arizona schools in November. USC trailed the Wildcats after the first half of the two-day meet, but rallied to beat Arizona, 182-170, and also rolled past the Sun Devils, 262-91. Troy squared off against No. 6 Michigan on Jan. 4 and suffered its only loss of the season, 145-117. Because of inclement weather, the meet was raced in USC's Physical Education Building, the first meet in the facility since 1983. A meet at UC Santa Barnara on Jan. 8 was cancelled due to heavy rain, but USC did get its meet in at Cal State Bakersfield on Jan. 15, a 158-108 win.

Junior Ous Mellouli's 3:41.32 in the 400y IM is the top time in the nation thus far and his 1:44.14 is second in the 200y IM and both are NCAA automatic qualifying times. So is his 4:15.43 in the 500y free, which is also second. His 15:00.26 in the 1650y free is third and his 1:36.28 in the 200y free is 10th. Sophomore Larsen Jensen's 14:44.89 is the fastest mile in the country this year while his 4:15.43 in the 500y free is tied with Mellouli for second best (both are NCAA A cuts). Senior co-captain Paul Fahey's 3:47.79 in the 400y IM is seventh in the country, his 1:58.8 in the 200y breast is 10th while Mihaly Flaskay has the seventh fastest time in the 100y breast (54.21). Sophomore Viktor Bodrogi is No. 14 with his 100y back (48.61) and No. 15 with his 200y fly (1:47.00). Sam Masson's 200y back (1:45.54) and 100y fly (48.21) are both 16th. Sean Sussex is 18th in the 100y free (44.21) and 15th (20.15) in the 50y free. USC's 200y medley relay is the second fastest ranked unit in the country, the 800y free relay is fourth and the 200y free relay is fifth.

USC's trio of divers of All-American senior Ray Vincent and sophomores Michael Hilde and Kenny Jenkins form as good of a trio as you'll find in the NCAA. Vincent earned All-American honors on platform for the second straight year in 2004 and posted three top 5 finishes at the Pac-10 Championships. Hilde, the Pac-10 Diving Newcomer of the Year in 2004, was one of the top freshman divers in the country in 2004 and one of only two Trojans to score in three individual events at the NCAA Championships. He also won a Pac-10 title on platform. Jenkins was a Pac-10 platform finalist in 2004 and looks to join Vincent and Hilde at the NCAAs in 2005.

The USC men's team returns junior Ous Mellouli (400m IM, 1500m Free) and seniors Paul Fahey (400m IM) and Ray Vincent (platform diving). The men also return 2003 All-American breaststroker Mihaly Flaskay (who did not attend USC in 2004 while training to qualify for the Olympics in his native Hungary) and sophomore Larsen Jensen, a 2004 Olympic silver medalist who skipped the second half of the 2004 season to train for the U.S. Olympic Trials.

USC's men's Olympians are led by Larsen Jensen, who was a silver medallist in the 1500m freestyle and took fourth in the 400m free. Junior Ous Mellouli, competing for Tunisia, was a finalist in the 400m IM and raced in the 1500m free (Mellouli, in fact, won gold in the 400m IM and a bronze in the 200m IM at the 2004 Short Course World Championships). Viktor Bodrogi and Gergely Meszaros (both competing for Hungary) also were in Athens on the men's side. The women's squad features three Trojans who competed at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. Diver Blythe Hartley (competing for Canada) won bronze on the 10-meter synchronized platform and also reached the final of the 3-meter individual springboard. Sophomore Kalyn Keller was a finalist in the 800m freestyle (taking fourth) and also swam in the 400m free. Freshman Rhi Jeffrey won a gold medal in Athens as part of the 4x200m free relay (on the prelim swim).

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