USC Hosts UCLA On Saturday With Lexus Gauntlet Points On The Line

Feb. 9, 2005

The USC women's swimming and diving team wraps up dual meet competition when it hosts rival UCLA on Saturday (Feb. 12) at 1 p.m. at McDonald's Swim Stadium.

USC has captured five points in two of the last three years in its intracity all-sport rivalry with UCLA and will look to do the same in the latest meeting as the teams battle for the 2004-05 Lexus Gauntlet. The Lexus Gauntlet is a season-long competition between USC and UCLA in all sports. Points are awarded to the winner of each Bruin-Trojan head-to-head contest throughout the year and the Lexus Gauntlet trophy is awarded to the school with the most points at year's end.

The USC women (1-4-1 overall, 0-3-1 in the Pac-10) are No. 20 in the latest CSCAA poll. UCLA (5-3, 2-3) is No. 11.

The Bruins are led by junior Kim Vandenberg, who has qualified for the NCAAs in five different events - the 50y, 100y and 200y free and the 100y and 200y fly. She leads a group of four UCLA swimmers who have posted top 25 times this year.

The Women of Troy lost twice in their most recent road trip, losing at Pac-10 rivals No. 8 Cal (175.5-124.5) on Jan. 28 and No. 5 Stanford (193-103) on Jan. 29. USC squared off against Cal State Bakersfield on Jan. 15, earning its first win of the season. Previous to that, USC fell to Arizona, 186-113, on Nov. 19, and tied Arizona State, 150-150, on Nov. 20. At Texas on Nov. 5-6, USC fell 230-123.

Senior Joanna Fargus owns the fourth-fastest time in the country in the 200y back (1:55.74) while senior Marisa Kozak is seventh in the 200y fly (1:58.32). USC's 800y free relay (7:18.81) is seventh while the 200y medley relay (1:42.30) is eighth. Kalyn Keller's 4:47.34 in the 500y free is 15th.

Senior Joanna Fargus' 1:55.74 in the 200y back is USC's only NCAA automatic qualifying time, though many Trojans have posted `B' cuts. Kalyn Keller (4:47.34), Whitney Hentzen (4:50.37), Stacy Vazhenin (4:51.76), Cait Connealy (4:53.19) and Emily Goetsch (4:53.88) all have `B' cuts in the 500y free while Connealy (1:49.55), Fargus (1:50.04) and Keller (1:50.56) have done the same in the 200y free. Fargus also has done it in the 100y free (50.54) and the 100y back (55.61). Marisa Kozak has three `B' cuts in the 200y IM (2:03.96) and the 100y (54.91) and the 200y fly (1:58.32). Goetsch also has done it in the 100y (55.23) and the 200y fly (1:59.37). Keller (16:49.31) and Hentzen (16:33.56) have `B' times in the 1650y free. Vazhenin has done it in the 400y IM (4:21.80) while Kristina Sieper has a pair in the 100y (1:03.18) and 200y breast (2:16.98).

The Trojan women return sophomore Kalyn Keller (400m and 1500m free), senior Joanna Fargus (800 F.R.) and sophomore Cait Connealy (800 F.R.). The women also return former All-American diver and NCAA title winner Blythe Hartley, who did not compete last year while training for the 2004 Olympics. She returns as a redshirt junior after earning a combined (and maximum) six All-American honors her first two years at USC.

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). 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, recently 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.

USC will be without a handful of top swimmers from the 2004 squad, none bigger than Kaitlin Sandeno. Sandeno used a standout 2004 NCAA Championships as a junior (she won two titles and was second in another race) as a springboard to an eye-popping U.S. Olympic Trials (where she qualified for four races) and Olympic performance in Athens (where she won three medals). But she decided to turn pro before the Olympics and gave up her final year of eligibility at USC (though she still attends school at the university). Also gone on the women's side is one of the school's top butterflyers in Jana Krohn, top distance swimmer in Margie Pedder as well as All-American diver Nicci Fusaro. The men lost key backstroker and freestyler Trent Staley (a multi-Pac-10 finalist).

USC had its Jan. 8 meet at UC Santa Barbara cancelled due to inclement weather. It will not be made up this season, but the teams will compete again in the 2005-06 season.

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