Trojans Set For Pac-10 Championships

Feb. 22, 2005

The USC women's swimming and diving team, led by seniors Joanna Fargus and Marisa Kozak and junior diver Blythe Hartley, is at the 2005 Pac-10 Championships from Wednesday (Feb. 23) to Saturday (Feb. 26) in Federal Way, Wash., at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center. USC fans can follow along with the meet (hosted by Oregon State) on-line at this address.

Events begin on Wednesday (Feb. 27) with timed finals that begin at 6 p.m. Preliminaries begin at 11 a.m. Thursday through Saturday (Feb. 24-26) while finals begin at 6 p.m.

From top to bottom, the Pac-10 Conference championships is the most competitive in the country with six schools ranked in the top 20. The schools include No. 5 Stanford, No. 6 Arizona, No. 9 Cal, No. 11 UCLA, No. 15 ASU and No. 20 USC.

USC has won at least three Pac-10 individual titles in each of the last four years and at least one each year since 1994 ... Sophomore Kalyn Keller is out to defend a pair of freestyle titles after wining the 500y and 1650y free in 2004. Former Trojan Kaitlin Sandeno won those same events in 2003 ... A Trojan has won the Pac-10 title in the 400y IM each of the past four years ... 2004 marked the first time since 1995 that USC didn't win at least one of the diving events. But with the return of junior Olympian Blythe Hartley, who swept the three specialties in 2003 after winning one event in 2002, USC looks to return to the first-place podium in at least one event for the first ninth time in 10 years.

USC has recently received the services of another top-flight diver with the transfer of Mexican Olympian Jashia Luna. Luna is a two-time Olympian (2000 and 2004) from Guadalajara, Mexico. She was a gymnast for eight years before taking up diving when she was 18. At the 2004 Olympics, she was fifth on synchronized 10-meter platform, 13th on 10-meter platform and 20th on 3-meter springboard.

USC's women team finished ninth at NCAAs in 2004 and sixth in the highly competitive Pac-10.

Despite some strong showings by Joanna Fargus, Cait Connealy and Kalyn Keller, USC lost its final home meet of the season to No. 11 UCLA, 175.5-122.5. The Women of Troy fell twice in their last 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 seventh-fastest time in the country in the 200y back (1:55.74) while senior Marisa Kozak is 10th in the 200y fly (1:58.32) and freshman Emily Goetsch is 12th (1:58.61).

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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