Mellouli Wins NCAA Title In 400y IM

March 25, 2005


Junior Ous Mellouli won his first NCAA title in the 400y IM, sophomore Mihaly Flaskay was second in the 100y breast and Troy's 200y medley relay posted two school records as USC charged ahead on the second day of the 2005 NCAA men's swimming and diving championships at the University of Minnesota on Friday (March 25).

(Friday's 3-meter springboard and 800y free relay have yet to be completed. This story will be updated when the competition is complete).

Mellouli, a 2004 Olympic finalist in the 400m IM, won the yards version of the race in 3:39.19, leading wire-to-wire and touching well ahead of second-place finisher Robert Margalis of Georgia (3:39.93). The Trojan from Tunisia led Margalis 0.74 after the first 100 yards of butterfly, though the Bulldog senior closed to within 0.57 after the backstroke leg. Mellouli extended his lead to 0.81 after 100 yards of breaststroke and kept Margalis at bay for the rest of the race.

Mellouli's time broke USC's school record, set by former teammate and two-time Olympic silver medallist in the 400m IM, Erik Vendt, who previously went 3:39.95 in 2003. The time also broke a Minnesota pool record set in 1994 and was only 1.01 off of the NCAA record of 3:39.18 set by Olympic gold medallist Tom Dolan.

The NCAA title won by Mellouli was the 91st individual title for the men's team and made him the 37th different Trojan to win a collegiate crown. It was USC's first NCAA title since Vendt won a pair in 2003. Mellouli was second in the 400 IM (scm) at the 2004 NCAAs and fourth in the 400y IM in 2003.

Mellouli's record race was preceded by a Troy's second school-record swim in the 200y medley relay of the day. The unit of sophomores Viktor Bodrogi, Mihaly Flaskay, Sam Masson and Sean Sussex finished seventh in the finals in 1:26.45. The swim broke the unit's earlier school mark of 1:26.77 in prelims.

Flaskay just missed joining Mellouli as an NCAA title winner, finishing second in the 100y breast in 52.92 behind Stanford's Gary Marshall (52.68). Flaskay's time broke his own school record (53.23). Third after 25 yards, Flaskay moved into second halfway through the race. He edged into first with 25 yards to go, but Marshall out-raced him to the wall.

Masson made his NCAA individual scoring debut by taking 14th in the 100y fly in 47.30. He barely missed qualifying for the final of the race during prelims, his 47.13 less than a tenth of a second from making the top eight and earning a finals berth.

Senior co-captain Paul Fahey earned a second swim in the 400y IM after taking 13th in prelims. He ultimately finished 16th overall in 3:52.68 after going 3:49.96 in prelims.

Sophomore Michael Hilde was 18th in the 3-meter springboard (501.15) while senior Ray Vincent was 29th (283.40). Sussex was 42nd in the 200y free (1:39.85) while Bodrogi was tied for 22nd in the 100y back (48.55).

The meet concludes Saturday with prelims at 12 p.m. and finals at 7 p.m. (CST).

Full results can be found at the NCAA Championships host site.

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