Jensen Wins NCAA Title In 1650y Free

March 26, 2005


Olympic 1500m freestyle silver medallist and Trojan sophomore Larsen Jensen won his first career NCAA individual title while junior Ous Mellouli and senior diver Ray Vincent both posted All-American performances to lead USC on the final day of the 2005 NCAA men's swimming and diving championships at the University of Minnesota on Saturday (March 26).

Jensen, the American record holder in the 1500 free (lcm) and the third fastest ever, showed he's virtually as good in the short-course yards version of the race, leading wire-to-wire in the 1650y free in 14:32.01. Only USC great Erik Vendt (14:29.85) has gone faster in Cardinal and Gold history.

Already an All-American in the 500y free, Jensen, who took off the Spring semester in 2004 to train for the U.S. Olympic Trials, defeated heavyweights Peter Vanderkaay of Michigan (a 2004 U.S. Olympic teammate) and Georgia senior Robert Margalis.

Jensen went out quickly and established a fast early pace that neither Vanderkaay nor Margalis were willing to match. Vanderkaay made a late move in the final 250 yards, but could not close to within five seconds of Jensen, finishing second in 14:36.54. Margalis touched third in 14:38.58.

Jensen's NCAA win is the 92nd ever for USC and complemented Mellouli's title an evening earlier in the 400y IM. Jensen is the 38th different Trojan to step to the top of the podium at an NCAA Championships.

Mellouli, no slouch in the mile himself and the third fastest Trojan ever in the race, finished seventh in 14:56.49 to earn his fourth All-American honor, third individually. He was fifth in the event as a freshman in 2003.

Jensen's win in the 1650y free gives USC three wins in the event at the NCAAs in the last four years (Vendt won it in 2002 and 2003).

Vincent became USC's first three-time All-American in the platform since Brian Earley (1990, 1992, 1994). Third in 2003 and seventh in 2004 on the 10-meter high rise, Vincent finished sixth this year with 493.20. Sophomore diver Michael Hilde just missed joining Vincent in the finals and earning his first All-American nod, finishing ninth (474.40).

In other Trojan action, sophomore Viktor Bodrogi was 22nd in the 200y back (1:45.61), sophomore Sam Masson was 31st in the 200y back (1:46.86), sophomore Sean Sussex was 29th in the 100y free (44.26), sophomore Mihaly Flaskay was 25th in the 200y breast (2:00.43), senior Paul Fahey was 30th in the 200y breast (2:00.92).

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

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