Lindsay Benko, Paige Francis Named Swimming Assistant Coaches

July 6, 2005

Former USC NCAA champion and Olympic gold medallist Lindsay Benko and former Trojan All-American Paige Francis - teammates on Troy's 1997 NCAA swimming and diving national championship team - have been named assistant coaches, USC Head Coach Mark Schubert announced on Wednesday (July 6).

'Both Lindsay and Paige bring a tremendous amount of experience to our staff,' Schubert said. 'As former Trojan swimmers, I'm very proud to have them join us. They are both of the highest quality.'

A five-time NCAA champion at USC from 1996-99, Benko (who recently married Olympic swimmer Mike Mintenko and has taken his name) was one of the world's top freestyle swimmers, winning gold medals at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics. A career 10-time U.S. national champion who won three medals at the 2003 World Championships, Benko holds the world and American records in the 200 and 400 freestyles (scm) and is the American record-holder in the 200 freestyle (lcm).

Among her five NCAA titles at USC, three came in the 500y free (1996, 1997 and 1999) and two were in the 200y back (1996 and 1997). She was a 21-time All-American in her four-year stay at Troy and reached the NCAA finals in all 12 individual events in which she competed. Benko's five career NCAA wins at USC is second only to Kristine Quance's eight.

Benko served four years as a volunteer coach (2000-2004) under Schubert while training with the Trojans after her graduation in 1999.

Francis was a six-time All-American (1997-2000), including three times in Troy's NCAA title season in 1997. Her hire as an assistant coach follows one season as a graduate assistant coach with the Trojans in 2005.

Prior to being hired at USC, Francis trained with the Irvine Novaquatics from 2002-04 while working part-time, but she retired from the sport prior to the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials. She lived in Austin before that, working in public affairs and training with the University of Texas women's team from 2001-02.

A four-year swimmer at USC from 1997-2000, Francis graduated from USC with a degree in communications with a minor in business. As a senior in 2000, Francis competed in seven events at the NCAA Championships, earning All-American honors in the 400m medley relay.

She represented the United States at the 1999 FINA Short Course World Championships in Hong Kong, posting two finals appearances.

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