Hartley, Soni, Li Earn Pac-10 Year-End Honors

April 12, 2006

USC senior diver Blythe Hartley was named 2006 Women's Diver of the Year, freshman swimmer Rebecca Soni was named Women's Newcomer of the Year and seventh-year head diving coach Hongping Li was tabbed Women's Diving Coach of the Year, Pac-10 Commissioner Tom Hansen announced on Wednesday (April 12).

Hartley, a senior from North Vancouver, B.C., rounded out her collegiate career by winning both the one-meter and three-meter springboard titles at the 2006 NCAA Championships. By winning both events in the same meet, she became just the fourth diver in NCAA history to accomplish the feat and was named the 2006 NCAA Women's Diver of the Year, her third such honor.

Hartley came into this year's national championship meet as the only diver in NCAA history to own national titles in all three diving events. In addition to this year's springboard success, she took seventh in the final round of the platform event, marking her 12th NCAA final appearance in 12 attempts, and making her a career 12-time All-American.

At the Pac-10 Championships, Hartley won both the one and three-meter springboards and was named Diver of the Meet. Hartley was among four women's swimmers and divers named as a finalist for the 2005-06 Swimming and Diving Honda Sports Award to determine the top womancollegiate athlete in the sport.

Most recently, she won two gold medals at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Australia.

Soni, a freshman from Plainsboro, N.J., was named Swimmer of the Meet at the 2006 Pac-10 Championships, after swimming the fastest 200-yard breaststroke in the country this season (2:08.16). Soni earned two Pac-10 individual titles in the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststrokesand finished third in the 200-yard IM. She also contributed to a USC victory in the 400-yard medley relay.

At the NCAA Championships, Soni won the Trojans' first NCAA title in the 200-yard breaststroke since 1997. Soni, who touched in 2:09.37, is the first USC freshman to win an NCAA title since 2004 and finished the season undefeated in the event.

Soni just finished a trip to Shanghai, China, where she competed for the U.S. Swimming team at the 2006 FINA World Championships (scm). There, she reached the final of the 200-meter breast, taking fourth.

Li helped lead the Trojans to two Pac-10 individual titles and four top-eight finishes. The USC swimming and diving team took sixth overall at the NCAA Championships. The Women's Coach of the Year award is Li's fifth in the last six years. Li ws also named the 2006 NCAA Women's Diving Coach of the Year, his second such honor.

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