Soni Wins 100y Breast Pac-10 Title

Feb. 29, 2008



Junior Rebecca Soni won her second career conference crown in the 100y breast - breaking her own school record in the process - and USC's 400y medley relay took second place to lead the No. 25 Women of Troy on the third day of the 2008 Pac-10 Women's Swimming Championships at Belmont Plaza in Long Beach, Calif., on Friday (Feb. 29).

USC is fifth (514) with a day left in the championships. Arizona is in first (1027) and is followed by Stanford (964), California (830), UCLA (652), USC, ASU (482.5), Washington (425), Oregon State (270) and Washington State (236.5).

Soni, who won the 100y breast as a freshman, crushed the field in 58.98 to lower her own Trojan standard. Those chasing Soni were as close as a 0.15 seconds after 50 yards, but the junior from Plainsboro, N.J., who is more dominant over 200 yards, had plenty left in her tank to toast the field on the way home. She was almost a full second faster than the next closest swimmer over the back half of the race to easily secure her third career Pac-10 title.

She won the event in 2006 in 1:00.10 and was fourth last year in 1:01.40 (during a season in which she was recovering from minor heart surgery). She is the first Trojan to win the event twice in the Pac-10 Championships. On Saturday, she will try to win her specialty, the 200y breast, for the second time.

Junior Katy Houston made her first appearance in the Pac-10 100y breast final and finished eighth in 1:02.24.

The 400y medley relay quartet of juniors Kristen Lahey, Soni, senior Emily Goetsch and junior Rachael Waller, finished second in a season-best and NCAA automatic qualifying swim of 3:35.45. Only Arizona (3:33.76) touched ahead of the Women of Troy, whose swim was less than a second and a half off the USC record (3:33.97).

Lahey kicked off the relay with a strong 54.17 in the first 100 yards of backstroke. Soni flexed her muscles with a race-best 59.02 in the 100 yards of breaststroke. Goetsch blazed 52.62 over the next 100 yards of butterfly, setting up a strong freestyle finish by Waller (49.64).

Goetsch finished second in the consolation final of the 100y fly in a personal-best 53.11, an NCAA automatic qualifying time. Sophomore Hannah Ozer swam a season-best 1:01.07. In an exhibition swim, Waller posted a season-best an NCAA consideration 54.83.

Waller finished fourth in the consolation final of the 200y free in 1:47.93. In the B consolation, Hentzen posted a personal best and finished third (1:49.23), improving on her NCAA consideration time. ... Sophomore Whitney Stephenson (1:51.37), senior Kate Polich (1:51.94) and freshman Sophie Gosper (1:55.81) all swam season bests in the race in prelims.

Lahey won the 100y back consolation final in 54.69. Stephenson, who qualified for the B consolation with season-best 56.75, finished 22nd overall (56.99) in her second swim. Gosper (57.64) and Ozer (1:02.70) also posted season-bests in the event.

In the Pac-10 Diving Championships in Seattle, freshman Steven Starks made his second consecutive springboard finals appearance, finishing eighth (290.60). Freshman Greg Miller was 10th (270.80) and freshman Derek Roth was 12th (259.80).

On the women's side, senior Kim Popp was USC's top finisher on 3-meter, finishing a personal best 11th (262.25). Freshman Christine Petrilli was the next highest finisher (18th, 240.60).

Competition concludes Saturday in both the swimming and diving competition.

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