Trojans Ous Mellouli, Larsen Jensen Earn Spots In 1500m Free Final

Aug. 15, 2008

Former Trojan All-Americans and NCAA champions Larsen Jensen and Ous Mellouli - daily training partners on the USC campus -- both qualified for the final of the 1500-meter freestyle on Friday evening in Beijing at the 2008 Olympics.

Jensen, the bronze medalist in the 400m free earlier in the week and the silver medalist in the 1500m free in 2004, squeaked into the final with the eighth fastest prelim time of 14:49.53, less than a second better than the ninth-place finisher. Mellouli, who was 14th in the mile at the 2004 Games, qualified for his first Olympic final in the event with the sixth-fastest time and a personal best effort of 14:47.76.

Jensen set the American record in his silver-medal winning swim in 2004. He finished behind Australian distance stalwart Grant Hackett, who qualified for the 2008 final with top prelim time and an Olympic record 14:38.92.

Hackett's effort was his best since he set the world record of 14:34.56 in 2001. The third-fastest man ever in the event (and the second-fastest ever still competing) is Jensen. The final of the 1500m free is scheduled for Sunday morning in China at 10:19 a.m. (Saturday at 7:19 p.m. in Los Angeles).

Racing shortly after that final will be USC senior Rebecca Soni, who will swim the breaststroke leg of the American 4x100m medley relay. The Americans qualified third out of prelims, though will have four different swimmers in the final.

That includes Soni, who pulled the biggest upset of the swimming portion of the Olympics when she won the 200-meter breaststroke Friday morning in Beijing. She also secured the silver medal in the 100-meter breaststroke.

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