Soni, Ishimatsu, 400y Medley Relay Win Titles At Pac-10 Championships
Feb. 27, 2009
Senior Rebecca Soni, a 2008 Olympic gold medalist, won her fifth Pac-10 career title, freshman diver Victoria Ishimatsu won her first and Troy's 400y medley relay took home another crown to lead a big day for the No. 11 USC women's swimming and diving team on the third day of the 2009 Pac-10 Swimming and Diving Championships at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatics Center in Federal Way, Wash., on Friday (Feb. 27).
In addition to the titles, USC also posted three other top four finishes. Also, USC freshman diver Harrison Jones won a title on platform during the Pac-10 Men's Diving Championships, being held concurrently with the women.
Soni won her third career Pac-10 title in the 100y breast and fifth overall in 58.10, going under Tara Kirk's NCAA and Pac-10 record of 58.41 set in 2003. Senior teammate Katy Houston posted a career-best fourth in the event in a career-best 1:00.66.
Ishimatsu, second in 1-meter a day ago, trailed during the finals of 3-meter until the final dive, which put her over the top for less than a two-point win. Ishimatsu won with 327.70 points to Stanford's Carmen Stellar's 325.90.
'Tori struggled in prelims and was really not matching her level of diving,' USC 10th-year head diving coach Hongping Li said. 'She came around tonight in finals and did some awesome dives. The contest was very close. She wasn't at the top of her game, but she was facing some very good competition. I'm proud that she fought through.
Capping the women's team's title run Friday night was the school record in the 400y medley. Troy entered the event with the fifth-fastest time in the nation, but ahead of them was both Pac-10 rivals Arizona and Stanford. In a dogfight, the group of seniors Kristen Lahey, Soni, freshman Katinka Hosszu and senior Rachael Waller won in 3:31.75, nipping Arizona by 0.03 seconds. Stanford was third almost a second behind. The previous USC record was 3:33.97, set in 2006 by Hayley McGregory, Soni, Lahey and Missy McIntyre.
'We all swam really well and we keep relying on each others great swims to motivate us to the next swim, and the good swims keep coming,' Soni said. 'The medley relay was amazing, and I'm so proud to be part of this team as we keep getting better and better.'
Said Lahey: 'The medley relay has been our bread and butter since I've been at USC. We have always taken a lot of pride in that relay and winning tonight just showed how much heart goes into that race. Every leg of that relay had an amazing split and I can't wait to see what we can do at NCAAs.'
Hosszu earlier took second in the 400y IM. Hosszu, third in the 500y free, finished second in 4:03.60, crushing USC's previous school record, a 2004 mark of 2:05.74 held by Kaitlin Sandeno.
Speaking of shattering records, that's what Lahey did to her own school record in the 100y back in prelims, going 52.15 (the previous mark was 52.99) to qualify second for the finals. In finals, she ultimately finished third in the 100y back for the second consecutive year, this time in 52.32.
Freshman Ella Kidron was 16th in the 100y breast in 1:03.81 (her prelim time of 1:03.17 was a personal best), Ania Kowalczyk was 18th in the 100y breast (1:03.14) and 26th in the 400y IM (4:22.59), freshman Tanya Krisman was 18th in the 100y fly with a season-best and NCAA consideration 52.96 and Waller was 16th in the 200y free (1:48.44). Also in the 200y free, sophomore Ellie Doran was 20th in a personal best 1:48.34 and junior Krissy Forelli was 33rd (1:50.56).
Junior Dina Hegazy posted a career-best 10th in the 100y back in an NCAA consideration 53.89. Junior Whitney Stephenson, who set a personal record in prelims of the 100y back in 55.37, took 24th in 56.03. Sophomore Sophie Gosper took 29th in the event in a season-best 56.46.
And in addition to Ishimatsu on three-meter, freshman Michael Fossati-Bellani was ninth (250.65) while junior Alexis Demond was 12th (245.60).
USC is in fourth after three of four days. Cal is in first (990.5) while Arizona is second (937.5), Stanford is third (873) and USC fourth (630). Washington is fifth (471), UCLA sixth (445), ASU seventh (364), Oregon State eighth (294) and Washington State ninth (231).
The competition concludes Saturday.