Soni First To Win NCAA 200y Breast Title Four Times

March 21, 2009

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Senior Rebecca Soni, the 2008 Olympic gold medalist in the 200m breaststroke, claimed her spot as the best NCAA swimmer ever in the 200y breast and became the first woman to win the race in four consecutive years at the 2009 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships on Saturday (March 21) at Texas A&M's Student Rec Center Natatorium in College Station, Texas.

Soni's swim and freshman Katinka Hosszu's third individual All-American performance spearheaded USC, which finished ninth with 157 points. It is USC's 14th top 10 finish in the past 16 years and its best under third-year head coach Dave Salo.

Cal won its first team title with 411.5 points, edging second-place Georgia (400.5). Arizona was third (389) while Stanford was fourth (312.5), Texas was fifth (307), Auburn sixth (281.5), Florida seventh (239), Texas A&M (186) eighth, USC ninth and Indiana (152) 10th.

Soni, who qualified first out of prelims with a 2:05.48, won her fourth consecutive 200y breast title in 2:05.52, 1.47 seconds ahead of second-place Alia Atkinson of Minnesota (2:06.99). Soni, the American holder in the event (a 2:04.75 set at the 2009 Pac-10s), led the race wire-to-wire.

The three women who previously had won the 200 breast three times were former Trojan Kristine Quance (1994, 1996-97), Georgia's Kristy Kowal (1998-2000) and Stanford's Tara Kirk (2002-04). Kowal's 2000 win and Kirk's 2004 win were in SCM.

Combined with her NCAA title in the 100y breast on Friday, she has a combined six NCAA breaststroke titles, behind only Kirk's seven and tied with Kowal's six. Soni's six NCAA titles are also the second-most ever at Troy, behind only Quance's eight.

Hosszu, who already was second in the 400y IM and eighth in the 500y free, finished third in the 200y fly in 1:53.45. She was within less than a second of Kaitlin Sandeno's school record of 1:52.63, set at the 2004 Pac-10 Championships.

Freshman Victoria Ishimatsu was 13th on platform with 243.45. It marked the second diving event in which she scored after finishing fifth on 1-meter Thursday.

Also in the 200y fly, freshman Tanya Krisman finished 18th in 1:56.28. She was just a quarter second away from qualifying for the consolation final.

Senior Katy Houston finished 20th in the 200y breast in a personal best 2:11.30. It was her top NCAA finish in the event.

Junior Dina Hegazy took 19th in the 200y back in 1:54.63 while senior Kristen Lahey was 30th (1:55.64).

USC's 400y free relay of Lahey, Hegazy, Houston and senior Rachael Waller was 19th (3:19.84).

Sophomore Ellie Doran competed in the 1650y free, finishing 41st (16:40.55).

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