Keller Wins 200 Free At NCAAs

March 23, 2001

Freshman Klete Keller won the 200-yard freestyle for his second title of the meet while senior Ryosuke Imai and sophomores Erik Vendt and Jeff Lee all posted school records to pace USC to fourth place after two days of the 2001 NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships at Texas A&M on Friday (March 23).

USC finished in fourth with 234 points. Texas leads with 447.5, followed by Stanford (337.5), Tennessee (347.5), USC (234), Auburn (231) and Florida (159).

Keller, who won the 500 free on Thursday, won the 200 in 1:34.43, becoming the first Trojan to win the event since Bruce Furniss took it in 1978. Keller is the first Trojan to win two events in the same NCAA Championships since Dave Wharton won both the 200 and 400 IM in 1990. He is the first USC swimmer to win both the 200 and 500 free in the same year since Roy Saari won the pair as well as the 1650 free in 1966. Junior teammate Rodrigo Castro was eighth in the 200 free (1:36.02).

USC's 800 free relay team posted a second-place finish, losing only to a Texas unit that set an American record (6:18.00). The Trojan squad of Lee, Castro, junior Tamas Kerekjarto and Keller finished second in 6:23.50, barely a half second off of the school record.

Sophomore Erik Vendt, third in the 500 free, finished second in the 400 IM in 3:40.98, breaking Wharton's school record of 3:42.23. Kerekjarto went 3:44.85 for sixth in the event while junior Mark Warkentin also finalled, taking eighth in 3:47.43, marking the third straight year he has finished in the top eight in the event.

Lee broke his own record in the 100 fly. He first set the mark in prelims, going 47.06. He then re-broke the standard in finals, swimming a 46.70 to take seventh.

Senior Ryosuke Imai also broke one of his own records twice. Competing in the 100 breast, he broke his mark of 53.83 by going 53.66 in prelims. He then took sixth in the race, swimming a 53.34 in the finals.

USC's 200 medley relay squad of Lee, Imai, sophomore David Ringe and senior Gabe Woodward won the consolation finals in 1:28.04.

The meet concludes on Saturday.

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