No. 8 Men's Swimming Hosts No. 4 Cal, No. 1 Stanford

Feb. 7, 2002

The No. 8 USC men's swimming and diving team continues its Pac-10 dual-meet season when it hosts No. 4 California on Friday (Feb. 8) and No. 1 Stanford (Feb. 9). Both meets are scheduled to start at 1 p.m. at McDonald's Swim Stadium.

CAL AND STANFORD - Cal is 5-1 and is led by Anthony Ervin, one of the top sprinters in the world. Alex Lim has been the nation's top backstroker this year while Duje Draganja is another Bear who is among college's top sprinters. Stanford is 6-1 and is paced by Randall Bal, Markus Rogan and Peter Marshall, a trio which owns all of Stanford's NCAA automatic qualifying times this year.

SO FAR - USC is 4-3 and is ranked No. 8 (tied with Arizona) in the latest College Swim Coaches Association of American Top 25. The Trojans opened the season with a close loss to No.3 Texas and was then swept by No. 7 Arizona State and No. 8 Arizona on the road in close defeats. USC has come back with four consecutive wins over non-conference foes, defeating UC Santa Barbara, Pacific, Cal State Bakersfield and UC Irvine.

HEADLINERS - Among USC's top returning swimmers are sophomore Klete Keller, a two-time NCAA title winner, junior Erik Vendt, an NCAA title winner as a freshman who had three Top 3 finishes at last year's NCAAs and junior Jeff Lee, a four-time All-American last year who is Troy's fastest butterflyer ever.

2001 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS - USC's men's squad remained among the top in the nation in 2001. The men's program took fourth place at last year's NCAAs (its highest finish ever under Mark Schubert). The team featured nine swimmers who earned a combined 23 All-American honors, highlighted by Klete Keller's NCAA titles in the 200y and 500y freestyles. Erik Vendt also posted three top 3 finishes.

2001 PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS - The USC men's team finished second at the 2001 Pacific-10 Conference Championships. Klete Keller won titles in both the 200y and 500y free while Erik Vendt took firsts in the 400y IM and 1650y free. Ryosuke Imai won the 100y breast and the 800y free relay team of Rodrigo Castro, Jeff Lee, Tamas Kerekjarto and Keller set a Pac-10 Meet record in its win.

MARK SCHUBERT - USC Coach Mark Schubert is in his 10th year at Troy. A year ago, he finished a stint as head coach of the U.S. men's swim team at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. It was his sixth consecutive USA Olympic coaching position. Since he has been at USC, the men's and women's swimming programs are a combined 114-28 (.803 winning percentage). In his 32 years of coaching, Schubert has placed 28 swimmers on U.S. Olympic teams, these athletes have won 18 gold and eight silver medals, plus five world championship titles.

HONGPING LI - An NCAA champion and two-time Olympian, Hongping Li is in his third season coaching USC's men's and women's divers. Li, the winner of the 1998 and 1999 United States Olympic Committee's 'Diving Developmental Coach of the Year,' award, came to USC after serving as the head coach of the Mission Viejo (Calif.) Nadadores Diving Team since 1993. Li has had immediate success in his first two years at USC. Most recently, he guided Kellie Brennan to a pair of All-American honors (and her third consecutive Pac-10 1-meter title) and Nicci Fusaro to her first All-American honor last year at the 2001 NCAAs. Both also reached the top three at the 2001 U.S. Indoor Championships.

NCAA QUALIFIERS - Erik Vendt and Tamas Kerekjarto are the only two Trojan swimmers to have already posted NCAA automatic qualifying times this year. A handful of others have also posted B cuts. Below is a list of each swimmer and their NCAA A cuts.

Erik Vendt: 1650 Free (14:52.27 AUTOMATIC), 500 Free (4:20.27), 400 IM (3:48.45), 200y Breast (1:59.94).

Tamas Kerekjarto: 200 IM (1:45.74 AUTOMATIC), 200 Free (1:38.52), 400 IM (3:51.81), 100y Fly (48.52), 200y Fly (1:45.42).

Rodrigo Castro: 100 Free (44.57), 200 Free (1:37.05), 500 Free (4:24.18).

Jeff Lee: 200 Free (1:37.62), 100 Fly (47.43), 200 Fly (1:46.03).

Klete Keller: 200 Free (1:37.79), 500 Free (4:19.80).

Trent Staley: 200 Back (1:46.65), 200 Free (1:39.26), 500 Free (4:26.87).

Joel Everman: 500 Free (4:26.34), 1650 Free (15:15.83).

Mark Warkentin: 500 Free (4:26.50).

John Abercrombie: 200 Fly (1:47.73).

800 Free Relay: Lee, Castro, Kerekjarto, Keller (6:25.02, AUTOMATIC)

SPRINT FREE - Leading up to the meet against the Bay Area schools, USC's results have been modest in the sprint free. Senior sprinter Rodigro Castro has the only NCAA qualifying time in either the 50y or the 100y free with a 44.57 in the 100. Junior Jeff Lee has USC's top 50 time (20.54) and Castro has the second fastest 20.65).

MID-TO-DISTANCE FREE - USC is traditionally strong in this area and 2002 is no different, though the Trojans have produced only one automatic qualifying time thus far, belonging to Erik Vendt in the 1650y free (14:52.27). Rodrigo Castro (1:37.05) and Jeff Lee (1:37.62) own USC's top two times in the 200y free (both B cuts). Klete Keller (4:19.80) and Erik Vendt (4:20.27) have Troy's best times in the 500y free (B cuts) while Joel Everman's time of 15:15.83 is the second-best behind Vendt in the 1650.

INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY - Erik Vendt and Tamas Kerekjarto make up one of the best medley tandems in the country. Kerekjarto's time in the 200y IM (1:45.74) is an NCAA automatic and Vendt has the second best time in the event (1:50.53). Vendt is stronger in the 400y IM as evidenced by his team-best 3:48.45. Kerekjarto is right behind him at 3:51.81. Both are B cuts, but both are more than capable to post automatics in the event. Senior Mark Warkentin will also be a huge factor in this event before the year is through.

BUTTERFLY - A jack-of-all-trades, Tamas Kerekjarto has been just about as effective in the butterfly as he has been in the medley. Jeff Lee, however, owns USC's records in both the 100y and 200y fly and his 47.43 in the 100y fly this year is tops on the team. Kerekjarto's 48.52 is second best. Kerekjarto currently holds the best mark in the 200y fly (1:45.42) with Lee right behind at 1:46.03. Sophomore John Abercrombie has the third best marks in each event.

BREASTSTROKE - Erik Vendt and Tamas Kerekjarto aren't normally breaststroke specialists, but both currently stand atop USC's top times list in these events. Kerekjarto's 56.27 in the 100y breast is tops on the team while Vendt's 1:59.94 is fastest in the 200y breast. Ahmad Al-Kudmani is second-best in the 100 (57.11) while Kerekjarto holds that distinction in the 200 (2:02.87). Freshman Paul Fahey is third best in the 200 and may come on strong as the season progresses.

BACKSTROKE - Sophomore Trent Staley and Jeff Lee have been USC's top swimmers in the backstroke. Staley's time of 1:46.65 in the 200y back is an NCAA B cut and USC's best. Erik Vendt actually has the second best time in the event (1:47.67). Lee owns USC's top time in the 100y back (49.45) with Staley second (49.80). Oliver White and Tamas Kerekjarto could also figure in this event.

DIVERS - USC's top diver, Ray Vincent, has been out this year with injuries, leaving the Trojans inexperience on the boards. Freshman Justin Curtin, brought in for depth, is USC's top diver at the moment.

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