Hartley Wins Platform For 2nd NCAA Title

March 23, 2002

AUSTIN, Tex. - USC freshman Blythe Hartley won the platform for her second title of the meet while sophomore Nicci Fusaro finalled for the third time as well to lead the Trojans to a fourth-place finish overall on the final day of the 2002 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships at the Jamail Texas Swim Center in Austin, Texas, on Saturday (March 23).

The Trojans finished fourth with 300.5 points, a half-point behind third-place Stanford.. Auburn won the team title with 474 points, followed by Georgia (386), Stanford (301), USC (300.05) and Arizona (291). USC could have been third had its 400y medley relay not been disqualified during the finals on Thursday for an early exchange. USC's finish was still its best since winning the NCAA title in 1997 and tied for its second-best finish under Mark Schubert.

Hartley, who won the 1-meter title on Thursday, became the first NCAA women's diver ever to win both the 1-meter springboard and the platform in the same NCAA Championships. Combined with Fusaro, they are the first Trojan women's divers ever to reach the finals in all three specialties. Hartley was first in the 1-meter and platform and third in the 3-meter while Fusaro was fifth in platform, seventh on 3-meter and eighth in the 1-meter.

'I am really pleased with what I did all-around. It was very consistent,' said Hartley, whose 56 individual points were third-best of the meet. 'It's been an exhausting week and I'm very tired, but I'm very happy with the results. It's almost an endurance competition. I could have been better tonight, but considering the circumstances, I have no complaints.'

Said USC head diving coach Hongping Li: 'Blythe was very steady and that's what she needed to do. Nicci had some outstanding dives, but just missed a couple which dropped her down a bit. But I'm very proud of both of them. It's very difficult to final in three boards three days in a row. They stood tough and were great athletes.'

Said USC Coach Mark Schubert: 'I'm very proud of the fact that after what was a devastating event, getting disqualified on a relay, the team really toughed it out and stayed in the meet. It's disappointing to not get third, but I don't think the girls could have tried any harder.

'I'm really impressed with all of the divers. Not just Blythe and Nicci, but Kellie Brennan too. She's been sick for much of the season and really gave a tremendous effort this week.

'I'm also very proud of Kristin MacGregor. For four years, she's been such a tremendous competitor. She swam a lifetime best split today in the relay. When it's on the line, nobody is better than her.'

Freshman Kaitlin Sandeno and junior Michala Kwasny both made the finals of the 200y fly. Sandeno, who was USC's highest finisher in the swimming events on Friday with a fourth in the 400y IM, took sixth in the 200y fly in 1:57.68. She finished just ahead of Kwasny, who was seventh in 1:57.91. Sophomore Jana Krohn was seventh in the consolation finals (15th overall) in 1:59.82

Freshman Joanna Fargus, who was sixth in the 100y back on Friday, finished seventh in the 200y back in 1:56.62. She qualified for the finals with the fifth fastest time (1:56.17). She is USC's first swimmer to make the finals of both the 100y and 200y back in the same NCAA meet since Hope Gittings did it in 1997. Senior Katie Meyer, in her second consolation appearance of the meet, was seventh (15th overall) in 1:58.49.

USC's 400y free relay set its second school record of the meet in finals. The unit of junior Jennifer Parmenter, MacGregor, Kwasny and Fargus broke its own record of 3:19.01 by going 3:18.76 for seventh in finals.

Parmenter broke an 18-year-old USC record in the prelims by leading off the 400y free relay with a 100y free split of 49.61, breaking Sue Habernigg's 1984 100y free mark of 49.66. That set the tone for the USC relay that broke the 1996 mark, broken again in finals..

Junior Asa Sandlund finished 10th in the timed finals of the 1650y free in 16:20.61 while sophomore Melissa Deary was 24th in 16:40.46.

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