Men's Swimming At NCAA Championships

March 26, 2002

The No. 8 USC men's swimming and diving team will compete in the 2002 NCAA Championships Thursday through Saturday (March 28-30) at the Gabrielsen Center at the University of Georgia in Athans, Ga. Prelims begin at 11 a.m. and finals are at 7 p.m. each day. (EST).

SO FAR - USC is 4-5 and is ranked No. 8 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 came back with four consecutive wins over non-conference foes, defeating UC Santa Barbara, Pacific, Cal State Bakersfield and UC Irvine. The Trojans finished the dual-meet season hosting the Bay Area schools, but fell to both Cal and Stanford. In the meet against the Cardinal, 10 pool records were broken, two by Erik Vendt and one by Klete Keller. At the Pac-10 Championships, USC was fourth.

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.

2002 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS - The USC men's team is sending 10 swimmers to this year's championships. They are: Rodrigo Castro (100y free, 200y free, 500y free), Joel Everman (500y free, 1650y free), Paul Fahey (200y IM, 400y IM, 200y breast), Mike Gausman (200y IM, 100y fly, 200y fly), Klete Keller (200y free, 500y free, 1650y free), Tamas Kerekjarto (200y IM, 400y IM, 200y fly), Jeff Lee (500y free, 100y fly, 200y fly), Trent Staley (200y free, 500y free, 200y back), Erik Vendt (500y free, 1650y free, 400y IM), Mark Warkentin (500y free, 1650y free, 400y IM).

TELEVISION COVERAGE -The 2002 NCAA Division I Men's Swimming and Diving Championships will be televised by ESPN on a tape delay basis. Chris Marlowe will call the action with Rowdy Gaines providing swimming analysis and Cynthia Potter adding diving commentary. Air date currently is scheduled for Friday, April 12 at 2 p.m. (EST). A second broadcast is scheduled for Monday, April 29 at 2 p.m. (EST) on ESPN2.

USC CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY - The Trojans have won nine NCAA team tiles (1960, 1963-66, 1974-77) and have finished in the Top 10 all but three years since 1960. During Coach Mark Schubert's nine years with the team, the Trojans have finished among the Top 7 seven times, including fourth last year, the highest finish for the team under Schubert. USC's most recent individual NCAA title winner is Klete Keller, who won the 200y and 500y free in 2001. Current teammate Erik Vendt won the 1500m free in 2000 while Lenny Krayzelburg won the 200y back in 1997. Overall, USC has won 85 individual NCAA titles and 17 relay titles.

2001 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS - USC's men's squad remained among the top in the nation in 2002. 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.

2002 PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS - The USC men's team finished fourth at the 2001 Pacific-10 Conference Championships. Erik Vendt won titles in the 500y free and 1650y free while Klete Keller won the 200y free. For the second consecutive year, the Trojans' 800y free relay set a Pac-10 meet record. This year, the squad of Jeff Lee, Rodrigo Castro, Vendt and Keller finished first in 6:24.62.

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.

SPRINT FREE - USC will have no entries in the 50y free at the NCAAs while senior Rodrigo Castro will be the Trojans' lone entry in the 100y free. His 100y time of 43.80 is top on the team.

MID-TO-DISTANCE FREE - USC is traditionally strong in this area and 2002 is no different. Klete Keller, Rodrigo Castro and Trent Staley will all swim the 200y free at NCAAs while seven of USC's 10 entries will swim the 500y free (Castro, Keller, Joel Everman, Jeff Lee, Staley, Erik Vendt and Mark Warkentin). Everman, Vendt and Warkentin will also swim the 1650y free. Keller owns USC's top time in the 200y free (1:35.25) while Vendt has USC's top times in the 500y free (4:16.31, second-best in the nation) and the 1650y free (14:44.22, best in the nation). Keller's 4:18.65 in the 500y free and 15:02.22 in the 1650y free are the sixth best times, respectively in the country.

INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY - Erik Vendt and Tamas Kerekjarto make up one of the best medley tandems in the country. Vendt, Kerekjarto, Mark Warkentin and Paul Fahey will all swim the 400y IM at NCAAs while Fahey, Kerekjarto and Mike Guasman will swim the 200y IM. Vendt (3:44.53) and Kerekjarto (3:46.04) have the third and seventh best times in the country, respectively, in the 400y IM while Kerejarto's 1:45.74 in the 200y IM is fourth best in the nation.

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. Lee and Mike Gausman will both swim the 100y fly while Lee, Gausman and Kerekjarto will swim the 200y fly. All three are among the Top 20 fastest in the country in the 200y fly while Lee is among the Top 20 in the 100y fly.

BREASTSTROKE - Paul Fahey is USC's only entry in either breast event at NCAA, swimming the 200y breast. Erik Vendt actually has USC's top time in the event (1:59.05) but will not swim it at NCAAs.

BACKSTROKE - Trent Staley is USC's only entry in the 200y back whle the Trojans have no entries in the 100y back.

DIVERS - Troy will not have any divers at NCAAs. 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, was USC's top diver this season.

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