Four Swimmers Earn Finals Berths On First Day Of NCAAs

March 28, 2002

Juniors Erik Vendt and Jeff Lee, sophomore Klete Keller and senior Tamas Kerekjarto all swam well enough to qualify for the championship finals during prelims of the first day of the 2002 Men's NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships at Georgia's Gabrielsen Center on Thursday (March 28).

Vendt, third in the 500y free at last years NCAAs, qualified for finals with the second-fastest time of the morning (4:17.58). Keller, the defending NCAA champion in the event, had the fourth-fastest time (4:17.74).

Lee earned a berth in finals in the 500y free by going seventh-fastest (4:18.61) today. Lee's swim is especially noteworthy considering he didn't compete in the event at last year's NCAAs. In 2000, when the meet was in short course meters, he swam the 400m free but was 18th, not qualifying for a second swim.

Kerekjarto, who missed the 2002 Pac-10 Championships after suffering an injury during warm-ups on the first day, returned to competition healthy today, qualifying for the championship finals of the 200y IM with the sixth-best time of the morning (1:45.66). He was fourth in the event last year at NCAAs and won the consolation final heat of the event in 2000.

Senior Rodrigo Castro earned a spot in the consolation finals of the 500y free, taking 12th this morning in 4:20.41. Senior Mark Warkentin missed the consolation cut in the event, finishing 18th (4:22.76). Sophomore Trent Staley was 20th (4:23.21) while senior Joel Everman was 30th (4:27.04).

Sophomore Mike Gausman was 38th in the 200y IM (1:50.07) while freshman Paul Fahey was 42nd (1:50.77).

The Trojans were disqualified in the 400y medley relay. USC did not have anyone entered in the 50y free nor the 200y free relay. USC also does not have any divers at the meet.

Finals begin tonight at 7 p.m. (EST).

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