Vendt, Keller Again Lead USC Qualifiers At NCAAs

March 29, 2002

Junior Erik Vendt was the top qualifier in the 400y IM while sophomore Klete Keller, after winning the 500y free the night before, qualified third in the 200y free during prelims of the second day of the 2002 Men's NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships at Georgia's Gabrielsen Center on Friday.

Vendt, who finished second in the 500y free on Thursday, qualified first in the 400y IM in 3:44.41, a Gabrielsen Center pool record. Senior Tamas Kerekjarto, who finalled in the 200y IM on Thursday, qualified for finals with the third-fastest time in 3:45.45, a personal-best.

Keller, who successfully defended his 500y free title last night, is trying to do the same in the 200y free. He swam the third-fastest time of the morning, going 1:35.37, less than a tenth of a second behind top qualifier Stephen Sioui of Florida (1:35.30) and second-place Dan Ketchum of Michigan (1:35.34). Senior Rodrigo Castro, eighth in the 200y free last year at NCAAs, qualified for the finals again with the fifth-fastest time in 1:35.63.

Junior Jeff Lee, seventh in the 500y free on Friday, reached the finals of the 100y fly for the second consecutive season, qualifying with the sixth-fastest time of the morning (46.86).

USC's 200y medley relay qualified for the consolation finals, swimming the 15th best time of the morning. The squad of sophomore Trent Staley, Vendt, Lee and Castro went 1:29.59, earning a second swim.

Senior Mark Warkentin qualified for the consolation finals of the 400y IM with the 15th fastest time in prelims (3:49.00).

Other USC finishers were freshman Paul Fahey, 28th in the 400y IM (3:54.53), sophomore Mike Gausman, 36th in the 100y fly (48.59) and Staley, 25th in the 200y free (1:37.85).

The 800y free relay, traditionally a strong event for the Trojans, will be a timed final. USC's squad swims in the third and final heat. Troy did not have anyone entered in the 100y breast nor the 100y back.

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

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