Women's, Men's Swimming And Diving Open Season At Texas

Oct. 31, 2002

LOS ANGELES - USC's men's and women's swimming and diving teams open up the 2002-2003 season at Texas on Friday (Nov. 1) at 6 p.m. (CST) and Saturday (Nov. 2) at 12 p.m. (CST) at the Joe Jamail Texas Swim Center in Austin, Texas. The Trojan men will compete against Texas and Texas A&M while the USC women face Texas and Stanford.

RANKINGS - USC's men's team is ranked No. 5 in the first College Swim Coaches of America poll of the year (Oct. 25) while the women open at No. 8. Texas' men's team, the three-time defending NCAA champions, is No. 1 while the Longhorn women's team is No. 7. Texas A&M's men's team is No. 17 while the Stanford women are No. 2.

LAST YEAR VS. TEXAS - USC's men's team fell to Texas, 161-151, on the Trojan campus while the women's squad topped the Longhorns, 164-135. The men were ahead on points from the swimming portion of the meet, but injuries that decimated USC's diving squad last year enabled Texas to sweep the diving events. Michala Kwasny had a strong meet for the women, winning three events: the 200y fly, 200y IM and 200y breast. For the men, Erik Vendt won both the 400y IM and the 1650y free and was second to eventual NCAA champion Brendan Hansen in the 200y breast.

GETTING THEIR FEET WET - USC's only competition thus far was during the exhibition Cardinal and Gold meet on Oct. 18. Gold defeated Cardinal, 137.5 to 117.5. Senior co-captain Jeff Lee and freshman Ous Mellouli won twice for the gold. Senior co-captain Erik Vendt was a three-time winner for the Cardinal while junior Jana Krohn won a pair of events.

NOT MAKING A SPLASH - USC's diving contingent, especially on the women's side, is as potent a scoring threat as any in the country. Among the returning divers is sophomore Blythe Hartley, the 2002 NCAA Diver of the Year who won a pair of NCAA titles last year, and junior Nicci Fusaro, a three-time All-American last year. On the men's side, redshirt sophomore Ray Vincent is healthy for the first time in almost two seasons. Recovered from shoulder surgery that kept him out last year, Vincent is one of the top divers in the Pac-10.

RETURNING NCAA TITLE WINNERS - USC returns a pair of double-NCAA title winners from last year in senior Erik Vendt and sophomore Blythe Hartley. Vendt, a co-captain for the men's team, won the 1650y free last year as well as the 400y IM and was named 2002 NCAA Swimmer of the Year. Hartley became the first woman ever to win NCAA titles in the 1-meter and the platform in the same meet, earning 2002 NCAA Diver of the Year honors. In addition, senior co-captain Jeff Lee is the only swimmer back from Troy's NCAA title-winning 800y free relay.

RETURNING ALL-AMERICANS (MEN) - Erik Vendt, winner of the 400y IM and the 1650y free and second in the 500y free, and Jeff Lee, second in the 200y fly and fifth in the 100y fly, are USC's only returning All-Americans on the men's team.RETURNING ALL-AMERICANS (WOMEN) - USC's women's squad returns all but one of its eight All-Americans from last year's NCAA Championships. Sophomore Joanna Fargus (100y and 200y back and 400y and 800y free relay) was USC's only four-time All-American last year. Blythe Hartley and junior Nicci Fusaro each earned All-American honors in each diving event. Senior co-captain Michala Kwasny (200y fly, 400y IM, 400y free relay) and sophomore Kaitlin Sandeno (200y fly, 400y IM, 800y free relay) were both three-time All-Americans while senior Jennifer Parmenter (400y and 800y free relay) and junior Jana Krohn (100y fly) also return.

2002 NCAA, PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS - USC's women's team earned a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Championships, only a half of a point out of third place, and a second-place finish at the Pac-10s. The men's squad, meanwhile, took fifth at the NCAAs, five points out of fourth place, and finished fourth at the conference meet. In addition to Erik Vendt's and Blythe Hartley's NCAA titles, USC is defending a handful of Pac-10 titles. Vendt is the Pac-10 defending champ in the 500y and 1650y free while the Trojans are the defending champions of the 800y free relay. For the women, Michala Kwasny won the 400y IM, Hartley won the 1-meter while Nicci Fusaro won the 3-meter and platform.

MARK SCHUBERT - USC Coach Mark Schubert is in his 11th year at Troy. Two years 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 123-37. In his 33 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 fourth 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 and tremendous success in his first three years at USC. Most recently, he helped guide then-freshman Blythe Hartley to a pair of NCAA titles in 2002 and recognition as the 2002 NCAA and Pac-10 Diver of the Year. Also last year, then-sophomore Nicci Fusaro joined Hartley as USC's only two divers to earn All-American honors in all three diving specialties in one NCAA meet. In 2001, Li guided Kellie Brennan to a pair of All-American honors (and her third consecutive Pac-10 1-meter title) and Fusaro to her first All-American honor at the 2001 NCAAs. Both also reached the top three at the 2001 U.S. Indoor Championships.

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