Divers, Women's Swimmers Travel To Pac-10 Championships

Feb. 25, 2003

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This Week
The No. 15 Arizona State women's swimmers and both the men's and women's divers are at their respective Pac-10 Championships Feb. 27 - Mar. 1, in Federal Way, Washington. Swimming prelims begin each day at 11 a.m. with finals at 6 p.m. Diving begins each day around 1 p.m. Event are held at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center. On March 2, the Pac-10 Invitational for women will be held as an approved 'Last Chance' Meet. This gives the athletes one last official attempt at clocking NCAA qualifying standards.

The Polls
The CSCAA released its seventh poll of the season on February 13. The ASU men are 14th while the women are 15th. For the complete poll, visit www.cscaa.org, or see the complete version of this release.

Swimming At Pac-10 Championships
The Sun Devils have finished in sixth place at the last seven Pac-10 Women's Swimming Championships. Prior to that, they finished fourth in 1995 and second in 1994. At last year's meet, �gnes Kov�cs won the 200 breast in a Pac-10 record time of 2:07.75 to become the Sun Devils' first individual conference champion since 1995. The team also notched four runner-up finishes and seven school records at last year's competition.

Diving At Pac-10 Championships
Although the diving squads compete in their own Pac-10 Championships, their scores contribute to the school's overall score in figuring conference team finishes for the men and the women. The women's scores figure in immediately while the scores from men's diving come into play at the Pac-10 Men's Swimming Championships Mar. 6-8. The divers had their greatest success at last year's championship meet on the 1-meter springboard, with former Sun Devil Natalie Burgess placing sixth for the women, and Thomas McCrummen and Gordon Blukis placing third and fifth for the men respectively.

Women's Swimming Notes
Sophomore �gnes Kov�cs leads the way for the women's swimmers as they head into the Pac-10 Championships. She will aim to defend her Pac-10 title in the 200 breast, an event in which she holds the conference record (2:07.75) that she set at last year's meet. Kov�cs' subsequent time of 2:07.64 at the 2002 NCAAs stands as the ASU record. She comes into this week's competition ranked No. 2 nationally in both the 100 breast (59.92) and 200 breast (2:09.90) and ranked No. 3 nationally in the 200 IM (1:58.13). Senior Claire Hedenskog is a force in the sprint freestyle events and enters her final conference meet as the school record holder in the 50 free (23.10). She has six dual victories in the 50 free this year. Junior transfer Petra Banovic is ASU's top performer in four events this season (200 free, 500 free, 200 back and 200 fly) and is in the squad's top two in eight events. She sports six NCAA 'B' consideration times, and is five-hundredths of a second off of a seventh in the 200 back. Four of the Sun Devils five relays are in the national top ten including the 400 free relay (#4, 3:20.14), the 800 free relay (#9, 7:23.50), the 200 medley relay (#10, 1:42.38) and the 400 medley relay (#9, 3:42.47).

Diving Notes
A pair of newcomers to this season's squad will lead the diving contingent into the Pac-10 Diving Championships. Sophomore transfer Trisha Tumlinson has set school records on both the platform (453.15) and the 1-meter optionals (300.25) during the '02-'03 campaign for the women and she registered five dual victories on the 1-meter this year. On the men's side, freshman Joona Puhakka has made his mark as a Sun Devil by going undefeated in nine meets on the 1-meter optionals and setting a school record in the 3-meter, 6 dive (387.90) this season. Futhermore, Puhakka's 391.50 on the 1-meter at the Dallas Morning News Classic set a meet record and was less than a point off of the Arizona State record. Sophomore Thomas McCrummen, last year's Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year for diving, has also turned in very strong performances this year and has recorded NCAA provisional qualifying standards on both the 1-meter and 3-meter.

ASU, Last Time In The Pool
The Sun Devils closed out their dual meet seasons in Tucson on February 15, with both the men's and women's squads taking losses to Arizona. The women fell 166-131 to the No. 6 Wildcats, the highest-ranked women's team in the Pac-10. Divers Trisha Tumlinson and Jessica Stenson led the way, finishing 1-2 in both the 1-meter and 3-meter events. Claire Hedenskog notched victories in both the 50 free and the 100 free for the only other Sun Devil individual wins on the day. That marked the fourth time this season that Hedenskog has swept both the 50 and the 100 in a dual meet. The ASU men were beaten by the narrowest of margins against the Wildcats 150-149, as each school won eight of the 16 events on the afternoon. Joona Puhakka recorded first place in both the 1-meter and 3-meter diving events to join Ahmed Hussein as a two-event winner on the afternoon for the Sun Devils. Hussein and Christian Harcsas finished 1-2 in both the 100 and 200 back. Nick Brunelli won the 200 free while Leonardo Martins won the 200 breast and Derek Miller grabbed first in the 1000 free for ASU. The 150-149 scoreline represented the closest meet the Sun Devil men have been a part of since the 1988-89 season when they were edged by California 57-56 in Tempe. During the 1990s, the men's team was involved in only two meets that were comparably close: a 151-149 win against Arizona in '93-'94 and a 124-122 loss to California in the '97-'98 season.

Follow The Action Online
The meet in Federal Way this weekend can be followed online on an event-by-event basis in real time. California, the host institution, will have live updates on their Pac-10 Championships website at: http://calbears.ocsn.com/sports/w-swim/spec-rel/2003-pac10-championships....

Up Next For The Sun Devils
The women's squad will send qualified swimmers to the NCAA Championships Mar. 20-22 in Auburn, Ala. Both sets of divers will vie for spots in their respective national championships when they travel to Okalahoma City, Okla., for the NCAA Zone E Diving Championships Mar. 13-14. The men's swimmers will compete at the Pac-10 Men's Swimming Championships Mar. 6-8 in Long Beach, Calif.

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