Women's Swimming, Diving Set For NCAA Championships

March 18, 2003

USC's No. 9 women's swimming and diving team (5-3, 3-2 in the Pac-10, third at the Pac-10 Championships) will compete at the 2003 NCAA Championships in Auburn, Ala., from Thursday to Saturday (March 20-22). Under 10th-year Coach Mark Schubert, the women's team has finished in the top 5 four of the last nine years and won the team national title in 1997. Schubert's teams have never finished lower than seventh at the NCAAs.


Sophomore Blythe Hartley, the 2002 NCAA Woman's Diver of the Year, returns to defend her NCAA titles in the 1-meter and the platform ... The Trojans haven't won an individual swimming title since Lindsay Benko's win in the 500y free in 1999. Sophomore Kaitlin Sandeno, however, is USC's top candidate to end the drought. A three-time Pac-10 champion this year, Sandeno's times in the 400y IM, 500y free and 1650y free are among the top 3 in the country and she has set USC records in each event this season ... USC is looking for its first relay title since the 1994 squad won the 800y free relay. That's the Trojans' best shot this year as well. Three weeks ago, USC won its first ever Pac-10 relay in that same event ... Senior co-captain Michala Kwasny is USC's current leader in All-American performances with nine, including three last season. She has been an NCAA individual finalist six times in her career, including three top 3 finishes in 2001 ... Junior diver Nicci Fusaro, like teammate Hartley, reached the finals of all three diving events in 2002. Fusaro and Hartley were the first Trojans ever to pull off the feat ... Junior Jana Krohn, injured for most of the 2002 season, appears to have regained the form that made her a four-time All-American as a freshman in 2001 and remains among the top butterflyers in the country ... Maybe one of the biggest surprises of the season has been the distance talent of sophomore Margie Pedder, who joined England compatriot Joanna Fargus on the squad this season. She came in as a fly specialist, but has become a stalwart in the distance freestyle and will challenge for All-American honors in both the 500y and 1650y free ... Sophomore Marisa Kozak made a pair of Pac-10 finals for the first time of her career this season (200y back, 200y IM) and is looking to make her debut as an NCAA point-scorer ... Freshmen Kammy Miller and Joy Galloway have both shown the potential to be factors at the NCAAs, Miller in the breaststroke and Galloway in the distance events.


Nicci Fusaro (1-meter, 3-meter, platform); Joy Galloway (500y free, 1650y free, 400y IM); Blythe Hartley (1-meter, 3-meter, platform); Marisa Kozak (100y back, 200y back, 100y fly); Jana Krohn (100y fly, 200y fly, 500y free); Michala Kwasny (200y IM, 400y IM, 200y Fly); Kammy Miller (100y breast, 200y breast, 200y IM); Margie Pedder (500y free,1650y free, 200y fly); Kaitlin Sandeno (500y free, 1650y free, 400y IM); Asa Sandlund (200y free, 500y free, 1650y free).


Including USC's 800y free relay win, the Trojans won a combined nine titles at the 2003 Pac-10 Championships en route to a third-place finish. The nine titles were by far the most of any school and the most ever by a Women of Troy squad in Pac-10 competition. The last USC team to win more was the 1982 team that won a combined 13 titles in the Western Collegiate Athletic Association ... Kaitlin Sandeno was USC's first swimmer to win three conference titles (400y IM, 500y free, 1650y free) since Lindsay Benko in 1999 ... Blythe Hartley became only the second Pac-10 woman ever to sweep the diving events at the conference championships and the first since 1988 ... Senior co-captain Michala Kwasny won her third and fourth career Pac-10 titles in the 200y IM and the 200y fly ... USC's win in the 800y free relay at the Pac-10s was its first relay win ever at the conference meet.


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.


USC Coach Mark Schubert was selected as the United States head coach for women's swimming at the 2004 Olympic Games on Monday (Feb. 10). It will be his seventh consecutive Olympic coaching stint and his third as a head coach. He was the men's head coach in 2000 and the women's head coach in 1992.

FAST TIMES (WOMEN)Sophomore Kaitlin Sandeno's times are littered all over the nation's top times list. She currently has the second fastest time in the 1650y free (15:54.41) and third in the the 400y IM (4:09.14) and the 500y free (4:39.50). She's also fifth in the 200y fly (1:56.00). Senior Michala Kwasny is third in the 200y IM (1:58.00) and the 200y fly (1:55.75) and fifth in the 400y IM (4:10.76). Junior Jana Krohn is fifth in the 100y fly (52.91) and eighth in the 200y fly (1:57.13). Sophomore Margie Pedder is fourth in the 1650y free (16:04.94) and 13th in the 200y fly and 14th in the 500y free. Freshman Kammy Miller is 12th in the 200y breast (2:13.07). Senior Asa Sandlund is 15th in the 1650y free (16:21.75). Troy's 800y free relay best of 7:12.49 is sixth best in the nation.


Trojans with NCAA automatic qualifying times include: Kaitlin Sandeno (500y free, 4:39.50; 1650y free, 15:54.41; 400y IM, 4:09.14; 200y fly, 1:56.00; 100y back, 54.78), Michala Kwasny (200y IM, 1:58.00; 400y IM, 4:10.76; 200y fly, 1:55.75), Jana Krohn (100y fly, 52.91; 200y fly, 1:57.13), Margie Pedder (500y free, 4:44.88; 1650y free, 16:04.94; 200y fly, 1:57.75), Asa Sandlund (1650y free, 16:21.75) and Kammy Miller (100y breast, 1:02.00; 200y breast, 2:13.07).


USC's women's squad returns all but two 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 junior Jana Krohn (100y fly) also returns.


USC Coach Mark Schubert is in his 11th year at Troy. He will make his seventh consecutive Olympic coaching appearance in 2004 when he directs the U.S. women's team in Athens, Greece. 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.


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.


Both the men's and women's team fell in hard-fought meets at Texas. The men lost to the top-ranked Longhorns, 208-143, while the women were edged on the final relay, 177-176. Erik Vendt won five events over the two-day meet (200y and 400y IM, 500y and 1650y free and 200y breast) while freshman Mihaly Flaskay scored an impressive win in the 100y breast and sophomore Ray Vincent won the 3-meter springboard. Sophomore Kaitlin Sandeno won four times (400y IM, 200y back and 500y and 1650y free) while Blythe Hartley won both springboard events.


The men's team swept Arizona (175-66) and Arizona State (139-104) while the women did the same against the Wildcats (142-101) and the Sun Devils (174-125). As has been the case in the early part of the season, senior Erik Vendt and freshman Ous Mellouli led the way for the men in the double-dual meet. Vendt won the 1000y free and the 200y breast while Mellouli won the 200y and 500y free. Senior Michala Kwasny, sophomore Kaitlin Sandeno and sophomore Margie Pedder each won two races against Arizona while Kwasny and senior Asa Sandlund won twice each against Arizona State.


The men's and women's teams had little trouble with their non-conference tune-up meets against UC Santa Barbara, Cal State Bakersfield and Pacific. The men's and women's teams breezed by the Gauchos in Santa Barbara and then swept Pacific and Bakersfield in Los Angeles.


USC fell at both California (167-133) and at Stanford (164-136), but both meets were quite close and provided a preview for how competitive the Pac-10 Championships will be. Freshman Margie Pedder won twice at Cal, complimenting diving's sweep. Senior Michala Kwasny won the 200y IM while Kaitlin Sandeno swam a season's best in the 200y free. Pedder won twice more at Stanford and senior co-captain Asa Sandlund and sophomore Blythe Hartley also won twice, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Cardinal.


USC defeated its crosstown rival, UCLA, 162-138, on Feb. 15. Kaitlin Sandeno won three races (200y back, 200y fly, 200y free), diver Blythe Hartley won twice and senior co-captains Michala Kwasny (400y IM) and Asa Sandlund (500y free) posted first-place finishes in the final home meet of their careers.


USC sophomore Blythe Hartley swept the 1-meter, 3-meter and platform events at the Trojan Diving Invitational Nov. 7-9. Fellow sophomore Ray Vincent also won the 1-meter and the platform.

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