Tara Kirk Wins 100 Breast, Stanford Moves Up To Third At NCAA's Friday

March 21, 2003

2003 NCAA Championships Website/Live Results

Auburn, Ala. - Tara Kirk won her third consecutive NCAA title in the 100 breast and eighth NCAA championship overall, while Stanford moved up two spots to third-place on the second day of the 2003 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships held Friday at the James E. Martin Aquatic Center. Kirk also remained unbeaten at Stanford in the event with her 27th straight 100 breast collegiate victory, recording a time of 58.62 to set a new NCAA Meet record and fall just .21 seconds shy of equaling her own American record of 58.41 she set on February 28 to win a 2003 Pac-10 title.

'Tara Kirk is just money in the 100 breast,' said Stanford head coach Richard Quick. 'She is consistent and strong, loves the event and races it so well. I'm really proud of her.'

'I'm always excited to win an NCAA championship,' added Kirk. 'The 100 (breast) is my favorite, but I'm also looking forward to swimming the 200 (breast) tomorrow.'

Kirk set the American record in the 200 breast at the 2002 NCAA Championships with a time of 2:07.36 and won the 2003 Pac-10 title on March 1 with a mark just .001 seconds shy of the record in 2:07.37.

Kirk's victory was Stanford's first of the three-day NCAA Championships and helped the Cardinal move up two spots to third-place overall with 202.5 points at the end of competition on the second day. Stanford will attempt to extend its string of consecutive top three finishes at the NCAA Championships to 23 when the event concludes on Saturday. The Cardinal has actually finished in the top three nationally for 27 straight seasons, beginning the string five years before the first NCAA Championships was held in 1982.

Defending champion and top-seeded Auburn continues to enjoy a comfortable lead after two days with 389 points. Georgia (262), Stanford, USC (198), Texas (192), Florida (192), SMU (188), California (154), Arizona (136) and Virginia (78) round out the top ten.

'I'm really proud of our team's effort today,' said Quick. 'We qualified in the right places in this morning's preliminaries, and then nearly everybody improved and moved up tonight.'

Stanford also had an excellent performance in the first event of the evening when a 200 free relay team of Amy Wagner, Tara Kirk, Dana Kirk and Sarah Jones finished second in a season-best time of 1:38.42 behind Auburn's American record performance (1:36.69). The Tigers broke the old American record held by Stanford (1:37.77, 1999) with a team of Jenni Anderson, Laura Swander, Margaret Hoelzer and Becky Short.

'Our team is really looking for points wherever we can get them,' explained Tara Kirk about the team's second-place relay showing. 'I think we are really working well together.'

Kristen Caverly (400 IM, 4:10.64) and Dana Kirk (100 fly, 52.94) both finished sixth in their respective finals. Kirk's time was her best as a collegian and ranks sixth on Stanford's all-time top 10 list.

Ashlee Rosenthal earned her second All-American diving honor in as many days and the third of her career by placing seventh in the three-meter diving competition with 508.10 points.

Stanford also had a key performance in the 800 free relay when a team of Lacey Boutwell, Dana Kirk, Caverly and Ashley Daly finished eighth by clocking in at 7:13.74, a time that was 7.23 seconds faster than the Cardinal recorded in a sixth-place finish at the Pac-10 Championships on February 28. Stanford was seeded 19th out of 20 teams entering the race.

Stanford also had a pair of swimmers in consolation finals Friday night.

Amy Wagner finished 13th overall in the 100 back, recording a time of 54.78 in her consolation final.

Kirsten Gilbert swam a career-best time of 1:01.80 in the 100 breast consolation final to finish 14th overall, move up one spot to fifth on Stanford's all-time top 10 list in the event and earn her first career All-American honor.

California's Natalie Coughlin won a pair of NCAA titles, taking both the 100 fly (50.62) and 100 back (50.92) for the third straight season and bringing her three-year total of NCAA individual championships to eight. Both times were pool records.

Auburn's Maggie Bowen won the 400 IM for the third straight season in a time of 4:06.15.North Carolina's Jessi Perruquet and Auburn's Heather Kemp shared the 200 free title when both finished in a time of 1:45.01.

Houston's Yulia Pakhalina won her second diving title in as many days by scoring 657.30 points in the three-meter event.

Auburn won its second relay event in the final race of the session when a team of Hoelzer, Kemp, Kirsty Coventry and Bowen broke an NCAA Meet record in 7:02.72.

Stanford had six other swimmers and divers participate in individual events during Friday's prelim session.

Lacey Boutwell (23rd, season-best 54.14), Ashley Daly (33rd, 54.98) and Laura Davis (34th, 54.99) competed in the 100 fly. Jones (29th, 55.39) and Megan Baumgartner (41st, 56.43) competed in the 100 back. McKenze Murphy was 30th in three-meter diving with 247.20 points.

Stanford had no participants in the 200 free.

Saturday's order of events will be the 1650 free, 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, 200 fly, platform diving and 400 free relay. The Cardinal will feature three individual top 10 seeds Saturday in Tara Kirk (200 breast, 2nd, 2:07.37), Dana Kirk (200 fly, 4th, 1:56.02) and Kirsten Caverly (200 breast, 10th, 2:12.96). The Cardinal also enters the final day's only relay event (400 free relay) seeded seventh with a qualifying time of 3:19.82.

Saturday's prelims will begin at 11:00 am with finals slated to start at 7:00 pm, CT.

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