Trojans Have Strong Second Day Of Prelims At NCAA Championships

March 28, 2003

Austin, TX - Dominant 400y medley swims from senior Erik Vendt and freshman Ous Mellouli, an impressive 200y free from senior Jeff Lee, a quick 100y breast from freshman Mihaly Flaskay and another strong medley relay colored USC's fantastic second day of prelims of the 2003 NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships at Texas in Austin on Friday (March 28).

Later today, sophomore Ray Vincent will compete in the 3-meter springboard while USC's 800y free relay will race in the final heat of timed finals at the end of the evening.

Vendt, fresh off of his win in the 500y free on Thursday, qualified with the top time in the 400y IM, an easy 3:43.88 that saw him cruise the final 100 yards of freestyle. He will defend his NCAA title in the event from lane four tonight.

Swimming to his right in lane three will be Mellouli, who qualified for the finals with the third-fastest time of the day, a season best mark of 3:45.57 that makes him the fourth-fastest Trojan ever in the event (Vendt owns the school record at 3:40.65). For Mellouli, it's his second final in as many days after taking third in the 500y free.

Lee qualified seventh in the 200y free in 1:35.59, just off of his personal best of 1:35.30. Lee's final 50 yards made the difference in the race, his final split of 23.93 faster than all but two competitors. Lee reached the final of this event as a freshman in 2000 when it was swum in short course meters.

Flaskay, the Pac-10 champion in the 100y breast, qualified fifth for the championship final in the event with a 53.73. He will likely challenge the school record in the event of 53.34 owned by Ryosuke Imai. Flaskay went 53.36 at the Pac-10s.

USC's 200y medley relay of junior Jordie Proffitt, Flaskay, Lee and sophomore Mike Stoller qualified for the championships finals tonight after finishing sixth overall this morning in 1:27.77. The time was just off the school record of 1:27.44, set by the same foursome a few weeks ago at the Pac-10 Championships.

Sophomore Paul Fahey earned his first second swim at the NCAAs, qualifying for the consolation finals of the 400y IM after taking 16th in prelims in 3:50.03. He was 28th in the event last year.

USC had three swimmers in the 100y fly, but none qualified for a second race. Junior J.D. Abercrombie was 23rd in 47.84, junior Mike Gausman was 26th in 48.17 and David Ringe was 37th in 48.65. Other USC finishers included Proffitt in the 100y back (49.35), 33rd), junior Trent Staley (200y free, 1:37.65, 27th) and senior Erik Tolmachoff (200y free, 42nd, 1:39.32).

Finals for Friday begin at 7 p.m. CST.

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