USC Faces Top-Ranked Auburn In Alabama

Jan. 15, 2004

USC's men's and women's swimming and diving teams wrap up non-conference competition with a bang this weekend when they travel to Alabama to face top-ranked and defending national champions Auburn on Saturday and Sunday (Jan. 17-18) in a two-day meet. Events for both days begin at 11 a.m. PST. The meet will also feature the North Baltimore Club team that features world recorder holder Michael Phelps. The meet with the Tigers is a first for the Trojans.

Auburn is ranked No. 1in both the men's and women's College Swim Coaches Association rankings. USC's women are No. 7 and the men are No. 10.

USC's women finished third at NCAAs in 2003, its highest standing since winning the team title in 1997. The Trojan men took fifth. Both the men and women finished third at the Pac-10 Championships. Texas' men's squad was second last year at the NCAAs while its women were seventh. Stanford's women's team was sixth.

USC's men's and women's teams defeated UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 10 on campus. Among the top swims of the meet were a pair of performances from junior Kaitlin Sandeno, who posted near-NCAA automatic times in wins in the 200m breast (2:32.00) and the 200m free (2:00.14). Senior Jana Krohn swam a season-best 1.00.63 in the 100m fly and freshman Kalyn Keller posted a season-best 2:14.54 in the 200m fly. For the men, senior Trent Staley swam a season-best 1:59.35 in the 200m back.

Kaitlin Sandeno opened the season blazing, posting four NCAA automatic times before the calendar hit November. She currently owns auto times in the 200m IM (2:13.32), 400m IM (4:39.15), 100m back (1:00.64, a USC record) and the 200m back (2:11.68). Freshman Kalyn Keller owns the squad's other NCAA auto time in the 1500m free (16:14.97). No one on the men's team has posted an NCAA A cut yet, though Ous Mellouli has posted NCAA consideration times in the 200m and 400m free and the 200m IM and Trent Staley has done the same in the 200m back.

Kaitlin Sandeno's times in the 400m and 200m IM , converted from meters to yards, are first and third in the country according to Taper and Shave's most recent national Top 50. Both of her backstrokes were also among the top 10. Kalyn Keller was No. 2 in the 500 free (converted from 400 meters) and was fourth in 1000m . Jana Krohn (100 fly) and Margie Pedder (200 fly) are also in the top 15. For the men, Ous Mellouli is first in the 400m IM and second in the 500m free.

USC's women's squad returns five All-Americans off of its third-place NCAA team. Junior Kaitlin Sandeno's five All-American performances topped the team (500y free, 400y IM, 1650y free, 400y medley relay and 800y free relay) while senior Jana Krohn turned in four (100y and 200y fly, 400y medley relay and 800y free relay). Junior Margie Pedder earned All-American nods in the 1650y free and the 800y free relay while sophomore Kammy Miller earned hers on the 400y medley relay. Senior diver Nicci Fusaro finalled on the 3-meter springboard to join the group. On the men's team, three Trojans with All-American credits last year are back. Sophomore Ous Mellouli leads the trio after turning in five All-American swims last year (500y free, 400y IM, 1650y free, 400y medley relay and 800y free relay). Senior Trent Staley earned his first ever in the 800y free relay and junior diver Ray Vincent also earned his first, coming on the 10-meter platform.

USC freshman Larsen Jensen, one of the top long-distance swimmers in the world, has decided to leave school for the spring semester to concentrate on training for the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials. He plans to return to school in the fall semester later this year.

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