Sandeno, Keller Lead Charge Into NCAA Championships

March 15, 2004

USC's No. 11 women's swimming and diving team begins competition in the 2004 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships this week at Texas A&M in College Station, Texas. The competition runs Thursday through Saturday (March 18-20). Prelims begin at 11 a.m. and finals begin at 7 p.m. each day (CST). Two-time 2004 Pac-10 title winners Kaitlin Sandeno and Kalyn Keller lead the charge for the eight-woman contingent.

USC co-captains Kaitlin Sandeno and Jana Krohn lead the Trojans' eight-swimmer contingent into the NCAA Championships. Sandeno, a junior, has eight All-American honors while Krohn, a senior, has a team-high nine ... The Trojans haven't won an individual swimming title since Lindsay Benko's win in the 500y free in 1999. Sandeno and freshman Kalyn Keller are USC's two most likely bets to end the drought. Both are coming off stellar Pac-10 Championship performances in which each won a pair of conference titles, breaking Pac-10 meet and USC records en route to the wins. Keller won both the 500y free (4:37.76) and 1650y free (15:48.99) while Sandeno won hers in the 400y IM (4:05.74) and 200y fly (1:52.63). All four of the above times are the fasted in the country as of March 9 according to Taper and Shave ... Combined with four titles from last year (including one relay), Sandeno now has six Pac-10 wins, tying her with former USC great Lindsay Benko for the most ever as a Trojan ... Krohn has been USC's most reliable butterflyer since she's been at USC and has also been a valuable relay swimmer. She has made the finals of the 100y fly each of the last three seasons and has made the 200y finals twice ... One of USC's top stories this year is the return of backstroker Joanna Fargus, who struggled for most of her sophomore season last year while recovering from a severely broken ankle. An All-American as a freshman in 2002, she is healthy again and has come on as a junior in 2004 and made the finals of both the 100y and 200y back at the Pac-10 Championships. Her 1:56.49 was good enough for third at the Pac-10s and less than a tenth of a second from first ... A little overlooked among USC's strong individual performances was junior Margie Pedder, Fargus' Great Britain compatriot. Pedder posted a pair of top eight finishes, taking eighth in the 500y free and second to teammate Keller in the mile (16:03.08). Pedder is the third-fastest Trojan ever in the mile and she is also tough in the 200y fly ... Junior Marisa Kozak is making her second consecutive trip to the NCAA Championships after debuting last year as a consolation finalist in the 100y back ... Sophomore Stacy Vazhenin will make her NCAA debut after a great Pac-10 Championships where she was fifth in the 500y free and was the consolation champ in both the 200y and 400y IM ... Also making her NCAA debut is freshman Cait Connealy, an up-and-coming sprint and middle distance freestyler ... USC is looking to maintain its streak of 10 consecutive top seven finishes.

Junior Kaitlin Sandeno owns the nation's top times in the 400y IM (405.74) and the 200y fly (1:52.63) according to the last top 50 listings provided by Taper and Shave. She also owns top three times in the 200 free (1:45.18, converted from scm) and the 200 IM (1:57.53). Meanwhile, freshman Kalyn Keller owns the top times in the 500y free (4:37.76) and the 1650y free (15:48.99). Junior Margie Pedder's 16:03.08 is the third-fastest time in the mile this year while senior Jana Krohn owns a top 12 200y fly time. Pedder and sophomore Stacy Vazhenin also both own top 25 500y fly times.

USC's women's squad returned five All-Americans off of its third-place NCAA team, though only three will be competing at the 2004 NCAA Championships. 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.

Mark Schubert
USC Coach Mark Schubert is in his 12th 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. Three years ago, he finished a stint as head coach of the U.S. men's swim team at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. Since he has been at USC, the men's and women's swimming programs are a combined 133-43. 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.

Hongping Li
An NCAA champion and two-time Olympian, Hongping Li is in his fifth 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 four years at USC. In 2003, he helped guide Blythe Hartley and Nicci Fusaro to All-American showings at the NCAA Championships. Hartley was a three-time All-American for the second year in a row while Fusaro earned All-American honors for the third year in a row. Hartley, the 2002 NCAA Women's Diver of the Year, repeated as Pac-10 Women's Diver of the Year and Li repeated as Pac-10 Women's Diving Coach of the Year. In 2002, Fusaro joined with Hartley to become 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.

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