No. 2 Men, No. 12 Women Host Arizona, Arizona State

Nov. 18, 2004

The USC men's and women's swimming and diving teams open 2004-05 Pac-10 competition when they host Arizona and Arizona State this weekend at USC's McDonald's Swim Stadium. USC's men's team will host both Arizona schools' men's teams over both Friday (Nov. 19) and Saturday (Nov. 20) in a two-day dual meet format. Meanwhile, USC's women's team will square off against Arizona in a 16-event format on Friday and repeat the format against the Sun Devils on Saturday.

The USC men are ranked No. 2 while the women are No. 12. Arizona's women's team is No. 5 and the men are No. 6. Both of Arizona State's teams are ranked No. 19.

USC's women team finished ninth at NCAAs in 2004 and sixth in the highly competitive Pac-10. The Trojan men took 14th in the NCAAs and fourth at the conference meet. The Texas men were third at the NCAAs a year ago while the women were eighth.

Arizona swept both the USC men and women last year and Arizona State also got the better of the men's team. USC's women, however, knocked off Arizona State by one point.

The USC men's team dominated highly ranked Texas earlier this year in Austin, Texas, running away with the two-day dual meet, 240.5-122.5. The women swam well but fell, 230-123. The Trojan men won 17 of 18 events, dominating from start to finish. Junior Ous Mellouli and sophomore Viktor Bodrogi were both triple winners for the men while the women were led by freshmen Rhi Jeffrey and Emily Goetsch, who both both posted one first-place and one second-place finish.

The USC men's team returns back junior Ous Mellouli (400m IM, 1500m Free) and seniors Paul Fahey (400m IM) and Ray Vincent (platform diving). The men also return 2003 All-American breaststroker Mihaly Flaskay (who did not attend USC in 2004 while training to qualify for the Olympics in his native Hungary) and sophomore Larsen Jensen, a 2004 Olympic silver medalist who skipped the second half of the 2004 season to train for the U.S. Olympic Trials.

The Trojan women return sophomore Kalyn Keller (400m and 1500m free), senior Joanna Fargus (800 F.R.) and sophomore Cait Connealy (800 F.R.). The women also return former All-American diver and NCAA title winner Blythe Hartley, who did not compete last year while training for the 2004 Olympics. She returns as a redshirt junior after earning a combined (and maximum) six All-American honors her first two years at USC.

The women's squad features three Trojans who competed at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. Diver Blythe Hartley (competing for Canada) won bronze on the 10-meter synchronized platform and also reached the final of the 3-meter individual springboard. Sophomore Kalyn Keller was a finalist in the 800m freestyle (taking fourth) and also swam in the 400m free. Freshman Rhi Jeffrey won a gold medal in Athens as part of the 4x200m free relay (on the prelim swim). USC's men's Olympians are led by Larsen Jensen, who was a silver medallist in the 1500m freestyle and took fourth in the 400m free. Junior Ous Mellouli, competing for Tunisia, was a finalist in the 400m IM and raced in the 1500m free (Mellouli, in fact, recently won gold in the 400m IM and a bronze in the 200m IM at the 2004 Short Course World Championships). Viktor Bodrogi and Gergely Meszaros (both competing for Hungary) also were in Athens on the men's side.

USC will be without a handful of top swimmers from the 2004 squad, none bigger than Kaitlin Sandeno. Sandeno used a standout 2004 NCAA Championships as a junior (she won two titles and was second in another race) as a springboard to an eye-popping U.S. Olympic Trials (where she qualified for four races) and Olympic performance in Athens (where she won three medals). But she decided to turn pro before the Olympics and gave up her final year of eligibility at USC (though she still attends school at the university). Also gone on the women's side is one of the school's top butterflyers in Jana Krohn, top distance swimmer in Margie Pedder as well as All-American diver Nicci Fusaro. The men lost key backstroker and freestyler Trent Staley (a multi-Pac-10 finalist).