Jeffrey, Soni, Hartley, Keller Lead Trojan Win Over UCLA; Troy Also Scores 5 Lexus Gauntlet Points

Feb. 11, 2006

The No. 11 USC women's swimming and diving team, which got three wins from both sophomore Rhi Jeffrey and freshman Rebecca Soni and two each from senior Blythe Hartley and junior Kalyn Keller, set seven UCLA pool records and one Trojan school record en route to a 177-123 dual-meet victory over the No. 7 Bruins on Saturday (Feb. 11) in Westwood.

USC improved to 4-4 overall, 2-3 in Pac-10 action, while UCLA dropped to 7-3, 3-3. The win also ended a two-year losing streak to the Bruins and marked Troy's 11th win in the last 13 years against UCLA.

The victory also gave USC five points toward their school's Lexus Gauntlet total. USC now holds a 37.5 to 15 point lead over the Bruins. The Lexus Gauntlet is a season-long competition between USC and UCLA in all sports. Points are awarded to the winner of each Bruin-Trojan head-to-head contest throughout the year and the Lexus Gauntlet trophy is awarded to the school with the most points at year's end.

USC opened the meet with a school record in the 200y medley relay as the quartet of sophomore Hayley McGregory and freshmen Soni, Kristen Lahey and Missy McIntyre won in 1:39.97. The previous Trojan record was held by Joanna Fargus, Kristin MacGregor, Karen Campbell and Paige Francis (now a USC assistant coach), who swam 1:40.56 at the 2002 NCAA Championships. USC's win was also its first pool record of the day.

Keller then turned in her first of two first-place performances, breezing to a win in the 1650y free (16:18.64) by more than seven seconds. She later won the 500y free in 4:44.98, again by a wide margin.

Jeffrey, who has re-established herself as one of the top sprint freestylers in the country this season, won the 200y free in 1:46:26, shaving off 1.34 seconds from the pool record and establishing an NCAA `A' cut in the race. Her second win came in the 50y free, the time of 22.67 well under Jenny Thompson's 1994 pool record of 23.01. She then won the 100y free in a season-best of 49.55.

Hartley, in her final dual meet as a Trojan, continued her utter dominance in such competitions, easily winning both the 1-meter (335.62) and 3-meter springboard (3:50.70).

As for Soni, she glided to a pair of breaststroke wins, taking it easy in 100m breast (1:01.11) and 200m breast (2:13.14) victories. Though the times were well off her season bests, both were more than a second faster the previous pool records. McIntyre was second in the 200y breast, improving her season best time to 2:14.37. Soni later won the 400y IM, her 4:15.33 almost two seconds better than the pool record. It was also a season best and an NCAA `A' cut.

Freshman Kristen Lahey was second in the 100y back by only 0.07, her 54.48 a season best and only 0.01 off an NCAA `A' cut. McGregory was only a hair behind at 54.54.

Senior Stacy Vazhenin was second in the 200y back in 1:58.92, also a season best, improving on her NCAA `B' cut. Lahey's 1:59.03 in the race was a 2006 best and a `B' cut. Vazhenin also improved upon her 400y IM NCAA `B' cut time to 4:19.95.

The Trojans wrapped up the meet with a dominant win in the 400y free relay. The foursome of McIntyre, junior Cait Connealy, freshman Rachael Waller and Jeffrey won in 3:21.64, the last of seven pool records on the day for USC.Both school are next in action at the 2006 Pac-10 Championships from Feb. 22-25 at Belmont Plaza in Long Beach, Calif.

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