Hartley, Keller Win Pac-10 Titles To Lead USC
Feb. 23, 2006
Senior Blythe Hartley became the first Pac-10 woman ever to win four 1-meter springboard conference titles while junior Kalyn Keller won her second career Pac-10 crown in the 500y freestyle to highlight USC's efforts on the second day of the Pac-10 Swimming and Diving Championships on Thursday (Feb. 23).
The swimming portion of the championships are being held at Belmont Plaza in Long Beach, Calif., while the diving competition is being held in Federal Way, Wash.
Arizona leads after the first full day with 474 points, followed by Stanford (443), UCLA (410), USC (390) and Arizona State (357). With the titles on Thursday, USC has now won at least one Pac-10 title in 13 consecutive years.
Hartley won the 1-meter with 358.45 points for her seventh career Pac-10 crown, tying Stanford's Eileen Richetelli (1991-95) for most by a Pac-10 woman. In addition, USC has now won nine of the past 10 Pac-10 titles on 1-meter.
Keller, who won the 500y free in 2004 and qualified second this morning out of prelims, won the race in 4:41.89, a season best. She fought off second-place Erin Reilly (4:42.31) and third-place Ashley Chandler (4:45.43), both of Cal, the latter the top seed entering the final.
Chandler went out the fastest and led Keller by half a second after 300 yards. But Keller took the lead 50 yards later, held more than a second lead after 450 yards and withstood Reilly's rush at the finish. Keller's win gives USC three titles in the event in the last four years and its fifth since 1996.
Freshman Rebecca Soni, a favorite in both the 100y and 200y breaststrokes, warmed up in her first conference championship with a third in the 200y IM. After qualifying for the final with an eighth-place finish in prelims (2:02.38), she moved up to third with a season- and USC-best 2:00.93. Stanford's Kristen Caverly was first (1:58.54).
Sophomore Rhi Jeffrey's fourth-place in the 50y free (22.83) marked USC's first appearance in the Pac-10 final since Jennifer Parmenter (fourth) and Kristen Rich (eighth) did it in 2002. Jeffrey wasn't far off her top time entering the meet (22.63), which has her as the second fastest Trojan ever in the event behind record holder Karen Campbell (22.52). Stanford's Brooke Bishop won the race in 22.62.
Senior diver Lindsay Draper qualified for her first career Pac-10 Championship final and finished sixth (264.10) on 1-meter. She made the cut by earning the final spot out of prelims, taking eighth with a 246.50. USC's 200y free relay of Jeffrey, freshman Missy McIntyre, sophomore Hayley McGregory and freshman Kristen Lahey finished sixth in 1:32.90.
Freshman Katy Houston swam a season-best in the 200y IM prelims (2:02.71) to earn a spot in the consolation finals, where she swam a 2:02.84 for 11th place. Lahey also posted a season-best in the 50y free (23.05).
Competition continues Friday through Saturday (Feb. 24-25), with preliminary heats beginning at 11 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m.