Mellouli, Jensen Lead Troy Into Pac-10 Championships

Feb. 27, 2006

The No. 9 USC men's swimming and diving team (6-3, 2-2), led by NCAA champions Ous Mellouli and Larsen Jensen, will compete at the 2006 Swimming Championships from Wednesday through Saturday (March 1-4) at the Weyerhauser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Wash. Swimming results will be available at the Pac-10 web site.

Events begin on Wednesday (March 1) with timed finals of the 200y medley and 800y free relays that begin at 6 p.m. From Thursday through Saturday (March 2-4), prelims begin at 11 a.m. and finals start at 6 p.m. each day. Thusday's schedule features the 500y free, 200y IM, 50y free and 200y free relay. Friday features the 400y IM, 100y fly, 200y free, 100y breast, 100y back and 400y medley relay. Saturday's finale includes the 200y back, 100y free, 200y breast, 200y fly, a timed final of the 1650y free and the 400y free relay.

USC junior Michael Hilde won his second career Pac-10 title on platform at the diving portion of the Pac-10 Championships held last week. He also finished fourth on 3-meter and fifth on 1-meter. Junior teammate Kenny Jenkins was second on platform and third on both springboards.

Ous Mellouli is the defending Pac-10 champ in the 500y and 1650y free and 400y IM ... A Trojan has won the past five 500y free styles and past four of the past five 1650y freestyles and with Mellouli and fellow distance stalwart Larsen Jensen, USC is a favorite to extend the success ... USC has also won four of the past five 400y IMs and Mellouli is the favorite to win again ... USC has already set three school records this year (in the 500y free, 100y fly and 400y medley relay) ... Ous Mellouli (200, 500, 1650, 400 IM), Larsen Jensen (500, 1650 free), Sam Masson (100, 200 fly), Viktor Bodrogi (200 fly, 200 back) have all already posted NCAA automatic times ... USC's current team boasts at least one swimmer on all 14 of the Trojans' all-time top 10 list. Mellouli leads the way, represented in seven different events. Bodrogi and Masson are both among the top 10 in both back and fly events while Jensen is among the top 10 in the all three distance events. Flaskay, the 2004 Pac-10 champ in the 100y breast, is the school record holder in the distance and is also in the top 10 in the 200y breast, as is junior Joon Youm. Junior Sean Sussex is also fourth on the 50y free chart and is banging on the door of the 100y free and might crack that list this week.

MEN'S TOP TIMES (From Taper & Shave)
Senior Ous Mellouli's 4:12.18 in the 500y free is a school record, is the fastest time in the country this year and is an NCAA automatic qualifying time. He also holds the top time in the 400y IM in 3:43.66 (NCAA `A' cut) and his 14:50.07 (NCAA `A' cut) is third fastest in the nation. He is also third in the 200y free (1:34.43) and 10th in the 100y free (43.88) ... Junior Larsen Jensen is fifth in the 500y free (4:17.09), first in the 1000y free (8:48.34) and fifth in the 1650y free (14:50.39, NCAA `A' cut) ... Sophomore Viktor Bodrogi is fourth in the country in the 200y fly (1:44.78), eighth in the 200y back in 1:44.00 (NCAA `A' cut) and 10th in the 100y back in 47.78 (NCAA `B' cut). His 47.96 (NCAA `B' cut) in the 100y fly is 13th and his 1:47.21 (NCAA `B' cut) in the 200y IM is 10th ... Junior Sam Masson's 46.60 in the 100y fly is a school record, the top time in the country and an NCAA `A' cut. His 1:44.73 (NCAA `B' cut) in the 200y fly is third in the country ... Junior Mihaly Flaskay's 53.73 (NCAA `B' cut) in the 100y breast is fifth fastest in the country, and his 1:58.14 in the 200y breast (NCAA `B' cut) is sixth ... Junior Joon Youm's 1:58.59 (NCAA `B' cut) in the 200y breast is 10th fastest ... Junior Sean Sussex's 43.88 (NCAA `B' cut) in the 100y free is 11th and his 20.06 (NCAA `B' cut) is 19th fastest ...Freshman Vanni Mangoni's 3:53.23 (NCAA `B' cut) in the 400y IM is 21st ... Sophomore Brandon Lovell's 1:47.74 (NCAA `B' cut) in the 200y fly is 18th and junior Mike Kauffman's 1:48.01 (NCAA `B' cut) in the 200y fly is 23rd ... USC's 400y medley relay has also posted an NCAA `A' cut with its 3:10.06, a school record ... The Trojans have posted five McDonald's Stadium Pool Records this year: Larsen Jensen in the 500y free (4:17.09), 1000y free (8:48.34) and 1650y free (14:50.39), Sam Masson in the 200y fly (1:44.73) and the 400y free relay (2:55.30).

2005-2006 SO FAR IN BRIEF
USC opened the 2005-2006 season at the Pacific Invite in Stockton, Calif., where Ous Mellouli won four times for the men's squad ... At the 2005 Trojan Diving Invitational (Nov. 11-12), junior Kenny Jenkins led the men's team with a win on platform ... Also that weekend, USC's men's team hosted No. 6 Texas and was edged, 157-143. Mellouli won three races (500y and 1000y free and 400y IM) while junior Sam Masson (100y and 200y fly) won twice in the loss ... USC opened Pac-10 competition at Arizona and Arizona State on Nov. 18 and 19, falling in Tucson to the Wildcats, but beating the Sun Devils in Tempe the following day. Mellouli won three races at ASU ... On Dec. 1-3, USC competed at the Texas Invitational. Mellouli set a school record in the 500y free (4:12.18) and won the 400y IM in 3:43.66, best in the nation this year. Masson later set a school record in the 100y fly (46.60) ... On Jan. 7, USC hosted UC Santa Barbara and Texas A&M, sweeping both schools. Junior Larsen Jensen made his 2006 debut after recovering from knee surgery and won the 500y and 1000y freestyles in his first showing. Viktor Bodrogi won both back events for the men as well ... Troy hosted and beat Pacific and Cal State Bakersfield on Jan. 14, as senior Tyler Panos posted a season best in the 200y back and Mihaly Flaskay did the same in the 50m free. ... USC hosted California on Feb. 3 and Stanford on Feb. 4, falling to the Bears, but upsetting the Cardinal. USC's win over No. 2 Stanford was its first over the Cardinal since 1997 and featured pool records by Jensen and Masson. Jensen also set two pool records in the loss against Cal.

The Trojan men are looking to improve upon their ninth-place finish at the 2005 NCAA Championships and are led by six returning All-Americans. Ous Mellouli was a four-time All-American as a 2005 junior, reaching the finals of the 500y and 1650y free in addition to his title in the 400y IM and his spot anchoring the 400y medley relay. Larsen Jensen was a two-time All-American, winning the 1650y free and making the final of the 500y free. Junior Mihaly Flaskay was a three-time All-American, finishing second in the 100y breast (finishing out of first by 0.24) while swimming on USC's championship final 200y and 400y medley relays. Juniors Sam Masson (fly) and Viktor Bodrogi (back) also swam on USC's NCAA medley relays to each earn a pair of All-American honors while junior Sean Sussex earned his All-American nod as the anchor of the 200y medley relay. The only All-American not returning is graduated diver Ray Vincent, who reached the platform final three consecutive seasons.

Senior Ous Mellouli was named Pac-10 men's swimmer of the month in November and December. He earned his December honor after swimming two of the nation's fastest times at the Texas Invitational at the start of the month. The senior from Tunis, Tunisia, won the 500y free in 4:12.18, a national-best time. His performance broke former Trojan and U.S. Olympian Klete Keller's 2002 NCAA-title- winning time of 4:12.83.

Larsen Jensen won a pair of silver medals at the 2005 World Championships in the 800m (re-setting his own American record) and 1500m free while Ous Mellouli won two bronze medals in the 400m IM and 400m free. Women's diver Blythe Hartley won her second career title on 1-meter.

Jensen, freshman Rebecca Soni and former Trojan and current volunteer coach Kaitlin Sandeno have been selected to represent the United States at the 2006 FINA Short Course World Championships (25m), April 5-9, in Shanghai, China. In addition, USC Coach Mark Schubert will serve as an assistant coach on the women's team.

The Trojan swimming and diving teams have featured diverse rosters for years and this season is no different. The men's squad includes swimmers from Tunisia (Mellouli), Hungary (Viktor Bodrogi, Mihaly Flaskay and Gergely Meszaros), Italy (Vanni Mangoni), Guatemala (Evan Marcus) and South Korea (Joon Youm). Blythe Hartley on the women's team is from Canada while Head Diving Coach Hongping Li is Chinese and sophomore Renee Viveros has competed for the Mexican national team.

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