Mellouli, Jensen Lead Trojans Into NCAA Championships

March 21, 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 NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships from Thursday through Saturday (March 23-25) in the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center in Atlanta. Results will be available at the Georgia Tech NCAA Championships page. Prelims will begin each day at noon with finals starting at 7 p.m. (EST).

Mark Schubert, who is stepping down as head swimming coach at USC after 14 years to take the same job for United States Swimming in May, has led the Trojans to eight top 6 finishes and 11 top 10 finishes at the NCAA Championships in 13 years. Since taking over in 1993, Schubert has led USC to 11 individual NCAA titles and one relay title as well as 40 Pac-10 titles. Of the 14 USC individual men's swimming records, 11 are held by swimmers coached by Schubert.

USC has won a combined 110 NCAA titles, including 92 individually and 18 on relays. The overall total is fourth most in NCAA history, behind only Michigan (153), Stanford (134) and Ohio State (117). Senior Ous Mellouli (400y IM) and junior Larsen Jensen (1650y free) joined the ranks of Trojan NCAA winners last season ... USC has won at least one NCAA titles in five of the last six seasons. The best chances for the Trojans to win again in 2006 are Mellouli in the 400y IM and the 500y free, Jensen in the 1650y free, junior Mihaly Flaskay in the 100y breast and junior Viktor Bodrogi and Sam Masson in the 100y and 200y fly ...USC hasn't won an NCAA title in the butterfly since Joe Bottom won the 100y fly in 1977 and no Trojan has won the 200y fly since Philip Houser in 1968 ... Troy has been without a breaststroke champ since Wayne Anderson won the 200y breast in 1966 and hasn't won the 100y breast since William Craig in 1965 ... Junior Michael Hilde is making his third consecutive NCAA appearance. He scored in all three specialties as a freshman and posted a career-best ninth on platform in 2005. Diving teammate Kenny Jenkins is making his NCAA debut this year. Also scheduled to compete are junior Joon Youm (100y and 200y breast), junior Sean Sussex (50y, 100y and 200y free), who is looking to score individually for the first time, and sophomore Bryce Elser (400y and 800y free relay), also making his NCAA debut.

MEN'S TOP 20 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 fifth fastest in the nation. He is also fifth in the 200y free (1:34.23) ... Junior Larsen Jensen is sixth in the 1650y free (14:50.39, NCAA `A' cut) and ninth in the 500y free (4:17.09) ... Junior Viktor Bodrogi is first in the country in the 200y fly (1:42.35), 13th in the 200y back in 1:44.00 (NCAA `A' cut) and 18th in the 100y back in 47.78 (NCAA `B' cut) ... Junior Sam Masson's 46.60 in the 100y fly is a school record, the sixth fastest time in the country and an NCAA `A' cut. His 1:44.73 (NCAA `B' cut) in the 200y fly is ninth in the country ... Junior Mihaly Flaskay's 53.50 (NCAA `A' cut) in the 100y breast is eighth fastest in the country, and his 1:57.53 in the 200y breast (NCAA `B' cut) is 12th ... Junior Joon Youm's 1:58.59 (NCAA `B' cut) in the 200y breast is 17th fastest ...

USC broke four school records this year: Senior Ous Mellouli's 4:12.18 in the 500y free, Sam Masson's 46.60 in the 100y fly, Viktor Bodrogi's 1:42.35 in the 200y fly (also a Pac-10 record) and the 400y medley relay (3:10.06) ... The Trojans also 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), Masson in the 200y fly (1:44.73) and the 400y free relay (2:55.30).

USC finished third at the 2006 Pac-10 Championships, winning a combined four titles ... senior Ous Mellouli successfully defended his Pac-10 titles in the 500y free and 400y IM, becoming the only Pac-10 man ever to win three consecutive titles in both events. He's also only the second man to win the Pac-10 400y IM title three straight times, the other being former Trojan Dave Wharton (1988-90) ... Junior Viktor Bodrogi's title in the 200y fly might have been the swim of the meet. His 1:42.35 broke Stanford legend Pablo Morales' 1987 Pac-10 record of 1:42.60, not to mention USC's school mark of 1:42.94 set in 2002 ... Junior Michael Hilde, competing a week earlier at the combined men's and women's Pac-10 Diving Championships, won his second career Pac-10 crown on platform, the first coming as a freshman in 2004.

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 finished its dual-meet season when it hosted California on Feb. 3 and Stanford on Feb. 4, falling to the Bears, but upsetting the Cardinal.

USC had 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.

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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