Mellouli, Masson And Two Relays All Reach Finals At NCAA Championships

March 24, 2006

NCAA Championships Page

Senior Ous Mellouli posted his second second-place finish, this time in the 400-yard IM, while junior Sam Masson (third in the 100-yard fly) and Troy's 200-yard medley relay both broke school records to lead the No. 9 USC men's swimming and diving team's efforts on the second day of the 2006 NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships on Friday (March 24) at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center in Atlanta.

USC is in seventh with 157 points. Arizona took over first with 336.5 and is followed by Auburn (331.5), Stanford (244.5), Texas (220), Florida (203), California (182.5) and USC.

Junior Michael Hilde joined the Trojans who earned All-American honors, getting his first such career nod with an eighth-place finish on the 3-meter springboard (337.90), while USC's 800y free relay also posted an eighth place finish for All-American status.

Mellouli, the defending champ in the 400y IM, posted his fourth career top 4 finish in the race in 3:39.47, the second fastest Trojan swim ever (behind his own school record). But on Friday, he couldn't match Florida senior and American Olympian Ryan Lochte, who led the entire race and won in an NCAA record 3:38.15.

Masson broke his own school record in the 100y fly en route to a third-place finish in 46.09 (erasing his 46.60 set earlier this season). In what was almost a photo finish, Arizona's Lyndon Ferns won in 45.89, just ahead of teammate Albert Subirats and the charging Masson. Masson improved vastly over 2005, when he was 14th at the NCAAs in the race.

USC's 200y medley relay of juniors Viktor Bodrogi, Mihaly Flaskay, Masson and Sean Sussex all earned All-American honors with a sixth-place finish in a school-record 1:26.06, bettering by 0.39 the previous mark set by the same quartet last year.

Troy's 800y free relay of Mellouli, junior Larsen Jensen, Sussex and sophomore Bryce Elser finished eighth in 6:25.20 in the timed final. That ended a two-year drought in which USC failed to make the top eight in the event. It was also Elser's first career All-American nod.

Flaskay, earlier, finished 15th in the 100y breaststroke in 54.24 after missing the final by less than a quarter of a second.

Other USC finishers included junior Joon Youm in the 100y breast (32nd, 56.02), Masson in the 100y back (18th, 48.37, making him the seventh fastest Trojan ever in the event), Bodrogi in the 100y back (21st, 48.53) and junior Kenny Jenkins in the 3-meter springboard (252.95).

The meet continues Saturday (March 25) with prelims starting at noon and finals at 7 p.m. (EST).

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