Soni Leads Troy Into NCAA Championships

March 18, 2008

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Led by the two-time 200-yard breaststroke defending NCAA title winner Rebecca Soni, the No. 25 USC women's swimming and diving team will compete at the 2008 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, Thursday through Saturday (March 20-22) at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion at Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio.

Prelims begin each day at 11 a.m. EST and finals begin at 7 p.m. Thursday's events include the 200y free relay, 500y free, 200y IM, 50y free, 1-meter diving and 400y medley relay. Friday's events feature the 200y medley relay, 400y IM, 100y fly, 200y free, 100y breast, 100y back, 3-meter diving and 800y free relay. Saturday's schedule consists of the 1650y free, 200y back, 100y free, 200y back, 200y breast, 200y fly, platform diving and the 400y free relay.

USC, under second-year head coach Dave Salo, is one of only six schools to have won an NCAA swimming and diving team title (1997) and also owns 40 combined individual AIAW and NCAA titles (including one relay) ... USC has featured at least one All-American each season since 1975 (when USC's women's records begin) ... Troy has also posted 13 NCAA top 10 finishes in the last 14 years ... Leading USC's six-woman NCAA squad is junior Rebecca Soni, who is the two-time defending NCAA champion in the 200y breast and is after her first career title in the 100y breast ... Soni is seeking to become just the third woman to win three career NCAA titles in the 200 breast and only the second to win the event three times in a row (Stanford's Tara Kirk won the event in 2002-03-04 while USC's Kristine Quance did it in 1994-96-97) ... According to, which maintains the NCAA's top times database, Soni's season-best and NCAA record 2:06.11 is the fastest time in the country by three seconds (Stanford's Elizabeth Smith is next fastest at 2:09.11) ... Looking to join Soni in the NCAA breaststroke final is junior Katy Houston, who is looking for her first All-American honor in her third NCAA trip. She enters the meet with NCAA automatic times in both the 100y and 200y breast ... Outside of Soni, perhaps USC's hottest swimmer is senior Whitney Hentzen, who was an NCAA point scorer in her NCAA debut last year. She is coming off a pair of third-place finishes and lifetime bests in the 500y free and 1650y free at the 2008 Pac-10 Championships and is after her first top 8 showing at the NCAAs ... Also swimming well is senior Emily Goetsch, who lowered her personal bests in the 100y and 200y fly at the 2008 Pac-10 Championships. She is seeking her first All-American honor since her freshman season ... Junior Rachael Waller has turned in numerous personal bests this season and is seeking her first career All-American honor ... Junior Kristen Lahey, an All-American as a freshman, set USC's 100y back record earlier this year and is looking to score individually for the first time this season ... USC's 400y medley school record (3:33.97) was set at 2006 NCAA Championships. The unit of Lahey, Soni, Goetsch and Waller have a good chance to break that this weekend.

The USC women's team has broken four school records this season and one USC pool record. Three team records are courtesy of Rebecca Soni, who at the 2007 Husky Invite reset her own USC mark in the 200y breast in an NCAA-record effort of 2:07.08. She also dropped the school mark in the 100m breast to 1:07.29. Soni's NCAA record broke Tara Kirk's mark of 2:07.13 set at the 2004 Pac-10 Championships. Next, at the 2008 Pac-10 Championships, Soni broke the 200y breast record again (2:06.11), nearing Kirk's world record of 2:05.73. Soni also reset her USC 100y breast record to 58.98 ... At the Husky Invite, junior Kristen Lahey won the 100y back in 53.04, shattering USC's school record of 53.48 set by Haley McGregory ... Against California on Feb. 1, the USC relay quartet of Lahey, Soni, senior Emily Goetsch and junior Rachael Waller lowered the McDonald's Stadium pool record in the 400y medley relay to 3:40.16. The previous mark was 3.40.98, set in 1998 by Katie Meyer, Kristen MacGregor, Karen Campbell and Lindsay Benko.

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