Trojans Set For 2009 Pac-10 Championships

Feb. 20, 2009

The No. 11 USC women's swimming and diving team, featuring 2008 Olympic gold medalist and four-time career NCAA and Pac-10 champion Rebecca Soni, will head north next week for the 2009 Pac-10 Swimming and Diving Championships at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatics Center in Federal Way, Wash., Wednesday through Saturday (Feb. 25-28).

Events begin on Wednesday (Feb. 25) with timed finals of the 200y medley and 800y free relays that begin at 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (Feb. 26-28), prelims begin at 11 a.m. and finals start at 6 p.m. each day. Thursday'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 a timed final of the 1650y free, 200y back, 100y free, 200y breast, 200y fly and the 400y free relay ...Six of the Pac-10 teams are ranked in's Top 25, including No. 12 USC, No. 2 Arizona, No. 6 Stanford, No. 7 California, No. 16 UCLA and No. 19 Arizona State. USC is ranked No. 11 in's Top 25.

Entrance is free on Wednesday. All-session adult passes are $25, all-session student/senior passes are $15, one day adult tickets are $10 and one day student/senior tickets are $6. Tickets are available on the day of the event only.

At the conclusion of each day's events, results will posted on the Pac-10 web site as well as on host-school Arizona's web site. Results will also be posted to

The Pac-10 Men's and Women's Diving Championships are being held concurrently with the swimming portion, Feb. 25-28 at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatics Center, Federal Way, Wash. The men's 1-meter prelims are scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday (Feb. 25) with finals at 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (Feb. 26-28), prelims begin at 11 a.m. and finals start at 6 p.m. each day. Thursday's schedule features Women's 1-meter and men's 3-meter, Friday features women's 3-meter and men's platform and Sunday features women's platform.

USC has won at least two Pac-10 titles (including diving) in seven of the past eight seasons, including two breaststroke wins by Rebecca Soni last season. USC has also won at least one title in 14 of the past 15 years. Soni, now a senior, won the 100y and 200y breast titles as a 2006 freshman and a 2008 junior. She was a two-time finalist in those events in 2007 (when she was not at the top of her game due to minor heart surgery to correct a rapid heart beat the previous summer). She enters the 2009 Pac-10s as the top-ranked swimmer in the conference in both races (and is the top-ranked swimmer in the nation in the longer distance). A win in the 200y breast would make her the fourth Pac-10 woman to win the race three times (and would be a first for a Trojan) and a win in the 100y breast would make her just the third to do it three times (she is already the first Trojan to win it twice). Wins in both races would give her six for her career, tying Lindsay Benko for the most career Pac-10 titles for a Trojan (former diver Blythe Hartley won eight conference crowns for USC) ... Senior Kristen Lahey has the fourth fastest Pac-10 time in the 100y back and is looking to make her second career finals appearance in the race (she was third in 2007) ... Senior Katy Houston has appeared in two career Pac-10 finals (100y breast in 2008 and 200y breast in 2007) and looks to double the total this year. The co-captain (along with Soni) enters this year's meet as the fifth fastest in the conference in the 100 and sixth in the 200 ... Freshman Katinka Hosszu has a chance to become USC's first 200y butterfly winner since Kaitlin Sandeno in 2004. Hosszu enters the meet with the second-fastest Pac-10 time behind Stanford's Elaine Breeden. Freshman Tanya Krisman is also a finals candidate in that event. Troy has won the event six times ... Hosszu will also challenge in the 400y IM, an event USC has won five times, including four consecutive titles between 2001-04. Additionally, she will race in the 500y free, where she could also reach the final ... Troy's best event among the relays is the 400y medley relay, in which USC has the fifth-fastest time in the nation. Ahead of them in the Pac-10, however, are Arizona and Stanford.

USC's 18 Pac-10 women's diving titles are second most in conference history and most have come under the direction of 10th-year diving head coach Hongping Li. Troy hasn't won a Pac-10 women's diving title since 2006 when Blythe Hartley won both springboard events, but freshman Victoria Ishimatsu could change that. She has been among the Pac-10s top divers all season and will challenge for titles in all three diving specialties. Fellow freshman Michela Fossati-Bellani and junior Alexis Demond are also challengers for final spots ... On the men's side, USC has won 26 Pac-10 titles, most recently a 2006 platform win by Michael Hilde (which capped a streak of four straight Pac-10 platform titles for Troy). The Trojans haven't won a springboard title since Justin Dumais in 1999). Sophomore Steven Starks was a three-time Pac-10 finalist last year, including a second-place finish on platform. Freshman Harrison Jones, like Ishimatsu, has been among the top Pac-10 divers this season and will challenge for titles in all three events.

The Trojans, under third-year head coach Dave Salo, improved to 18-16 all-time against crosstown rival UCLA with a 155-145 win over the Bruins during a rain-soaked home meet on Feb. 13. USC finishes the dual-meet season 6-1 overall, 5-1 in the Pac-10 ... That followed a split during its Bay Area swing. The Women of Troy upset Cal, 152.5-147.5, before suffering their first loss of the season at Stanford 163-137. A week earlier, USC took down Washington, 130.5-129.5. Two weeks prior to that, the women's squad posted a 112-88 win over UC Santa Barbara. Previously, USC competed at the 2008 Husky Invite in early December, where the women's team finished first. Prior to that, both of USC's teams posted big dual-meet wins over Arizona, the defending NCAA champions on both the men's and women's side. Troy also swept Arizona State.

Leading the women is senior Rebecca Soni, USC's four-time NCAA champion and 2008 Olympic gold medalist who already has NCAA automatic qualifying times in the 100y (59.48) and 200y breast (2:07.69). She also has NCAA consideration times in the 200y (2:00.64) and the 400y IM (4:15.66). Senior Kristen Lahey has another of USC's NCAA automatic times (100y back, 52.99, a school record) and she also has an NCAA consideration time in the 200y back (1:56.57) and the 50y (22.80) and 100y free (49.47).

Freshman Katinka Hosszu has USC's final NCAA automatic, a 1:54.26 in the 200y fly. She also has NCAA consideration times in the 200y free (1:46.73), 500y free (4:46.95), 1650y free (16:23.07), 200y IM (1:59.07), 400y IM (4:10.49) and 200y fly (1:57.21). Other Trojans with NCAA `B' cuts already include senior Rachael Waller (200y free, 1:47.46), freshman Tanya Krisman (100y fly, 53.81; 200y fly, 1:56.43), senior Katy Houston (100y breast, 1:00.82; 200y breast, 2:11.89, 200y IM, 1:59.79), junior Dina Hegazy (100y back, 54.92, 200y back, 1:56.64) and sophomore Ellie Doran (500y free, 4:49.28).

A handful of Trojans own national top 50 times listed in the NCAA's Top Times database maintained by USA Swimming. They are senior Kristen Lahey (100y back, 52.99, 10th, 50y free, 22.61, 24th, 200y back, 1:56.57, 29th, 100y fly, 53.57, 32nd, 100y free, 49.73, 48th), senior Rachael Waller (200y free, 1:47.46, 48th), freshman Katinka Hosszu (200y fly, 1:54.26, 4th, 1000y free, 9:44.80, 7th, 400y IM, 4:10.49, 10th, 200y IM, 1:59.07, 20th, 1650y free, 16:23.07, 24th, 200y free, 1:46.73, 28th, 500y free, 4:46.81, 46th), sophomore Ellie Doran (1000y free, 9:54.91, 28th, 1650y free, 16:31.78, 37th), junior Dina Hegazy (200y back, 1:56.64, 30th), senior Katy Houston (100y breast, 1:00.82, 12th, 200y breast, 2:11.89, 14th, 200y IM, 1:59.79, 28th), freshman Tanya Krisman (200y fly, 1:56.43, 15th, 100y fly, 53.82, 40th) and senior Rebecca Soni (200y breast, 2:07.69, 1st, 100y breast, 59.48, 4th, 400y IM, 4:15.66, 38th, 200y IM, 2:00.64, 42nd).

USC swimmers, during their upset wins over Arizona, established a number of pool records. Lahey, in fact, lowered her USC school record in the 100y back while also setting a USC pool record in the process in 52.99. Other pool records already recorded this year are Soni's times in the 100y (59.48) and 200y breast (2:07.86), Hegazy in the 200y back (1:56.64) and USC's 400y medley relay of Lahey, Soni, Krisman and Waller (3:35.52).

USC returns three All-Americans, including Soni and fellow seniors Lahey and Waller. Also back is NCAA Championship participant senior Houston.

Soni is still not far removed from winning a gold medal in the 200-meter breaststroke at the 2008 Olympics. Soni also won silver medals in the 100-meter breaststroke and the 400-meter medley relay, entrenching herself as one of the world's top swimmers.

Hosszu was also a 2008 Olympian. Swimming for Hungary, she posted a pair of top 20 finishes in the 200-meter and 400-meter IM. Among the current Trojans who competed at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials are Waller, Houston and Lahey as well as freshmen Courtney Kalisz and Krisman. Krisman was a 200-meter fly finalist while Kalisz was a semifinalist in the same event.

USC features three women's divers who have already qualified to participate in the NCAA Zone E Championships (the meet in which divers can qualify for the NCAA Championships). They are junior Alexis Demond and freshmen Victoria Ishimatsu and Michela Fossati-Bellani. Ishimatsu has been USC's top overall women's diver this season, regularly finishing at the top of the standings in Troy's competitions.

Ishimatsu, USC's top diver as a freshman, was recently included on an announced USA Swimming team that will compete at the 2009 Canada Cup, scheduled for April 30-May 3 in Montreal. She will compete on 3-meter.

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