Soni Sets American Record in 200y Breaststroke on Way to Sixth Title at Pac-10 Championships

Feb. 28, 2009

No. 11 USC women's swimming and diving team finished fourth overall at the Pac-10 Championships at Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatics Center in Federal Way, Wash., on Saturday (Feb. 28), with an American record-setting swim by USC senior and Olympic gold medalist Rebecca Soni in the 200y breaststroke.

Going into the night, Soni was the NCAA record-holder in the 200y breast with a time of 2:06.11. She qualified for the Pac-10 final with a time of 2:08.79. In the finals, Soni came through with a huge swim, shattering her current record by close to 2 seconds with a time of 2:04.75, which set a new American record, NCAA record, a Pac-10 record, a Women of Troy record and gave Soni her sixth Pac-10 title. Soni broke the previous American record of 2:05.73, which had been held by Tara Kirk of Stanford since March 3, 2006.

Of her record-breaking day, Soni said, 'I'm really excited about that swim. The 200 is my favorite, it was so exciting to break that American record in my last Pac-10 Championships. It is unbelievable.'

Also in the 200y breast, senior Katy Houston finished in 8th place with a time of 2:11.99. Freshman Ella Kidron finished in 15th with a season-best time of 2:17.27.

Freshman Katinka Hosszu qualified for the 1650y free with a second seed, but chose not to swim the race in order to focus on the 200y fly final. In that race she came up with a third place victory with a time of 1:54.01, which is a new season-best and improved upon her NCAA automatic time. Also in the 200y fly, freshman Tanya Krisman just missed qualifying for the finals and was the top seed in the consolation finals, in which she finished 11th with a time of 1:57.70.Sophomore Ellie Doran finished in tenth in the 1650y free with a time of 16:20.21 shattering her previous season high time of 16:31.78 by more than ten seconds.

Junior Dina Hegazy, who qualified for her first Pac-10 final in the 200y backstroke, placed third with a time of 1:53.63. Her qualifying time of 1:53.27 was the third fastest time in 200y back Pac-10 prelims history and broke a USC school record of 1:54.42, previously held by Trojan NCAA champion Linday Benko, which was set in the 1997 NCAA Championships.

Senior Kristen Lahey qualified for the consolation final in the 200y back with a personal best and improved NCAA consideration time of 1:55.96. She beat that record and improved her personal best and consideration time with a 1:53.63 swim that put her in ninth place overall.

Junior Whitney Stephenson finished in 29th place with a time of 2:01.08 in the 200y back.

In the 400y freestyle relay, the `A' team of Lahey, Hegazy, Waller and Hosszu finished in sixth with a time of 3:20.75.

In 10-meter platform diving USC junior Alexis De Mond finished in fifth with 236.65 total points. Freshman Tori Ishimatsu finished in seventh with a finals score of 223.00.

Overall the Women of Troy finished in fourth (915), with Cal taking the overall Pac-10 title with 1550 points, Arizona in second (1339) and Stanford in third (1317).

On the overall performance of the team, Soni said, 'I'm so proud of the accomplishments our team has seen this meet and this season and I'm really excited to see what is ahead at NCAA's.'

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