Soni, USC Heads To 2009 NCAA Championships

March 17, 2009

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The No. 10 USC women's swimming and diving team, featuring 2008 Olympic gold medalist and four-time career NCAA champion Rebecca Soni, will compete in the 2009 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships at the Texas A&M-hosted Student Rec Center Natatorium in College Station, Texas, Thursday through Saturday (March 19-21).

Live NCAA Championships results will be available at at Texas A&M's home site.

USC (6-1, 5-1), under third-year head coach
Dave Salo, is one of only seven schools to have won an NCAA swimming and diving team title (1997) and also owns 42 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 15 years ... Senior Rebecca Soni is the three-time defending NCAA champion in the 200y breast and the defending champion in the 100y breast ... Soni is looking to become the first NCAA woman to win the 200 breast four times. She already is among only four who have won the 200 breast three times. The others are former Trojan Kristine Quance (1994, 1996-97), Georgia's Kristy Kowal (1998-2000) and Stanford's Tara Kirk (2002-04). Kowal's 2000 win and Kirk's 2004 win were in SCM. If Soni is able to successfully defend both of her 2008 NCAA titles, it will give her six combined NCAA breaststroke titles, behind only Kirk's seven and tied with Kowal's six ... Soni is coming off an American (and NCAA) record swim in winning the Pac-10 200y breast title (2:04.75). She set the NCAA record in winning the Pac-10 title in the 100y breast (58.10) ... USC is coming off its second Pac-10 title in the 400y medley relay in the past four years and is gunning for its first NCAA relay win since 1994 ... Pac-10 3-meter champion Victoria Ishimatsu, a freshman, is continuing a fine tradition of Trojan divers. She is vying for USC's first diving title since Blythe Hartley completed a stellar NCAA career with two titles in 2006 (among her five overall) ... In addition to Soni in the 100y and 200y breast, USC's other current school record holders competing this week are Kristen Lahey (50y free, 100y back), Katinka Hosszu (200y free, 400y IM) and Dina Hegazy (200y back). USC also set school records this year in the 200y and 400y medley relay and the 800y free relay ... No Trojan competing this week, besides Soni, has made an individual NCAA final ... USC finished 16th last season ... Six of the 10 Trojans competing this week are making their NCAA Championships debut.

Senior Rebecca Soni won her fifth and sixth Pac-10 titles, led USC to another in the 400y medley relay and freshman Victoria Ishimatsu was first on 3-meter springboard to highlight USC's efforts at the 2009 Pac-10 Championships ... USC set 10 school records at the event, including Soni's American record in the 200y breast (2:04.75) and her NCAA record in the 100y breast (58.10), which were good for her third Pac-10 titles in the respective events ... In the 400y medley relay, senior Kristen Lahey, Soni, freshman Katinka Hosszu and senior Rachael Waller won the conference crown in a school-record 3:31.75 ... Ishimatsu, in addition to winning the 3-meter, was second on 1-meter and seventh on platform ... Hosszu posted three top three finishes and was part of four records. She was second in the 400y IM (4:03.60, a school record) and third in both the 500y free (4:39.34) and the 200y fly (1:54.01). In addition to being part of the 400y medley relay record, she also led off USC's record-setting 800y free relay (7:07.59) and her first 200 yards (1:45.22) eclipsed a 25-year-old school record ... Lahey and junior Dina Hegazy placed third in the 100y and 200y back, respectively. Lahey's prelim of 52.15 and Hegazy's of 1:53.27 were both school marks. Lahey also broke the 50y free record (22.38) and led off USC's record 200y medley relay (1:38.74).

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.

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 featured three women's divers who participated in the NCAA Zone E Championships (the meet in which divers can qualify for the NCAA Championships). They were 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 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.

USC first-year assistant swimming coach Catherine Vogt was selected as the head U.S. open water coach for the 2009 FINA World Championships, USA Swimming announced on Thursday (Feb) 5. Vogt will join coaches Bob Bowman (Baltimore, Md.) and Sean Hutchison (Seattle, Wash.) in Rome, who will serve as the men's and women's head coach, respectively. Vogt is one of the top open water coaches in the country, owning a depth of experience coaching athletes at both the national and international level. She served as an assistant coach for the 2008 U.S. Open Water World Championship team that competed in Seville, Spain, and also was a head coach at the Open Water test event held in Beijing prior to the 2008 Olympics.

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