USC Wins 800y Free Relay At Pac-10 Championships

March 3, 2010

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The No. 14 USC men's swimming team won its first relay title since 2002 when it won the 800y free relay on the first day of the 2010 Pac-10 Swimming Championships on Wednesday (March 3) at Belmont Plaza in Long Beach, Calif.

The USC relay of freshman Clement Lefert, sophomore Patrick White, senior James Martin and senior Zoltan Povazsay won the 800y free relay in 6:19.17, out-dueling both Stanford (6:19.52) and California (6:19.79) at the wall for the title. The winning time was less than two seconds off of the school record, but Lefert's opening 200 yards of 1:33.67 broke Bela Szabados' 1999 school record of 1:33.87.

Lefert's record time got USC off to a big lead after the race's first leg and White's second leg was also the fastest in the heat. Martin took over the third leg and was able to finish his portion of the relay with almost a second lead.

That left the race in Povazsay's hands. After 100 yards, Stanford and Cal closed to within a second. But Povazsay rebuilt his lead to more than a second with 50 to go and was able to hold off challenges from both Stanford's Rob Andrews and Cal's Tom Shields at the finish.

USC's previous Pac-10 relay title came courtesy of Jeff Lee, Rodrigo Castro, Erik Vendt and Klete Keller. That group went on to win the NCAA title in the 800 relay in the aforementioned school record time.

In Wednesday's 200y medley relay, freshman Alex Lendrum, junior Dillon Connolly, Lefert and sophomore Jeff Daniels took fourth in 1:26.39, an NCAA consideration time more than two seconds better than USC's season best. It was also just off the 2006 school record of 1:26.06.

The Pac-10 crown put USC just outside of first place after the short first night of competition with 70 points, two back of leader California. Stanford is third (68), followed by Arizona (62) and ASU (56).

The meet continues Thursday through Saturday. 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 the 200y back, 100y free, 200y breast, 200y fly, a timed final of the 1650y free and the 400y free relay.

Scores from Pac-10 Diving Championships, which was held last week, will be added to team scores after each day. USC sophomore Harrison Jones won a conference title on 3-meter. The win was USC's 28th Pac-10 title and its first on a springboard event since 1999. Jones also finished second on platform and was fifth on 1-meter. Junior Steven Starks was sixth on platform, marking the third time he finished in the top six in the event at the Pac-10s. He also reached the final on 3-meter.

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