USC Wins First Pac-12 Title Since 1979!|
March 7, 2015
A memorable individual night that included wins from senior Cristian Quintero and sophomore Steven Stumph became a historic team achievement as No. 11 USC, with a clinching 400y free relay victory, captured its first conference title since 1979 by a slim nine points to close the 2015 Pac-12 Men's Swimming and Diving Championships in Federal Way, Wash., on Saturday (May 7).
The Trojans won with a program-record 818.5 points, coming from behind on the final night to overtake Stanford (809.5) while defending champion California was third (673). Arizona was fourth (508), Arizona State was fifth (309) and Utah was sixth (283). The last time the meet was decided by nine or less points was 1999, when Stanford edged Cal by eight points.
USC, which had only finished as high as second place four times since its last conference title (most recently in 2001), entered the final event, the 400y free relay, with a three-point cushion. The Trojans were able to add to it as freshman Ralf Tribuntsov, sophomore Santo Condorelli, sophomore Reed Malone and Quintero won in 2:49.50, well ahead of Stanford's second-place 2:52.63.
"The men were on fire all weekend long. I'm really proud of the team for building on the momentum and supporting each other. We had incredible energy," said USC Coach Dave Salo.
"I can't speak highly enough about the performance of Cristian Quintero. It stands on its own. But his quiet leadership certainly pushed the envelope of our performances by so many others. The sophomore class came through the way we knew they could but did not quite materialize last year. Mike Domagala, Reed Malone, Santo Condorelli, Steven Stumph, Dylan Carter and the rest of them were amazing.
"And the incredible performance by our freshman Ralf Tribuntsov cannot be overstated. He came through when we might not have expected it given his freshman status. Now that we know how to win we have to make this a habit. Only thing missing this week was coach Peter Daland."
Quintero made big history earlier when he became the first Pac-12 swimmer ever to win the 100y, 200y and 500y free in the same meet when he led four Trojan `A' finalists to win the 100y free tonight in 42.10. Named Pac-12 Swimmer of the Meet, Quintero was just 0.10 off his personal best and just 0.06 ahead of Condorelli's second-place 42.27 (he was eighth last year).
Tribuntsov took fifth in the race in 42.88 after a 42.66 in prelims while Malone finished sixth in 43.03 (42.97 in prelims) The quartet now accounts for four of the top six fastest Trojans ever in the event.
Stumph obliterated teammate Morten Klarskov's school record twice in the 200y breast en route to capturing USC's first conference title in the race since 2001. He edged Cal's Josh Prenot, 1:52.50 to 1:52.61 while Arizona's Kevin Cordes, the two-time defending champion, was third (1:53.55). Stumph led Cordes by 0.17 at the 100 and led Prenot by 0.31 at the 150 and had enough to get to the wall first.
Stumph, who first crushed Klarskov's school record (1:54.64) in prelims with a 1:53.01, led another quartet of Trojans in an `A' final. Junior Ridge Altman made his Pac-12 finalist debut and finished fifth in 1:55.04 (PR). Senior Andrew Malone, in his first career 200y breast final, took seventh in 1:55.66 (0.01 slower than his morning PR) and Klarskov was eighth (1:55.84) in his third straight final in the race. Stumph, Klarskov, Altman and Malone are now first, second, third and fifth, respectively, in USC's top 10 in the event.
Sophomore Michael Domagala placed a career-best third in the 200y fly in 1:43.74 after his prelim 1:42.75 made him the second-fastest Trojan ever in the race (and a time that would've won the `A' final). Senior Dakota Hodgson won the `B' final in 1:44.77, senior Cary Wright took fourth in the `B' final (1:45.97) and junior Ted Singley was seventh (1:47.16).
Freshman Pawek Furtek, in the timed final of the 1650y free that opened the finals session, finished a close second in 14:51.81, just 1.62 seconds back of Stanford winner Danny Thompson (14:50.19). Furtek moved into second at the 1200-yard mark but still trailed Thompson by almost five seconds with 150 to go. He made up more than three seconds over the final six laps, but needed a bit more room for the comeback. His time made him the sixth fastest Trojan in the mile and his 1,000-yard split of 8:59.90 made him seventh-fastest in that distance. Singley finished sixth in 15:02.37, a PR.
In the platform held last week, Trojan divers scored vital points as junior Collin Pollard was third (395.60) and senior Jordan Gear was fourth (360.35). Junior Deon Reid was ninth (313.00) and freshman Dashiell Enos was 14th (269.25).
Said Reed Malone: "This championship was an outstanding example of the camaraderie every member on this team feels towards each other. Everyone had a role to play and every person stepped into that role without hesitation, not for themselves, but for the team. We are honored and proud to bring a championship back to SC and to represent not only our fellow athletes but also all of the alumni that have come before us. Now, after we enjoy this victory, we are ready to refocus on NCAAs and continuing this success there. Fight on!"
The NCAA Championships are set for March 26-28 in Iowa City, Iowa.