Morozov, 200y Free Relay Earn All-American Honors
March 24, 2011
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Freshman Vladimir Morozov became USC's first All-American in the 50y free since 1991 and also played a major role in lowering two relay records twice each to lead the Trojans on the first day of the 2011 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships in Minneapolis, Minn., on Thursday (March 24).
USC, 11th last year, is eighth after the first day with 62 points. Texas is in first (139) and is followed by Stanford (136), Cal (134), Auburn (110.5), Arizona (99), Virginia (74), Florida (70), USC, Michigan (57) and Texas A&M (49).
Morozov, who lowered USC's record in the 50y free five times this season, earned a trip to the NCAA final of the event with a 19.12 in prelims, fourth fastest overall.
Then, making USC's first appearance in the NCAA 50y free since Bjorn Zikarsky 20 years ago, he finished sixth (19.38) in a veteran field that featured four seniors and three juniors. Cal senior Nathan Adrian defended his title with an American record 18.66.
Said Morozov: "There's a lot of tough, close competition here. Every small mistake can leave you without a chance. But overall we did well. We want to step it up the next two sessions."
To kick off the finals session earlier, Morozov teamed with seniors Emmett Walling and Clement Lefert and junior Jeff Daniels to finish fifth in 1:16.98, resetting the seven-hour-old school mark the same quartet set in prelims (1:17.30). USC last reached the championship final of the 200y free relay in 1997 (finishing eighth).
USC's other relay record came at the end of the night when sophomore Alex Lendrum, senior Dillon Connolly, junior James White and Morozov finished third in the `B' final (11th overall) in 3:09.26, erasing the 3:09.42 mark set earlier in the day. The record had previously stood since 2006.
"The men came back tonight with some of the best relay efforts I have seen," said USC head coach Dave Salo. "Anytime we break a school record it is special. Along with the fact that we scored in the finals of the 200 free relay and 50 free for the first time in so long speaks volumes of the improvement in our program.
"Jeff Daniels had a great anchor split of 19.15 tonight to secure the record performance.
"Vlad is finding out quickly how intense the NCAA meet can be. Six swims today is tough on anyone - but he has handled the workload well.
"We have nearly doubled are point total from a year ago and are sitting well in the top 10 which is just one of our goals."
Senior Richard Charlesworth made his second straight appearance in the NCAA `B' final of the 500y free. After finishing 16th in 2010, Charlesworth improved to 13th with a 4:20.19. He went 4:19.18 in prelims.
Lefert, an All-American in the event last year and the 2011 Pac-10 champion in the race, did not make it out of prelims, finishing 20th (4:20.29). Junior Patrick White was 43rd (4:26.92).
Junior diver Harrison Jones became an NCAA individual scorer for the third year in a row. He just missed a spot in the 1-meter springboard final, finishing prelims in ninth with 340.35 points, 2.1 points out of eighth.
In the consolation final, Jones took third (11th overall) with 374.25, 2.35 points out of first in the final. Senior Steven Starks, in his fourth straight NCAA appearance, was 19th on 1-meter (319.75).
Freshman Dimitri Colupaev led USC swimmers in the 200y IM, taking 29th (1:45.89). Lendrum was 39th (1:47.02) and freshman Jack Wagner was 42nd (1:47.15). Colupaev's time was a season-best while Wagner registered a PR.
Daniels finished 28th in the 50y free prelims (19.78) while Walling was 38th (19.92).
The competition continues Friday and Saturday with prelims at noon and finals at 7 p.m. (CT).