Trojans Win NCAA Title In 800y Free Relay
Senior Cristian Quintero, freshmen Reed Malone and Dylan Carter and senior Dimitri Colupaev ran away with the 800y free relay title, complimenting 200y free finalist appearances by Quintero and Colupaev and a 100y back final by junior Luca Spinazzola to lead USC on the second night at the 2014 NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships in Austin, Texas, on Friday (March 28).
USC finished the night in sixth with 140 points, moving up from eighth after the first day. Texas took over first with 318.5 and is followed in the top 10 by California (312.5), Florida (279), Michigan (225), Georgia (200), USC, Arizona (135.5), Auburn (121), Stanford (117) and Florida State (96).
The Trojan quartet of Quintero, Malone, Carter and Colupaev won USC's first 800y free relay title since 2002 and its eighth in program history with a wire-to-wire 6:13.09, just off the school record of 6:12.54, USC's winning time at the Pac-12s.
Quintero led off with a 1:32.84 before handing the baton to Malone, who maintained the lead with a 1:34.32 split. Fellow frosh Carter took over and pushed the lead to 1.2 seconds with a 1:33.25 and left it to Colupaev, who churned home in 1:32.68 to win with a 1.65 cushion over second-place Florida.
Earlier in the finals session, Quintero, a day after winning his first career NCAA title in the 500y free, came close to capturing his second win, taking second in the 200y free in a USC record 1:32.28. The time was 0.32 off that of defending champion and repeat winner Joao De Lucca of Louisville (1:31.96).
Colupaev actually led the final at the 50 (20.88) and 100 (43.74) marks and was second after 150 as De Lucca made his charge. Quintero turned at 150 only 0.97 back of De Lucca and made his move off the turn at 175. Closing fast, he needed about five to 10 more yards past the wall to catch De Lucca.
Colupaev finished eighth in the final in 1:34.73. Quintero's 1:32.28 erased Colupaev's previous school record of 1:32.74. Colupaev finished second the past two years in the 200 and was sixth as a freshman.
Spinazzola swam under his 100y back record (46.12) that stood entering the NCAAs four times in two days, including in the 100y back final tonight, where he finished sixth in 45.55. He qualified for the final with a school-record 45.13 in prelims. He first broke his 100y back record during the 400y medley relay prelims Thursday morning with a leadoff 45.68 and then equaled the mark in the final.
Spinazzola's `A' final marked his first NCAA individual scoring effort after he lost a swim-off for the final `B' spot as a 2013 sophomore. He was the first Trojan to swim in the 100y back `A' final since Leonardo Costa in 2000 when it was short course meters. The last time in short course yards was Lenny Krayzelburg in 1998.
"We closed out the evening accomplishing one of our season goals - winning the 800 free relay," USC Coach Dave Salo said. "We probably had the toughest road to the win with three of our men having raced earlier in the evening in the 200 free. It was great legs by our seniors Quintero and Colupaev with smart legs turned in by our freshmen Carter and Malone.
"Luca Spinazzola had a strong day with his first ever championship final and giving him momentum into his senior year. Quintero again turned in a great swim tonight in the 200 free. Had the race been 205 yards he probably would have won. Colupaev went out fast and hard in the 200 but faded, but was able to recover well to help the Trojans to the win in the 800 free relay.
"All through the relay I had thoughts of (former USC legendary coach) Peter Daland and the great Trojan 800s of the past. I wish he could have been here to see the Trojans taking down the toughest relay of the meet. I know he is proud of the Trojan men. "
Carter earned his first NCAA individual scoring berth by taking 14th in the 200y free in prelims in 1:34.22. He finished seventh in the `B' final (15th overall) with a 1:35.06.
USC finished sixth in the `B' final and 14th overall in the 200y medley relay as Spinazzola, junior Sergio Lujan Rivera, sophomore Maclin Davis and senior Jack Wagner swam to 1:25.87. Spinazzola, Lujan Rivera and seniors Chase Bloch and Quintero swam a 1:25.89 in prelims.
Davis just missed earning a second swim in the 100y fly prelims, finishing 17th in 46.37, a PR but 0.05 off a spot in the `B' final.
Junior Cary Wright, in his NCAA Championships debut, turned in a PR in the 400y IM prelims of 3:47.66, improving on spot as 10th fastest Trojan ever in the race. Junior Andrew Malone, also in his NCAA debut, took 37th in the 100y breast in 54.21. Reed Malone finished 29th in the 200y free in 1:35.65.
The meet concludes Saturday with prelims at 9 a.m. and finals at 5 p.m.
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