Carlson Wins USC's First Pac-12 Title In 50y Free
Feb. 27, 2014
Senior Kasey Carlson won USC's first ever Pac-12 title in the 50y free to lead seven `A' final appearances and highlight the No. 2 Trojans' efforts at the 2014 Pac-12 Women's Swimming and Diving Championships in Federal Way, Wash., on Thursday (Feb. 27).
USC finished the second day of the championships in second place with 448 points behind Stanford's 507. Cal (400.05) was third and was followed by UCLA (328.5), Arizona (320.5), Utah (264), Oregon State (158), Washington State (155) and Arizona State (150.5).
"The women are crawling back into the team race after a subpar morning," USC head coach Dave Salo said. "They are fighting to give it a strong Trojan effort. Kasey was awesome, as was the relay. Diving had a very strong evening, too."
Carlson broke her own school record in the 50y free en route to her second career Pac-12 title, claiming the crown in 21.74, 0.16 below her previous best. She beat to the wall Arizona's defending 50y free champ Margo Geer, who was second in 21.90.
USC last won a 50y free conference race when Sue Habernigg touched first in the 1985 WCAA Championships, the last year the Trojans won a team conference title. Carlson's win is her second career conference win. She won the 100y breast last year.
Trojan sophomore Kasia Wilk made her second straight final in the race, taking sixth in 22.33 after a 22.28 in prelims, which was 0.04 off her PR.
Carlson and Wilk led off the first two spots of USC's 200y free relay that set a school record by 0.02 (1:28.03), joining sophomore Kendyl Stewart and freshman anchor Evan Swenson in a second-place effort (Cal had appeared to win the race but was DQ'd). The same quartet had established the record earlier this season.
"I'm not only happy for my individual win, but also excited for how my teammates are performing," Carlson said. "This is an extremely tough meet with some of the best schools in the country and I'm looking forward to competing over the final two days. I'm excited to get my first win in the 50y free and looking forward to seeing what I can do with it at the NCAAs."
Freshman Chelsea Chenault, in her first career conference final, finished third in the 500y free in 4:39.30, 0.85 out of second. Cal freshman Missy Franklin won the race in 4:35.73. Chenault's time was 0.34 off her season best in the race. Troy's next best finisher in the race was sophomore Joanna Stenkvist, who swam a 4:44.82 (18th), 0.70 off her season best.
Senior Stina Gardell made her fourth straight finals appearance in the 200y IM and posted her fourth top 5 finish, finishing fourth in 1:55.71, improving on her USC best `A' cut this year. Sophomore Jasmine Tosky, in her first career final in the race, was fifth in 1:56.39, also a season best.
Action continues Friday and Saturday with prelims at 11 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m. both nights.