Ishimatsu, Anderson Win NCAA Titles
March 15, 2012
Senior Victoria Ishimatsu (1-meter springboard) and junior Haley Anderson (500y free) each won their first NCAA titles while junior Katinka Hosszu just missed another in the 200y IM to lead No. 7 USC into a tie for second place after the first night of the 2012 NCAA Championships on Thursday (March 15) at Auburn's James E. Martin Aquatics Center in Auburn, Ala.
USC, third last year, is tied for second with Stanford with 118 points after the first of three days while defending champion California is in first (132).
Ishimatsu, an All-American on 1-meter as a freshman and sophomore with fifth-place finishes before dropping to ninth last year, used a career effort to win USC's first NCAA diving title since 2006. With less than a point lead heading into the final dive, she nailed her final effort to win with 354.10, just ahead of Texas A&M's Jaele Patrick.
"Going into warm-ups I was very anxious, especially after Haley won the 500," Ishimatsu said. "I had to calm myself down because I was, what I call it, `way too up'. Going through the event I concentrated on my main corrections and I couldn't think about anything else besides that. One of my main things throughout the event was (going at) 80 percent and that was because I was too high. If I went full-out I don't think I would have won the event. Just dive after dive consistently is what I think got me through. The other girls, especially Jaele (Patrick) put up some big dives that kept me going a little bit toward the end.
"(Heading into the final dive) I knew that I could get it, which was the best feeling, but then as I got toward the end and I was standing on the end of the board I was a little bit more nervous than I expected to be. But I executed my dive well."
Anderson, USC's distance stalwart who won the Pac-12 title in the 500y free three weeks ago with a school record, came from behind to lower her mark by another two seconds to 4:34.48. It was the Trojans' first NCAA title in the event since Lindsay Benko in 1999.
Anderson used the fastest final 50 (26.44) to complete a comeback against Georgia freshman Amber McDermott, who finished second in 4:35.09. McDermott took over the lead at the race's midpoint from Cal's Shelley Harper and Anderson soon passed Harper as well to take second. Anderson was a 0.62 behind McDermott with 200 to go. Trailed by 0.17 with 100 to go and by 0.02 with 50 left. From there, Anderson crushed her final 50 for the title.
"I wouldn't say this was unexpected, but it's definitely not my main race," said Anderson, who is the top seed in Saturday's 1650y free. "To come out here on the first day and do well in the 500, it was really exciting."
Hosszu led three Trojans in the 200y IM final. The defending champion in the race, she lowered her school record (1:52.37) by more than half a second, going under the NCAA and American record (1:52.31) in the process, but was out-touched by Cal junior Caitlin Leverenz, 1:51.77 to 1:51.80. The pair posted the two fastest times ever in the race.
Hosszu built a 0.93 lead over Leverenz after the fly and back but Leverenz, a breaststroke specialist, claimed the lead after a blistering breast leg. Hosszu trailed by 0.67 heading into the final 50 in what was now a two-woman race, but narrowly failed to complete the comeback.
Sophomores Stina Gardell and Meghan Hawthorne, who earned their first career NCAA final swims after posting PRs in prelims, finished fifth (1:54.90) and seventh (1:56.07), respectively. It marked a solid leap for Gardell, who won the consolation final in the event last year. For Hawthorne, however, it represented a climb of 32 spots after she finished 39th in the event last year. Gardell's swim was a PR while Hawthorne was just off hers, set in prelims (1:55.93).
Senior Tanya Krisman, who previously had not finished inside the top 40 the past two years in the NCAA 200y IM, scored in the event Thursday with a fourth in the consolation final in 1:57.70 (12th overall). She earned the second swim after going 1:57.84 in prelims. Junior Jessica Schmitt just missed joining her in the consol final. Schmitt lowered her PR in the event (set at last year's NCAAs) with a 1:57.87 out of the fourth of eight heats in prelims and tied for 17th overall.
In the Trojans' fifth consecutive NCAA final appearance in the 400y medley relay, the quartet of junior Christel Simms, sophomore Kasey Carlson, junior Yumi So and Hosszu finished eighth (3:33.94). They went a season-best 3:31.34 in prelims to earn the final nod and the All-American honor, which is a first for So.
Senior co-captain Amanda Smith scored individually for the Trojans for the first time by taking 15th in the 500y free (4:41.59). She earned the consolation final slot after going a season-best 4:40.66 out of the fourth of eight prelim heats. A transfer from Indiana, she also took 12th as a Hoosier in 2008 and 14th as a sophomore. Smith was 27th in the race last season. Sophomore Lynette Lim posted a PR in the 500y free (4:44.53) in prelims and finished 32nd overall.
USC's 200y free relay of Carlson, So, junior Lindsay Parrish and Simms finished sixth in the consolation final (14th overall) in 1:30.16. The unit of Carlson, Simms, Parrish and Smith earned the second swim in prelims with a season-best 1:29.71.
Carlson just missed a second-swim in the 50y free in prelims, finishing 17th in 22.39 (16th was 22.38). Simms tied for 47th in 22.81.
The last time USC won two events on the same day was in 1997 when Kristine Quance won the 200y breast and Benko won the 200y back.
The meet continues Friday and Saturday with prelims at 9 a.m. and finals at 5 p.m. PT.
Click here for the 2012 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving home page.
Host school Auburn is streaming live coverage of all three days of prelims and Thursday's final while WatchESPN.com will stream Friday and Saturday finals.
Click here for Friday prelims.
Click here for Friday finals.
Click here for Saturday prelims.
Click here for Saturday finals.
There will also be a taped delay broadcast on ESPNU on March 21 at 4 p.m. PT.