Carlson, Gardell, Two Relays Earn 'A' Final Berths To Kick Off NCAAs
March 20, 2014
Seniors Kasey Carlson (50y free) and Stina Gardell (200y IM) and junior Haley Ishimatsu (1-meter) each snared `A' final berths, as did Troy's 200y free and 400y medley relays, to kick off USC's first morning of prelims at the 2014 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships at the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center in Minneapolis on Thursday (March 20).
Carlson earned her second straight trip to the NCAA 50y free final with a 21.02, tied for fifth overall in the prelim session. Earlier in the morning, she lowered her school-record in the distance with a 21.63 to lead-off USC's 200y free relay.
Before last season, USC hadn't reached an NCAA `A' final in the 200y free relay since 1999. Now the Trojans have done it twice in a row as the quartet of Carlson, sophomores Kasia Wilk and Kendyl Stewart and freshman Evan Swenson qualified with a school-record 1:27.87, lowering their record of 1:28.03 set at Pac-12s. They got into the final thanks in no small part to Carlson's school-record lead-off 50, lowering it from 21.74.
Gardell will make her third consecutive appearance in the 200y IM final after sneaking into the `A' final in eighth in 1:56.29. She was fourth last year and fifth in 2012.
Had Gardell gone two tenths slower, sophomore Jasmine Tosky would've gotten the last `A' spot. As it stands, she will be the top seed in the `B' final with a 1:56.48, just off her season-best 1:56.39 set at Pac-12s. Tosky was 19th in the race last year.
Joining Tosky in the 200y IM `B' final will be senior Meghan Hawthorne, who finished 11th overall in 1:56.93. It will mark her third straight scoring effort as she was an `A' finalist the past two years.
Freshman Chelsea Chenault, in her first NCAA swim, pocketed a berth into the `B' final of the 500y free with a 4:39.84, 13th overall in the morning. Chenault's 200 and 300 times were both second-fastest among the 61 swimmers, but she couldn't hold onto the pace.
The Trojans closed the session with a season-best effort in the 400y medley relay as Stewart, Carlson, Tosky and Wilk earned the sixth seed with a 3:30.89, just more than a second off the school record of 3:29.82 set in 2011.
Following the swimming, Ishimatsu earned an `A' finals berth in the 1-meter springboard by taking sixth with 293.75. In a tight event with nine points separating fifth and 13th, Ishimatsu, the 2013 NCAA platform champion, turned in a steady six dives, clinching her first NCAA point-scoring effort in the event.
Other Trojan finishers from the morning included senior Lynette Lim in the 500y free (4:47.67, 55th), junior Andrea Kropp in the 200y IM (1:58.50, 37th) and Wilk in the 50y free (22.44, tied for 29th).
Finals will begin at 5 p.m. PT.
* Links to live streaming for all three prelim sessions as well as Thursday's finals are below, as are links for ESPN3's live coverage of Friday's and Saturday's finals beginning at 4 p.m. (PT) each day.