Women's Swimming & Diving
    Anderson Swims To Title, Claiming 500 In Indy To Open NCAAs

    Senior Haley won her second straight NCAA title in the 500y free tonight, coming from behind to win.

    March 21, 2013


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    USC at the 2013 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships Photo Gallery

    Senior Haley Anderson successfully defended her title in the 500-yard freestyle while juniors Stina Gardell (200y IM), Meghan Hawthorne (200y IM) and Kasey Carlson (50y free) all swam in finals as well to lead the No. 1 USC women's swimming and diving team on the first night of the 2013 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships at the IU Natatorium/IUPUI Sports Complex in Indianapolis, Ind., on Thursday (March 21).

    The Trojans, third at the NCAAs the past two years, finished the first day in sixth with 90 points. Georgia took the day one lead with 163 points with Tennessee, winner of both relays today, in second (150.50) and followed in the top 10 by Arizona (127), two-time defending champs Cal (102), Stanford (90.5), USC (90), Florida (74), Texas A&M (72), Texas (65) and Minnesota (41).

    USC's morning 400y medley relay, which would've scored solidly in tonight's final, was disqualified for a violation and kept the Trojans out of the top 4 in team scoring.

    Anderson helped alleviate the disappoint of the troubled relay by winning the 500y free for the second time in a row, this one in 4:34.66, just off the school record set in last year's title swim (4:34.48).

    Anderson was in a three-way battle with Georgia's Amber McDermott and three-time NCAA champion in the race Allison Schmitt for the first 400 yards with two others a half second back. McDermott actually edged ahead by 0.02 at the 400 mark and led by 0.05 with 50 to go, as the rest of the field slightly fell of the pace.

    Still trailing with 25 to go, Anderson churned in a final-50 best 26.42, passing McDermott over the final 15 yards for the win. The only other Trojan to win an NCAA title in the race was three-time winner Lindsay Mintenko (Benko), who was on hand today as an awards presenter.

    "I've been nervous for this race all year, trying to defend it. You never know with the 500. It was such a strong field, it could have been anyone," Anderson said. "You never know when someone will make their move. But at the 250, I was excited that I was out in front and got some confidence. When Amber passed me on the last 50, I said, "Oh shoot," but I always finish fast and felt good down the stretch."

    Gardell turned in her second PR of the day in the 200y IM to finish a career-best fourth in the race in 1:54.49 (after going 1:55.01 in prelims). She was fifth last year at the NCAAs. Hawthorne, swam a lifetime best in prelims (1:55.84) to earn her second straight final as well and finished eighth tonight in 1:56.71.

    Carlson returned to the 50y free final for the first time since 2011 and in a tightly bunched field, finished seventh in 22.06, a mere 0.05 out of fourth and 0.18 out of second.

    Earlier in the evening, Carlson led USC's first appearance in an NCAA 200y free relay final since 1999. In prelims, Carlson and freshmen Jasmine Tosky, Kendyl Stewart and Kasia Wilk went 1:28.42 to qualify for the final with the fifth-fastest morning swim and a school record. In the final, Carlson, Wilk, Stewart and senior Christel Simms touched in 1:28.63 for sixth.

    "The girls came back from the disappointment of the 400 medley relay and had a strong evening," USC seventh-year head coach Dave Salo said. "Haley swam a tremendous race and I'm really proud of our 200 free relay. We need to build off the momentum and keep it going the next two days."

    Sophomore Andrea Kropp scored her first career NCAA points by finishing 12th in the `B' final of the 200y IM in 1:57.15, improving on the PR she set in prelims by 0.01.

    Wilk also scored individually, swimming in the `B' final of the 50y free, finishing 16th (22.79). She went 22.36 in prelims.

    Tosky finished 19th in the 200y IM in 1:57.82, 0.15 out of the final spot for the `B' final, while senior Jessica Schmitt was 28th in 1:58.47. Freshman Joanna Stenkvist was 54th in the 500y free (4:49.52).

    Sophomore diver Haley Ishimatsu finished 17th on 1-meter springboard (288.95), just out of scoring position.

    The meet continues Friday and Saturday (March 21-22) with prelims at 11 a.m. and finals at 4 p.m. (PST) both days.