Ishimatsu Repeats As NCAA Platform Champ, USC Finishes NCAAs Fifth
March 22, 2014
Haley Ishimatsu became the first NCAA woman to repeat as platform champion in more than two decades while senior Kasey Carlson finished her career as a first-time 100y free finalist, the duo leading USC to a fifth-place finish on the final night of the 2014 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships, on Saturday (March 22) at the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center in Minneapolis.
USC claimed fifth with 252 points for its fifth straight top 7 finish, which includes third-places in 2011 and 2012 and seventh-places in 2010 and 2013. The Trojans are one of only three teams to finish in the top 7 in each of the past 5 years, joining Georgia and California.
Georgia won its second straight NCAA title tonight with 528 points and was followed in the top 10 by Stanford (402.5), California (386), Texas A&M (336), USC, Florida (239), Tennessee (223), Arizona (156), Texas (144) and Minnesota (136.5).
Ishimatsu won her second straight platform title with 365.15 points. As she did in prelims, she struggled with her fourth dive, a back 3 1/2 somersault tuck, and needed at least 66 points on her final dive to secure the win. And just as she did on her final prelim dive, Ishimatsu nailed her finale, scoring 81.60 points on a back 2 1/2 somersault 1 1/2 twist pike to win by 15.85 points.
Her back-to-back wins make her the first NCAA woman to repeat as platform diving champion since Stanford's Eileen Richetelli did it in 1992-93. The only other woman to do it was BYU's Courtney Nelson in 1990 and 1991, the first two years the event was held.
It was a challenging year for Ishimatsu and the entire Trojan diving program, which lost about half of its typical training time because its facilities were unavailable due to construction of the new Uytengsu Aquatics Center. Despite training less while doing it off-site -- and dealing with back injuries -- she won a pair of Pac-12 titles this year as well as her second national crown.
"Haley had a great performance tonight," head diving coach Hongping Li said. "It wasn't quite like her record-setting performance last year, but considering the facility issues we had, lack of training time and that she was battling injuries, what she accomplished today was amazing."
Said Ishimatsu: "My fourth dive has always been a little bit shaky. It's not exactly very consistent. But that last dive, I knew I could do it well. It's a great finisher and I know I can do it. So, that was good. It feels great to be able to contribute so much to the team and to know that they support me and know that I can still support them."
Carlson was Troy's other individual `A' finalist tonight. A two-time career `B' finalist in the 100y free, she became just the second Trojan is almost two decades to swim in the `A' final of the 100y free, finishing sixth in 47.86. That's also where Rhi Jeffrey finished the last time USC had an `A' finalist in the race in 2006. The previous Trojan to swim in it was Allison Bock in 1996.
Carlson earned the berth with a 47.69 in prelims, which also would've been sixth in the evening. With a second place in the 50y free on Thursday and fourth in the 100y breast on Friday, she is an NCAA three-time individual finalist for the first time.
Earlier in the day, Carlson joined sophomore Kasia Wilk, freshman Chelsea Chenault and sophomore Jasmine Tosky as they obliterated the weeks-old school record in the 400y free relay prelims in 3:12.84 to qualify for only USC's second `A' final in the race since 2002. Their time lowered the previous school standard set at Pac-12s by 1.48 seconds.
The same quartet swam in the `A' final and finished just off the prelim mark, touching sixth in 3:13.01. Wilk's 48.26 leadoff was a personal best.
Four of five Trojan relays earned All-American honors during the meet (all but the 200y medley relay, which won the `B' final) and only Wilk was on all four. Carlson and Tosky were on three each.
Junior Andrea Kropp, in the `B' final of the 200y breast, took sixth (14th overall) in 2:09.44. She swam a 2:08.69 in prelims. It marks her second scoring effort in the event after taking seventh last year at the NCAAs. Tosky also swam in a `B' final, taking eighth in the 200y fly in 1:58.42 and it was her second straight year scoring in the event as well.
USC finishers from the final day of prelims included sophomores Kendyl Stewart (35th, 1:55.84) and Joanna Stenkvist (38th, 1:56.22) and freshman Lexie Malazdrewicz (43rd, 1:56.53) in the 200y back, Wilk in the 100y free (24th, 48.73), seniors Stina Gardell (36th, 2:11.75) and Meghan Hawthorne (47th, 2:13.23) in the 200y breast, Chenault in the 200y fly (41st, 1:58.78) and senior Lynette Lim in the 1650y free (44th, 16:43.34).
"I think we found out at this competition that being top 5 in the country is not an easy thing," USC Coach Dave Salo said. "It's pretty tough and we battled back from some stumbles. The trooper was Haley Ishimatsu. She's got a bad back and has dealt with some strained training situations. Her fourth dive wasn't her best but she knew what she needed to do. It was a great performance. Being top 5 isn't easy, but it's nice to be here."
USC 2014 All-Americans