Trojans Host Arizona, Arizona State
Nov. 20, 2002
USC's men's and women's swimming and diving teams open up the 2002-2003 Pac-10 season when they host Arizona and Arizona State on Friday (Nov. 22) and Saturday (Nov. 23) at the McDonald's Swim Stadium. On Friday at 1 p.m., USC's men will compete in dual-meet action against both Arizona State and Arizona while the women's team will race against Arizona. Beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, all three men's team will compete in a double-distance meet. Following at 1 p.m., USC's women will square off against Arizona State.
USC's men's team is ranked No. 6 in the latest College Swim Coaches of America poll (Nov. 12) while the women are at No. 7. Arizona State's women are No. 16 and its men are No. 9. Arizona's women are No. 9 and its men are No. 13.
ARIZONA AND ARIZONA STATE
The Wildcat women are led by senior All-American Beth Botsford (back) and junior All-American Emily Mason (fly and IM) while the men's team is paced by senior All-American Jeff Dash (fly and IM) and juniors Eric la Fleur (free) and Juan Veloz (fly). The Sun Devil women are led by sophomore Agnes Kovacs (IM and breast) and the men are led by junior All-American Nick Brunelli (free/back).
LAST YEAR VS. ARIZONA AND ARIZONA STATE
USC's men's team lost a heartbreaker to Arizona last year, 122-121, and fell to Arizona State, 162-138. The women were also swept, falling 140-104 to Arizona and 155-145 to Arizona State. USC's men's squad was without any divers because of injuries in both meets, obviously a factor in the one-point loss to Arizona. Senior Erik Vendt had a pair of wins against both Arizona (1000y free and 200y IM) and Arizona State (1000y free and 200y IM). Michala Kwasny won twice against the Wildcats (200y fly and 200y IM) while diver Blythe Hartley (1-meter and 3-meter springboard) and the graduated Katie Meyer (100y and 200y back) each posted two wins against the Sun Devils.
EARLIER THIS YEAR VS. TEXAS (Nov. 1-2)
Both the men's and women's team fell in hard-fought meets at Texas. The men lost to the top-ranked Longhorns, 208-143, while the women were edged on the final relay, 177-176. Erik Vendt won five events over the two-day meet (200y and 400y IM, 500y and 1650y free and 200y breast) while freshman Mihaly Flaskay scored an impressive win in the 100y breast and sophomore Ray Vincent won the 3-meter springboard. Sophomore Kaitlin Sandeno won four times (400y IM, 200y back and 500y and 1650y free) while Blythe Hartley won both springboard events.
TROJAN DIVING INVITATIONAL
FAST TIMES (MEN)
Senior co-captain Erik Vendt and freshman Ous Mellouli currently have the first and second fastest times in the nation, respectively, in the 500y free and the 400y IM. Vendt's gone 4:19.88 in the 500y free and 3:48.42 in the medley while Mellouli has a 4:20.62 in the 500y free and a 3:52.92 in the 400y IM. Vendt, a long-distance and medley specialist, established himself as fantastic pure breaststroker last year and is continuing as such. So far in the young season, his 1:58.92 in the 200y breast is also the fastest in the country. Meanwhile, his 200y IM of 1:50.45 is fourth best. Mellouli also has a Top 10 time in the 200y free (1:38.37, seventh). Freshman Mihaly Flaskay currently has the second-fastest time in the 100y breast (55.14). Senior Jeff Lee has the fifth-fastest time in the 100y fly (49.13) and the 10th in the 200y fly (1:48.78). Fellow senior Eric Tolmachoff actually has a better 200y fly time and is currently seventh in the country at 1:48.66. Sophomore Paul Fahey's 3:56.23 in the 400y IM is 10th best while junior Trent Staley's 1:47.83 in the 200y back is also 10th best.
FAST TIMES (WOMEN)
Sophomore Kaitlin Sandeno's times are littered all over the nation's top times list. She currently has the second-fastest 400y IM mark (4:12.32) and is fourth best in the 200y IM (2:01.53), fifth in the 200y fly (2:00.66) and the 200y back (1:58.89) and sixth in the 500y free (4:49.51). Junior Jana Krohn is fourth in the 200y fly (1:59.95) and fifth in the 100y fly (54.61). Freshman Kammy Miller is fifth in the 200y breast (2:14.25). Senior Asa Sandlund is seventh in the 500y free (4:49.70) and sophomore Margie Pedder is seventh in the 200y fly (2:00.98).
USC head assistant coach Larry Liebowitz has been tabbed to be the head coach for the U.S. men's team at the 2003 World University Games next August. An assistant on the 1999 Pan Am Games team and the 1997 World University Games team, this is his first head coaching position at the national level.
NOT MAKING A SPLASH
USC's diving contingent, especially on the women's side, is as potent a scoring threat as any in the country. Among the returning divers is sophomore Blythe Hartley, the 2002 NCAA Diver of the Year who won a pair of NCAA titles last year, and junior Nicci Fusaro, a three-time All-American last year. On the men's side, redshirt sophomore Ray Vincent is healthy for the first time in almost two seasons. Recovered from shoulder surgery that kept him out last year, Vincent is one of the top divers in the Pac-10.
RETURNING NCAA TITLE WINNERS
USC returns a pair of double-NCAA title winners from last year in senior Erik Vendt and sophomore Blythe Hartley. Vendt, a co-captain for the men's team, won the 1650y free last year as well as the 400y IM and was named 2002 NCAA Swimmer of the Year. Hartley became the first woman ever to win NCAA titles in the 1-meter and the platform in the same meet, earning 2002 NCAA Diver of the Year honors. In addition, senior co-captain Jeff Lee is the only swimmer back from Troy's NCAA title-winning 800y free relay.
RETURNING ALL-AMERICANS (MEN)
Erik Vendt, winner of the 400y IM and the 1650y free and second in the 500y free, and Jeff Lee, second in the 200y fly and fifth in the 100y fly, are USC's only returning All-Americans on the men's team.
RETURNING ALL-AMERICANS (WOMEN)
USC's women's squad returns all but one of its eight All-Americans from last year's NCAA Championships. Sophomore Joanna Fargus (100y and 200y back and 400y and 800y free relay) was USC's only four-time All-American last year. Blythe Hartley and junior Nicci Fusaro each earned All-American honors in each diving event. Senior co-captain Michala Kwasny (200y fly, 400y IM, 400y free relay) and sophomore Kaitlin Sandeno (200y fly, 400y IM, 800y free relay) were both three-time All-Americans while senior Jennifer Parmenter (400y and 800y free relay) and junior Jana Krohn (100y fly) also return.
2002 NCAA, PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS
USC's women's team earned a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Championships, only a half of a point out of third place, and a second-place finish at the Pac-10s. The men's squad, meanwhile, took fifth at the NCAAs, five points out of fourth place, and finished fourth at the conference meet. In addition to Erik Vendt's and Blythe Hartley's NCAA titles, USC is defending a handful of Pac-10 titles. Vendt is the Pac-10 defending champ in the 500y and 1650y free while the Trojans are the defending champions of the 800y free relay. For the women, Michala Kwasny won the 400y IM, Hartley won the 1-meter while Nicci Fusaro won the 3-meter and platform.
USC Coach Mark Schubert is in his 11th year at Troy. Two years ago, he finished a stint as head coach of the U.S. men's swim team at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. It was his sixth consecutive USA Olympic coaching position. Since he has been at USC, the men's and women's swimming programs are a combined 123-37. In his 33 years of coaching, Schubert has placed 28 swimmers on U.S. Olympic teams; these athletes have won 18 gold and eight silver medals, plus five world championship titles.
An NCAA champion and two-time Olympian, Hongping Li is in his fourth season coaching USC's men's and women's divers. Li, the winner of the 1998 and 1999 United States Olympic Committee's "Diving Developmental Coach of the Year," award, came to USC after serving as the head coach of the Mission Viejo (Calif.) Nadadores Diving Team since 1993. Li has had immediate and tremendous success in his first three years at USC. Most recently, he helped guide then-freshman Blythe Hartley to a pair of NCAA titles in 2002 and recognition as the 2002 NCAA and Pac-10 Diver of the Year. Also last year, then-sophomore Nicci Fusaro joined Hartley as USC's only two divers to earn All-American honors in all three diving specialties in one NCAA meet. In 2001, Li guided Kellie Brennan to a pair of All-American honors (and her third consecutive Pac-10 1-meter title) and Fusaro to her first All-American honor at the 2001 NCAAs. Both also reached the top three at the 2001 U.S. Indoor Championships.