Quintero Wins NCAA 200 Free Title, Leads USC To Repeat Win In 800 Free Relay

    Senior Cristian Quintero on the podium after winning the NCAA title in the 200y free in a school-record 1:32.03.
    March 27, 2015

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    Senior Cristian Quintero won USC's first NCAA title in the 200y free since 2001 and then joined sophomores Dylan Carter, Michael Domagala and Reed Malone as they repeated as NCAA champions in the 800y free relay to highlight Troy's second night of the 2015 NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships in Iowa City, Iowa, on Friday (March 27).

    The Trojans moved up from Thursday and are now fifth with 197 points. Texas remains first (399) and is followed by California (275), Michigan (210), Florida (205), USC, Stanford (156), Georgia (148.5), Auburn (131), Alabama (127) and North Carolina State (104.5).

    USC capped the night with the come-from-behind win in the 800y free relay, breaking the school record with a 6:11.64, re-taking the lead on the final 50. Quintero opened with a 1:32.89 to give Troy the early edge and Carter went 1:32.78 to keep the Trojans ahead of the Wolfpack.

    Domagala, the fly specialist, battled to hold off swimmers on both sides of him and went 1:34.38, though North Carolina State pulled ahead at the 600 by 0.57. The Wolfpack's Simonas Bilis actually extended the lead to .061 with 100 left and still led Malone by 0.07 with 50 left. From there, Malone reeled him, passing him on the final turn and going on to win by 0.84, touching with a relay best 1:31.59 split.

    The last team to repeat as champions in the 800y free relay was Texas in 2009 and 2010. The victory was USC's ninth as a program

    "I just wanted to do my best for the team," said Malone, who joined Quintero and Carter on last year's winning relay, along with the graduated Dimitri Colupaev. "That's what I was thinking about the whole race, doing it for the guys I train with every day. Doing it for the group and when the race is close, I want to do it for my brothers. I was so excited for the opportunity and I'm proud of the whole team."

    Quintero lowered his 200y free school record by 0.25 with a dominating 1:32.03 to win going away, 0.70 ahead of second-place finisher Anders Nielsen of Michigan. The Venezuelan was third after the first 50, but took over the lead after 100, turned at the 150 ahead by 0.34 and touched first 50 yards later for his second career NCAA title. He won the 500y free last year.

    Quintero, second in the 200y free last year and fourth in 2013, captured the top seed in the event with a morning 1:32.70. The last Trojan to win the NCAA title in the race was Klete Keller, the Olympian winning his 2001 title with a 1:34.43.

    Said USC Coach Dave Salo: "The 200y free was great. Cristian deserves that. He trains hard, does everything right, is a great kid and swam a great race. We love winning the 800y free relay. It's the relay that says you trained hard. We busted our butts to win it.

    "We won it two years in a row and went faster than at Pac-12s. We talked about digging in deep and they did. Reed was a little off in the morning 200, but his alter ego took over on that relay and we needed that."

    Said Quintero: "It's pretty exciting, I really needed that. I was able to move on after the first swim, the 500 wasn't so good for me, but I was able to move past it, move on, and came really strong with that 200 free. It was a best time, so that was great. I wanted to be able to break the 1:32 barrier, but I'm still happy and I'm happy for my team."

    Senior Luca Spinazzola and freshman Ralf Tribuntsov joined Quintero as USC's other `A' finalists, finishing sixth (45.63) and eighth (46.20), respectively, in the 100y back. It the second straight sixth-place in the race for the senior Spinazzola and the first `A' final for the Estonian freshman.

    USC's 200y medley relay reached just its second A final since 2006 as the quartet of Spinazzola, junior Morten Klarskov and sophomores Carter and Santo Condorelli finished sixth in 1:24.08. That same foursome smashed the three-week old school record to kick off the day in prelims in 1:23.90, erasing the 1:24.36 mark they set at Pac-12s.

    Condorelli broke his 100y fly record en route to second place in the 100y fly `B' final with a 45.79, lowering his Trojan standard by 0.06. It was his second `B' final of the meet after a 50y free swim yesterday. He went 46.23 in prelims.

    Carter repeated as a 200y free `B' finalist, finishing 16th in 1:36.01. He lowered his personal best to 1:33.27 in prelims to finish ninth in the morning, 0.02 from a top 8 mark. Reed Malone finished 22nd in 1:34.47.

    Senior Andrew Malone scored his first NCAA individual points, taking seventh in the `B' final of the 100y breast in 52.79. He was 14th in prelims in 52.62, 0.04 off his personal best. Sophomore Steven Stumph was 27th (53.20), Klarskov was 32nd (53.36) and junior Ridge Altman was 39th (53.83).

    In 100y fly prelims, Domagala was 21st (46.48) and Tribuntsov was 26th (46.65). In the 100y back prelims, senior Cary Wright posted a personal best in the event's first heat in 47.59, which made him the 10th fastest Trojan ever in the race.

    In 3-meter diving, junior Collin Pollard was 22nd (367.60), freshman Dashiell Enos was 23rd (366.65) and junior Deon Reid, in his NCAA debut, was 39th (323.10).

    The meet concludes Saturday with prelims at 9 a.m. and finals at 5 p.m.