Chenault Wins 500 Free Title, Trojans Take Slim Day 2 Lead At Pac-12s|
Feb. 25, 2016
Junior Chelsea Chenault won her first career conference title, highlighting four Trojans finalists in the 500y free and nine A finalists overall to lead No. 4 USC to a slim Day 2 lead Thursday night (Feb. 25) at the 2016 Pac-12 Women's Swimming and Diving Championships in Federal Way, Wash.
USC, looking for its first conference title since 1985, now has 471 points, two more than second-place Stanford with Cal third (436.5), Arizona fourth (363), UCLA fifth (338), Arizona State sixth (187.5), Utah seventh (186), Washington State eighth (168) and Oregon State ninth (155).
Chenault, a six-time finalist entering the meet with a pair of third-place finishes in the 500y free, won her first Pac-12 race with a 4:38.13, firmly ahead of Arizona's second-place Bonnie Brandon (4:41.77). It was USC's first win in the event since 2013 and Troy's ninth overall.
Freshman Elizabeth Stinson finished fourth (4:42.93), senior Joanna Stenkvist (4:42.98) was fifth and freshman Allie Wooden, part of the 800y free relay title with Chenault yesterday, was eighth (4:46.02). It was Stenkvist's second straight A final in the 500y free after a seventh last year.
"It was awesome racing with three other Trojans in the A final," Chenault said. "It made it so much easier for me to feel relaxed and have fun with it. I'm proud of all of our girls tonight. They're inspiring me every day."
Two more freshmen reached the A final of the 200y IM as Kirsten Vose, another member of USC's winning relay last night, took third in 1:55.65 (PR) while Riley Scott was eighth (1:56.80). Fellow freshman Destiny Nelson was 14th (1:59.68) and senior Brianna Weinstein was 21st (2:01.91).
Junior transfer Anika Apostalon, in her first Pac-12 final, was third in the 50y free in 21.94 after her prelim time of 21.89 was 0.03 off the NCAA `A' cut. Senior Kasia Wilk joined her in the final, tying for a career-best fifth (22.13) in her third career final in the race. Junior Evan Swenson was 14th (22.73).
Freshman diver Madison Witt was another A finalist, taking third on 3-meter with a personal-best 344.35 points. Senior Katherine Van Winkle was 18th (251.15), senior Natalie Kalibat was 19th (248.35), senior Sam Adams was 24th (234.00), senior Jacqui Suitt was 25th (232.75) and freshman Tabby Krebs was 26th (229.70).
USC closed Thursday night's competition with a fourth in the 200y free relay as Apostalon, Vose, Swenson and Wilk go a season-best 1:28.57.
"We have had some inspiring swims through this session and it's clear that the women want to win a championship. Tomorrow is the critical session if we can hold to the slight lead that we have," USC Coach Dave Salo said.
"The women in the 500 free, led by Chelsea, set the tone for our finals tonight and Maddie Witt's performance on the 3-meter board tonight was awesome. A lot of people are talking about the freshmen and how well they are stepping up and we have another freshman class next year that is also going to be a force."