No. 4 USC Maintains Pac-12 Championships Lead Heading Into Final Day|
Feb. 26, 2016
Nine Trojans swam in A finals tonight, highlighted by freshmen Kirsten Vose and Riley Scott and senior Kendyl Stewart all turning in second-place swims, and eight more were in B finals as the deep USC squad maintained first place Friday night (Feb. 26) at the 2016 Pac-12 Women's Swimming and Diving Championships.
The Trojans, seeking their first conference title since they won the Western Collegiate Athletic Association crown in 1985, will take a narrow five-point lead into Saturday's final day with 951 points. Stanford is second with 946 and Cal has 890.5 to round out the top 3.
Vose, third in the 200y IM on Thursday, led three Trojans in the top 5 of the 200y free A final and four in the top 9 with a second-place finish in 1:44.19, 0.12 off her PR. Stanford's Lia Neal won in 1:42.50.
Junior Chelsea Chenault, the school record holder in the 200 and coming off the win in the 500y free last night, was fourth in 1:44.82 after finishing third the past two years. Senior Joanna Stenkvist was fifth in the race with a PR of 1:45.32 in her fourth career Pac-12 final after going a previous best 1:45.62 in prelims. She was 16th last year.
Senior Kasia Wilk crushed the `B' final to win in 1:44.44, a PR that would've finished third in the A final. Freshman Allie Wooden, who barely made the C final in 24th, was second in the C final, 18th overall, in 1:47.63.
Scott, eighth in the 200y IM, powered to a second in the 100y breast in a PR of 59.31, USC's fastest time since Kasey Carlson went 58.47 in 2014. Juniors Kelsey Kafka (1:00.93) and Riley Hayward (1:01.03, PR) each made their first Pac-12 A final appearance and finished fifth and sixth, respectively. Junior Evan Swenson was 20th (1:03.32).
Stewart, the two-time 100y fly champ in her fourth A final in the race, registered her second top 2, finishing second in 51.17, an NCAA `A' cut 0.25 off her school record and 0.64 behind Cal's Farisa Osman. Fellow senior co-captain Lucy Worrall, in her second straight Pac-12 100y fly final, touched sixth in 52.29 after a seventh last year.
Weiss later repeated as a 100y back finalist and took seventh in 52.79. USC maximized its three `B' finalists as Stewart won the heat in 52.60 with junior Anika Apostalon 10th (52.84) and freshman Hanni Leach 11th (53.03).
Freshman Destiny Nelson led USC in the 400y IM, finishing 11th in 4:15.14 after going 4:15.65 in prelims. Freshman Sydney Lofquist was 14th (4:16.53), senior Brianna Weinstein was 18th (4:17.85, PR) and freshman Lily Dubroff was 24th (4:23.26).
USC closed the night with a third in the 400y medley relay as Weiss, Scott, Stewart and Apostalon turned in a season-best 3:30.31, 0.49 off the school record.
Tomorrow's prelims are set for 11 a.m. with finals at 6 p.m.
"With one day to go we are still holding on to a razor thin lead, and the women's enthusiasm and spirit have not wavered," USC Coach Dave Salo said. "Everyone has stepped up and raced hard during the finals session and in many cases moved up from the morning rankings. That's how you can tell these women want this.
"The swim of the night probably has to go to Kasia in the consolation heat of the 200 free. It was only her second 200 of the season she demolished the heat with a maxing 1:44.4. She spurred on our finalists in the same event -- Henriette, Chelsea and Kirsten, which was crucial in scoring points against Cal and Stanford.
"The women's 400 medley closed out the session with an outstanding third place finish."