No. 4 USC Wins First-Ever Pac-12 Title!|
Feb. 27, 2016
USC sent 21 swimmers and six divers to the 2016 Pac-12 Championships and each one scored over the four-day meet as the No. 4 Trojans won the program's first ever Pac-12 title on Saturday night (Feb. 27) at the 2016 Pac-12 Women's Swimming and Diving Championships.
USC's previous best Pac-12 finish was second, something it did six times, most recently in 2013 when it scored a then-program best 1418.5 points and lost by 21 to Stanford in the closest finish in conference history.
But a new chapter was written this week as the Trojans, which were led on the final night by a freshman Elizabeth Stinson's title in the 1650y free and freshman Riley Scott's second in the 200y breast, finished with a program-best 1481 points. Stanford took second (1344) and Cal, the defending Pac-12 champion, was third (1306). Arizona was fourth (1125) and was followed by UCLA (995), Utah (538.5), Washington State (477), Arizona State (472.5) and Oregon State (291).
When USC's 400y free relay of senior Kasia Wilk, freshman Kirsten Vose and juniors Chelsea Chenault and Anika Apostalon finished second with a school-record 3:11.87 in the final race, the celebration started for a team that hadn't won a conference title of any kind since 1985. That year, the Trojans won the Western Collegiate Athletic Association crown for the fourth time. Two seasons later, the Pac-10 began holding women's swimming and diving championships.
The win tonight comes a year after USC's men's team ended an even longer drought when the 2015 squad won the Pac-12 title for the first time since 1979.
"I'm really proud of this group of women," USC Coach Dave Salo said. "They identified their goal of winning the championship last year after watching the men come away with the title, and never moved off course. They swam hard and always worked to be better in every session. Beyond that they had fun getting it done. There is nothing greater than to watch a young group of adults forge a committed goal and stick to it and accomplish the goal!
"Everyone played a part and no one person can be singled out, but the captains, Kendyl Stewart and Lucy Worrall deserve a lot of credit along with my entire staff and the support from the athletic department."
Stinson set the tone for the final night with her victory in the 1650y free, winning in 15:59.13 and pulling away at the end, seven seconds ahead of Oregon State's Sammy Harrison. Freshman teammate Allie Wooden, like Stinson a finalist in the 500y free, took third in 16:08.42. Both times were PRs.
Scott, second in the 100y breast last night, equaled the result in the 200 with a 2:08.84 (PR), 1.15 back of Stanford's Sarah Haase. Vose, like Scott in her third A final of the meet, was seventh (2:10.07). Junior Kelsey Kafka took third in the B final in 2:12.18 (11th overall) while junior Riley Hayward was 15th (2:14.68). Senior Brianna Weinstein was 20th (2:14.56, PR).
Apostalon (47.77) and Wilk (47.93, PR) finished third and fourth, respectively, in the 100y free A final while junior Evan Swenson was 16th. It was Wilk's second straight trip to the final in that event, topping her fifth last year.
Senior Kendyl Stewart, in her first career 200y back final, took sixth (1:52.70) while sophomore Hannah Weiss, in her second, was eighth (1:54.86). Freshman Hanni Leach won the B final of the 200y back in 1:54.18 (PR) with senior Joanna Stenkvist behind her in 10th (1:54.73). Freshman Destiny Nelson was 14th (1:56.98).
Chenault led three A finalist in the 200y fly, finishing fourth with 1:55.16. Freshman Madison Wright, in her first career A final, was sixth (1:56.60) while senior Lucy Worrall, in her first A final of the event, was seventh (1:56.93). Freshman Sydney Lofquist was 14th (1:59.70) out of the B final while freshman Lily Dubroff tied for 17th (1:59.65) out of the C final.
Freshman diver Madison Witt made her second A final appearance and finished fifth with 276.70. Fellow freshman Tabby Krebs topped her weekend of diving with an 11th (236.10), while seniors Sam Adams (15th, 214.80), Jacqui Suitt (21st, 207.15), Katherine Van Winkle (22nd 202.15) and Natalie Kalibat (24th, 182.80) all scored, too.