Feb. 28, 2004
LONG BEACH, Calif. -- With a team total of 1,380 points, Stanford's women's swimming and diving team came away with the Pac-10 Championship for the second time in three years. Several individual performances highlighted the final day of competition at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool but none more so than the Cardinal's Tara Kirk who recorded a new American Record in the 200 breaststroke.
The UCLA Bruins (1,329) were a close second in the team race with Arizona (1,221.5) in third, California (1,117.5) in fourth, Arizona State (863) in fifth, USC (806.5) in sixth, Oregon State (405.5) in seventh, Washington (396) in eighth and Washington State (278) in ninth.
Three of the top breaststrokers in the nation finished 1-2-3 in the 200, but it was Kirk who grabbed the spotlight with the fastest swim ever by an American. She owned the lead from the start and only increased it as the race wore on, touching the wall in a staggering 2:07.13. The battle for second was as close as it comes with Oregon State's Birte Steven (2:10.30) edging out Arizona State's ?gnes Kov?cs (2:10.32). Those three times were the NCAA automatic times in the event.
Kaitlin Sandeno put an exclamation mark on her conference meet by setting her second Pac-10 meet record in as many days. Her time of 1:52.63 in the 200 butterfly eclipses the old meet record of 1:53.50 set by Shelly Ripple of Stanford in 2002. Yesterday Sandeno clocked a 4:05.74 in the 400 IM to break the previous record set by Summer Sanders in 1992.
Sandeno's swim in the 200 fly was one of seven NCAA automatic times recorded in an extremely fast championship heat. Stanford's Dana Kirk (1:54.00) was in second, UCLA's Kim Vandenberg (1:55.13) was third, Arizona's Whitney Myers (1:56.37) was fourth, UCLA's Kristen Lewis (1:56.77) was fifth, Arizona's Emily Mason (1:56.81) was sixth and California's Erin Reilly (1:58.11) was seventh.
In the first race of the night, USC's Kalyn Keller got the crowd on their feet early, breaking away from the pack in the 1,650 freestyle to establish a new Pac-10 meet record with a 15:48.99. The freshman put the finishing touches on her first conference meet by breaking the meet's previous best of 15:53.77 set by American swimming legend and former Stanford Cardinal Janet Evans in 1990.
The top five finishers all recorded NCAA automatic times with USC's Margie Pedder (16:03.08) in second, UCLA's Katie Nelson (16:07.15) in third and Stanford's Lauren Costella (16:12.05) and Morgan Hentzen (16:18.88) in fourth and fifth respectively.
In the closest race of the meet, only eight-hundredths of a second separated first from third in the 200 backstroke. Arizona's Jessica Hayes touched the wall first in 1:56.41, only a hair faster than Katie Arnold of UCLA who got to the pad in 1:56.44. Joanna Fargus of USC took home third in 1:56.49 with California's Helen Silver rounding out the grouping of NCAA times with a 1:58.17 for fourth place.
As the American record holder in the event, Natalie Coughlin of Cal was the favorite to win the 100 freestyle and she did not disappoint, touching the wall in 47.87 to secure the victory. The top three finishers all earned NCAA automatic times as UCLA's Sara Platzer (49.29) finished second and Stanford's Lacey Boutwell (49.70) came in third. Florencia Szigeti of ASU placed fourth (49.85) and Malin Svahnstrom of UCLA was fifth (50.39).
In the final event of the Championships, Cal's 400 freestyle relay squad of Coughlin, Danielle Becks, Micha Burden and Lauren Medina claimed first place with an NCAA automatic time of 3:18.25. UCLA (3:19.72) was second with Stanford (3:19.75) in third, both of which were NCAA consideration times.
2004 Pac-10 Women's Swimming & Diving Championships Final Score 1 Stanford 1,380 2 UCLA 1,329 3 Arizona 1,221.5 4 California 1,117.5 5 Arizona State 863 6 USC 806.5 7 Oregon State 405.5 8 Washington 396 9 Washington St. 278