March 1, 2002
LONG BEACH, Calif. - A trio of runner-up finishes and a host of school records highlighted Arizona State's performance in the second day of the Pac-10 women's swimming championships at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in Long Beach, Calif., Friday.
With only one day remaining, Stanford continues to hold the team lead with 916 points, followed by USC (792.5), California (765), Arizona (740), UCLA (664.5), ASU (539.5), Washington (319.5), Oregon State (318) and Washington State (301).
Freshman ?gnes Kov?cs placed second in two events Friday, the 400-yard individual medley and the 100y breaststroke. In the 400y IM, Kov?cs improved her school record from 4:11.68 to 4:10.77, but couldn't catch Cal's Michala Kwasny, who won the event in 4:09.48. Then in the 100y breast, Kov?cs swam a collegiate-best 1:00.48, but finished runner-up to Stanford's Tara Kirk, who won the event with an American and NCAA record time of 58.68. The Sun Devils' Riley Mants, ranked third in school history behind only Kov?cs and ASU record-holder Beata Kaszuba, won the consolation final to place ninth in 1:02.50, just off her best of 1:02.44.
In the 100y butterfly, senior Sarah Baham earned ASU's third second-place finish of the meet while improving her own school record from 53.68 to 53.58. Stanford's Shelly Ripple claimed the Pac-10 event title in 52.16.
ASU's next-highest finish on the day was in the 200y medley relay, where Miranda Shald, Kov?cs, Florence Mauro and Claire Hedenskog became the second-fastest Sun Devil team ever in the event, while placing fourth in 1:41.07. California established a meet record by winning in 1:39.20.
Shald, who was already ASU's record holder in the 100y backstroke (55.11) based on an opening split from a 400y medley relay performance, improved her lifetime best in the finals of the 100y back, placing sixth in 55.09. Cal's Natalie Coughlin won the event with an American and NCAA record pace of 50.71.
The only other individual swimming event Friday was the 200y freestyle, where ASU failed to qualify a swimmer into the championship final, but was represented by three athletes in the consolation final. Florencia Szigeti earned ASU's top finish in the event, just a tenth of a second off her collegiate best with her a 1:48.57 performance for 10th. Senior Amanda Stanford, who first swam a personal best just to make it to finals (1:50.08), improved yet again the second time around, placing 13th with the ninth-fastest time in ASU history, 1:49.51. Brooke Townsend placed 15th in 1:50.10 after touching the wall in a collegiate best 1:49.56 during prelims.
ASU's 800y free relay team was disqualified.
Also Friday, the Pac-10 diving championships for both women and men continued from the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center in Tucson, Ariz. In second-day action, senior Natalie Burgess again led the women, placing eighth in the 3-meter springboard with a total score of 447.70. Thomas McCrummen placed third (331.95) and Gordon Blukis took fifth (300.40) on the men's side in the 1-meter springboard.
The women's Pac-10 swimming championships conclude tomorrow, including event finals of the 1650y freestyle, 200y backstroke, 100y freestyle, 200y breaststroke, 200y butterfly and 400y freestyle relay. The Sun Devils are looking to improve upon six consecutive sixth-place finishes dating back to 1995.
In individual action, Kov?cs will again meet up with Kirk as she contends for the Pac-10 title in the 200y breast. The ASU women have not had a Pac-10 title winner in any event since taking home five event crowns in 1995.
Pac-10 diving championships also conclude tomorrow in Tucson, Ariz., with the men's and women's platform competitions.
The men's Pac-10 swimming championships are scheduled for March 7-9, also in Long Beach, Calif.