March 21, 2002
AUSTIN, Texas - Arizona State's 400-yard medley relay team placed fifth in a school record time of 3:36.56 to highlight Sun Devil performances in the opening day of the women's swimming and diving NCAA Championships from the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center in Austin, Texas, Thursday. Seeking its first top-15 finish since 1995 and first top-10 finish since 1993, ASU completed the first of the three-day meet in 12th place with 34 points. Auburn leads the meet with 153 points.
After turning in the third-fastest prelim time (3:37.63), ASU's 400y medley relay team of Miranda Shald, ?gnes Kov?cs, Sarah Baham and Claire Hedenskog improved upon their own record of 3:37.46 by almost a full second in event finals (3:36.56). Stanford won the event title with an NCAA and American record time of 3:31.74, followed by Pac-10 foe California (3:32.55) and Auburn (3:34.53), respectively. Georgia placed just ahead of ASU in fourth (3:35.99), while intrastate rival Arizona settled for sixth (3:37.10).
As has become habit, Shald emerged from the 400y medley relay having improved her own school record in the 100y backstroke by virtue of her opening split. Based upon her effort in the same relay event at the Pac-10 Championships, Shald came into the meet with the ASU 100y back record at 54.98. However, in Thursday's relay prelims Shald dropped her best to 54.93, before dropping it yet again in finals with an opening leg of 54.48.
ASU came away with two other school records on the day, the first in the prelims of the 200y freestyle relay where a team of Baham, Hedenskog, Florencia Szigeti and Florence Mauro combined to finish in 1:32.35, besting their own school record performance of 1:32.59 from the Pac-10 Championships. In event finals, the team was slightly slower, placing 14th in 1:32.70.
Although she failed to qualify for finals, Hedenskog broke an ASU record in the 50y free that had stood for more than a decade. Previously ranked third in school history with a best of 23.32, the junior from Lindome, Sweden, completed the prelim in 23.20 and moved past Nancy Osborne (23.29, 1989) and Heidi Hendricks (23.26, 1990) into the No. 1 position, her first ASU individual event record.
In their first NCAA Championships, ASU's distance duo of sophomore Brooke Townsend and senior Amanda Stanford failed to move into either the championship or consolation final of the 500y free. Townsend placed 19th overall with her prelim effort of 4:46.60, while Stanford was seven spots back in 26th place with a time of 4:47.96. Neither swimmer established a personal best.
Also failing to advance to event finals was freshman Kari Wilcox, ASU's lone representative in the 200y individual medley, who finished nearly two seconds off her personal best effort from Pac-10s (2:02.52) in 2:04.28.
The national championship meet moves into its second day Friday, with both prelims and finals of the 200y medley relay, 400y individual medley, 100y butterfly, 200y freestyle, 100y breaststroke, 100y backstroke, 3-meter springboard dive and 800y freestyle relay.
ASU has entrants in all but the 3-meter springboard. Sun Devil favorites to make the championship finals of their individual events are Baham in the 100y fly and Kov?cs in both the 100y breast and 400y IM.
For complete results go to Texassports.com
ASU Day One FINALS:
200y Freestyle Relay - 14. ASU (Baham, Szigeti, Hedenskog, Mauro), 1:32.70
400y Medley Relay -- 5. ASU (Shald, Kov?cs, Baham, Hedenskog), 3:36.56 **school record**
**Shald's opening 100y back split (54.48) from the 400y medley relay is also a school record
ASU Day One PRELIMS:
200y Freestyle Relay - 16. ASU (Baham, Hedenskog, Szigeti, Mauro), 1:32.35 **school record**
500y Freestyle - 19. Townsend, 4:46.60, 26. Stanford, 4:47.96
200y Individual Medley - 51. Wilcox, 2:04.28
50y Freestyle - 32. Hedenskog, 23.30 **school record**
400y Medley Relay - 3. ASU (Shald, Kov?cs, Baham, Hedenskog), 3:37.63