March 22, 2003
AUBURN, Ala. -- The Arizona State women's swimming & diving team earned their second consecutive national top-10 finish, placing 10th at the 2003 NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championships after scoring 135 points. The squad sat in 12th with only one event to go, but the sixth-place finish of the 400 freestyle relay vaulted the Sun Devils into sole possession of 10th at the conclusion of the meet.
This marks ASU's first back-to-back NCAA top-ten finishes since the '88-'89 and '89-'90 seasons, when they placed eighth and ninth respectively.
For ASU, ?gnes Kov?cs finished third in the 200 breaststroke, Trisha Tumlinson finished third in platform diving, and Florencia Szigeti broke the school record in the 100 freestyle on the final day of action at the James E. Martin Aquatic Center.
Auburn won the national title for the second year running with a team total of 536, better than 160 points higher than runners-up Georgia.
In the evening's opening event, Sun Devil freshman Kathryn Hennessy clocked a 16:25.53 in the 1650 freestyle to finish in 14th and attain honorable mention All-America honors. This eclipses her previous career best of 16:32.90 and moves her into fifth all-time at Arizona State in the 1650.
In the 100 freestyle, both Szigeti and Claire Hedenskog swam career bests in the preliminaries although both missed the cut for the final round on Saturday evening. Szigeti was shy of the consolation final by only three-hundredths of a second after recording a 49.96 to finish 19th. Szigeti would better that mark only a short time later in her opening leg of the preliminary 400 free relay. Hedenskog notched a 50.17 to give her 24th position in the morning round and improve her career best from 50.23.
Kov?cs earned her second top-four finish in as many days, adding this evening's 200 breast third place effort of 2:09.83 to her fourth place yesterday in the 100 breast. Kov?cs was in sixth place of tonight's race at the halfway point, yet her always-strong finish pushed her into the top three when all was said and done. She earned first-team All-American honors for her effort.
In the 200 butterfly, Petra Banovic-coming off of a school record in yesterday's 200 freestyle race-clocked a 2:00.04 in the preliminaries to finish 24th and move up the all-time ASU top-ten in that event to third.
In the final event of the 2003 Championships, the Sun Devils' 400 free relay (3:20.05) finished in sixth place to earn first-team All-America honors and secure the overall team finish. To even qualify for the championship final, the relay team needed to set a school record in the morning preliminary session, and they did so.
The squad swam a fantastic morning prelim, setting a school record of 3:18.95 to become the first 400 free relay in school history to break 3:20.00. Additionally, Florencia Szigeti set the school record in the 100 freestyle by virtue of her opening-leg swim.
Prior to today, Szigeti, had never swum under 50-seconds in the 100 free. Yet, her split in the prelim round's relay was a 49.73 to make it her second sub-50 time of the early session alone. That set the tone for rest of the record-setting squad, as Claire Hedenskog's split was a 49.17, followed by a 49.32 from Banovic and a 50.73 by Florence Mauro. Only the first swimmer in a relay is eligible to attain individual records.
In the diving pool, Arizona State sophomore Trisha Tumlinson garnered first-team All-America accolades after her third place finish on the platform with a score of 456.55. She becomes the first Sun Devil diving All-American since Katrina Pfeuffer earned that distinction in 2000. Tumlinson was just edged out of second place by Blythe Hartley of USC who finished 35-hundredths of a point ahead of her for the runner-up position.
This marks the end of the NCAA swimming & diving season for the women. Next week is the 2003 NCAA Men's Swimming & Diving Championship in Austin, Texas. Following are the top 20 finishers this year's meet:
1) AUBURN 536
2) GEORGIA 373
3) SOUTHERN CAL. 284
4) SOUTHERN METHOD. 281
5) FLORIDA 277
6) STANFORD 275.5
7) TEXAS 220
8) CALIFORNIA 215
9) ARIZONA 209
10) ARIZONA STATE 135
11) UCLA 128
12) WISCONSIN 123
13) VIRGINIA 118
14) MICHIGAN 79
15) ALABAMA 71
16) INDIANA 66
17) NORTH CAROLINA 64.5
18) TENNESSEE 60
19) WASHINGTON 44
20) IOWA 41
20) HOUSTON 41