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Swimming/Diving
Swimming & Diving Hosts Bay Area Schools
Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
Release: 01/22/2003
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Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
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Jan. 22, 2003

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This Week
The Arizona State Swimming and Diving team (#13 men, #16 women) hosts two of the top programs in the country this weekend as California (#3 men, #9 women) and Stanford (#1 men, #4 women) visit the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center. Competition with Cal begins at 2 p.m. on Friday with a regular meet of alternating men's and women's races. The meet with Stanford on Saturday is slated to have the women competing at 12 p.m. and the men at 2 p.m.

The Polls
The CSCAA released its fifth poll of the season on January 16. The ASU men fell one spot to 13th while the women moved up to 16th. For the complete poll, visit www.cscaa.org, or see the second page of this release.

ASU vs. California
The Sun Devil men have not beaten the Golden Bears since the 1990-91 season and Cal holds an overall advantage of 19-4 in the series. Last year, ASU fell 162-130 in Berkeley. The women's overall series is tied at 10-10-1, but the Sun Devils haven't come up with a win in the matchup since the 1996-97 campaign, when they won their fourth straight over the Bears. Last year's score was 173-125 in favor of the Bears.

ASU vs. Stanford
The Sun Devil men are also in a drought against the Cardinal, beating them last in the 1990-91 season by a score of 124-119. Last season's result was 136-99. ASU's women are winless in that same time period against the Cardinal, falling last year by a tally of 188-112. Both Stanford's men's and women's teams were ranked #1 in the country at last year's meetings.

ASU, Last Time In The Pool
The men's squad took eight swimmers and one diver to the Dallas Morning News Classic last weekend hosted by Southern Methodist. ASU tallied 254 points to finish fourth. Diver Joona Puhakka stood out for the Sun Devils, winning both the 1m (391.50) and 3m (376.80) diving competitions. He was less than a point shy of the school record in the 1m and beat his nearest competitor by over 50 points. The Sun Devil women were last in the pool on January 4, when they bested Missouri 195-92 and Wyoming 232-68. They won 14 of the 16 events and multiple winners included Sandra Steffensen (200 free, 500 free), Claire Hedenskog (50 free, 100 free), Petra Banovic (100 fly, 200 fly), ?gnes Kov?cs (100 breast, 200 breast, 200 IM), and Jessica Stenson (1m diving, 3m diving).

Sun Devils Nationally
Several swimmers have recorded times that are among the nation's best. For the men, Nick Brunelli is eighth nationally in the 50 free (20.11), fifth in the 100 free (43.87), and second in the 200 free (1:36.55). Bobby Zaabadich is fifth in the 50 free (20.01), while Christian Harcsas is sixth in the 100 back (48.42) and third in the 200 back (1:43.82). The 200 free relay (1:20.03) is the second-fastest in the NCAA, along with the 400 free relay (2:58.27) in sixth and the 200 medley relay (1:29.52) in eighth . For the women, ?gnes Kov?cs leads the way as she is second nationally in the 100 breast (59.92), first in the NCAA in the 200 breast (2:09.90), and third in the 200 IM (1:58.13). The 400 free relay (3:20.14) is fourth-fastest in the nation.

Top Swimmers On Display
Between the three teams competing, some of the top swimmers in the world will be on display over the weekend at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center. ASU sophomore ?gnes Kov?cs will once again meet Stanford's Tara Kirk in a matchup between the top two breaststokers in the NCAA. Last season, Kov?cs won their dual matchup and the Pac-10 title in the 200 breast, while Kirk edged Kov?cs for the NCAA title. Kov?cs is the defending Olympic gold medalist and World Champion in the 200m breast. These two swimmers presently have the top two times in the country in both the 100 and 200 breast. The Stanford men bring in Markus Rogan and Peter Marshall, the second- and third-highest individual scorers at last season's NCAAs. Rogan is the defending NCAA champ in the 200 IM and the 200 back, while Marshall is the NCAA champ in the 100 back. The Cal women feature junior Natalie Coughlin, the 2002 USA Swimmer of the Year and two-time NCAA Swimmer of the Year. She has won numerous NCAA and World titles and holds six world records and 33 American Records. The Golden Bear men feature senior sprinter Anthony Ervin, who has won the NCAA 100 free title each of his first three years in Berkeley. Ervin won two golds at the Sydney Olympics and is the defending World Champion in the 50m and 100m free.

Steffensen Joins Women
Sandra Steffensen (Trelleborg, Sweden) is a sprint and middle distance freestyler who joined the team at the semester break and will look to have an impact before this season's NCAAs. Steffensen placed fourth at the 2002 Swedish Senior Nationals in the 400m free, and at the 2000 Senior Swedish Nationals she was third in the 400m free and second in the 800m free. She has been a member of three Swedish record-setting relay teams, and her 2001 400m relay team recorded the second best club time in the world. In her first competition as a Sun Devil in the dual meets against Missouri and Wyoming, Steffensen earned first-place in both the 200 free and 500 free. "Sandra is one of the best short-course meters swimmers in the world," says Sun Devil head swimming coach Mike Chasson. "She'll help us immediately at the NCAA level and help our freestyle relays across the board. She is a big addition to our team."

Up Next For The Sun Devils
The men's and women's squads travel to Austin, Texas for matchups with Arizona and Texas the weekend January 31-February 1. Competition begins on Friday at 5 p.m. CST and on Saturday at 12 p.m. CST.

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