Feb. 28, 2002
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Highlighted by school records in the 200-yard freestyle and 400-yard medley relays, Arizona State's women's swimming team completed the first day of the Pac-10 Championships at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in Long Beach, Calif., in sixth place with 228 points, Thursday.
Stanford is in first place with 442 points, followed by California (366), USC (365.5), Arizona (297), UCLA (259), ASU (228), Washington (132.5), Washington State (129) and Oregon State (97).
In the final event of the day, ASU's 400y medley relay team of Miranda Shald, ?gnes Kov?cs, Sarah Baham and Claire Hedenskog smashed their own school record and 2001-02 season best by more than two seconds to place third in 3:37.46. Stanford won the event in 3:36.54, followed by California in 3:37.07. ASU's effort improved upon the 3:39.50 recorded by the same foursome of swimmers at the Texas Invitational in December. Prior to this season, no Sun Devil 400y medley relay team had clocked in below 3:40.00.
In the 200y free relay, a team of Baham, Florencia Szigeti, Florence Mauro and Hedenskog placed sixth in 1:32.59, eclipsing an ASU record of 1:32.82 that had stood since 1990. Cal won the event in 1:30.47, a meet record.
The best ASU individual performances of the day belonged to sophomore Brooke Townsend and senior Amanda Stanford in the 500y freestyle. Townsend, the ASU record holder in that event, touched the wall in 4:45.77 to place third, while Stanford placed sixth in 4:47.80. In prelims, Stanford improved her collegiate best in the event by more than two seconds, from 4:49.44 to 4:47.18 just to advance to the championship final. Stanford University's Emily Mason earned the Pac-10 title in a meet record effort of 4:38.79.
In addition to her anchor performances in the relays, Hedenskog placed seventh in the 50y free in 23.47 after swimming 23.40 in the prelims. Freshman Kari Wilcox led the Sun Devils in the 200y individual medley, with an 11th-place effort of 2:02.52, a collegiate best that makes her the fifth-fastest Sun Devil all-time in that event.
The women's Pac-10 swimming championships continue tomorrow, including event finals of the 200y medley relay, 400y medley relay, 100y butterfly, 200y freestyle, 100y breaststroke, 100y backstroke and 800y freestyle relay. Competition concludes Saturday, including event finals of the 1650y freestyle, 200y backstroke, 100y freestyle, 200y breaststroke, 200y butterfly and 400y freestyle relay.
The Pac-10 diving championships are also underway for both men and women at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center in Tucson, Ariz. In Thursday's action, Thomas McCrummen and Gordon Blukis placed fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 3-meter springboard, while Natalie Burgess led the ASU women's squad with a sixth-place finish in the 1-meter optionals.
The men's Pac-10 swimming championships are scheduled for March 7-9, also in Long Beach, Calif.