Nov. 17, 2001
TEMPE, Ariz. - With the meet in doubt going into the final event, Arizona State's No. 11 women's swimming and diving team (4-0) upset No. 3 USC (1-2) 155-145 at Mona Plummer Aquatic Center Saturday, earning their first dual meet victory over the Trojans since 1992.
Having only regained their lead in the event prior, the Sun Devils went into the 400-yard freestyle relay needing to finish two-three just to get a tie, while a first-place finish would clinch the meet. As if things weren't close enough, through three legs of the relay, USC and ASU were in a dead heat, both sending their anchor-legs into the water at 2:34.69.
In that final leg, ASU junior Claire Hedenskog powered ahead of USC freshman Kaitlin Sandeno to send the Sun Devils home winners with a time of 3:25.15, only tenths of a second ahead of the Trojans in 3:25.53.
One day after the Sun Devils defeated tenth-ranked UCLA, 166-134, ASU had its first win over USC in nine years, while becoming the first ASU women's team in ten years to defeat both of the Pac-10 Conference's Southern California teams in the same season.
"It's certainly one of the most exciting weekends that we've had since I've been here," said fourth-year head coach Michael Chasson, who also saw his Sun Devil men defeat the Trojans for the first time since 1992 (162-138). "It's huge to beat a quality opponent, both the men and the women, on the same day. People raced tough all the way through the meet each day, and that's just huge.
"The team is sky-high, and obviously you hope this is the start of something. We've got the Texas Invitational coming up in a two weeks and that's a big event for us each year. No question, this gives us great momentum going into that."
The Sun Devils were powered by freshman sensation ?gnes Kov?cs, who won three individual events to move to 12-0 on the season. Her first win was in the 100y breaststroke, where Kov?cs almost became the second Sun Devil ever to dip below the 1-minute mark, touching the wall in a personal collegiate best of 1:00.77. Then, in the 200y breast, the reigning Olympic and World Champion in the 200-meter variety cruised to an easy three-second victory in 2:14.00.
Finally, in the last individual event of the day, Kov?cs regained the Sun Devils' team lead with her first-place 4:13.15 effort in the 400y individual medley. In addition to crucial first-place points, Kov?cs' time was good enough to make her the second-fastest Sun Devil ever in the 400y IM, a distinction she already held in the 100y and 200y breast events.
Earning a pair of first place finishes for ASU was freshman Florencia Szigeti. In the 200y free, Szigeti edged USC's Sandeno 1:48.61 to 1:48.93, before finishing one-two in the 100y free with teammate Hedenskog in 50.83 and 51.31, respectively. Per her efforts, Szigeti is now ranked fifth all-time at ASU in the 200y free, while standing seventh all-time in the 100y free.
ASU's other individual event winner of the afternoon was senior Sarah Baham, who completed the 100y butterfly in 54.92.
Perhaps inspired by Australian teammate Brooke Townsend's rendition of the American national anthem before the meet, the Sun Devils opened the day with an important one-three finish in the 200y medley relay, with times of 1:42.78 and 1:46.77, that gave them an early 11-point cushion.
The Sun Devils now have a week off from competition to prepare for the prestigious Texas Invitational, which runs from November 30 to December 2.
Complete results available in PDF format.