With at least two top times a piece from Kasey Carlson, Stina Gardell, Kasia Wilk, Meghan Hawthorne, and Jasmine Tosky helped the USC women start off 2014 with a convincing win over conference foe Utah, 119-91. The Trojans put this one away early, going 1-2 in the opening relay and sweeping the first three individual events en route to posting the fastest time in every event of the afternoon (head coach Dave Salo elected to exhibition the last four swimming events, so those technically didn’t count as “wins” in the points column).
Kendyl Stewart joined Carlson, Tosky, and Wilk to open the meet with a dominating performance in the 400 medley relay, touching in 3:41.75, nearly seven seconds faster than the second place USC ‘B’ relay. Carlson (1:01.71 breast) and Tosky (55.29 fly) were the biggest difference makers here, turning the half-second gap generated by Stewart’s 54.68 leadoff leg into a six second lead. Wilk anchored in 50.07 to finish things off.
The Trojans continued the momentum with a sweep in the 1000 freestyle, with All-American IMer Meghan Hawthorne clocking in at 9:52.99 for the win, making her the first USC women’s swimmer under 10:00 in a dual meet this season. Senior teammate Lynette Lim was second in 10:04.29. Sophomore Nikki Chang was third in 10:09.61. Hawthorne, who would later come back to post the fastest time in the 200 backstroke (2:00.54), has put together a great 2013-2014 short course season, and a sub-10-minute 1000, followed by a 2:00 200 backstroke speaks to her overall versatility.
USC athletes were 1-2-3 finishers in the next two events, as well.
Stina Gardell, Joanna Stenkvist, and Lexie Malazdrewicz took the 200 free, with Gardell touching first in 1:48.47. Stenkvist and Malazdrewicz had final times of 1:49.74 and 1:51.46, respectively. Although she’s better known as a breaststroker (she would later post the top time in the women’s 200 breast, 2:14.88) and IMer, Gardell was the second fastest leg on the Trojan 800 free relay at NCAA’s a year ago, and will be expected to swim under 1:45 from a relay start this March.
Carlson (22.82), Wilk (23.03), and Evan Swenson (23.78) swept the 50 free. Wilk took the 100 freestyle later in the meet by nearly a second, touching in 50.30. Carlson would later lead off the Trojan 200 freestyle relay in 22.98–the fastest time in the field, flat start or from a relay takeover–to propel USC to a final time of 1:34.15.
In the 200 IM, Andrea Kropp (2:04.54) opened up a big lead in the breaststroke and then held off the Maggie D’Innocenzo (2:04.84) and Utah’s Brianna Francis (2:05.20) over the final 50 for the win. D’Innocenzo had a half-second edge at the 100 mark, but Kropp, an All-American breaststroker, outsplit D’Innocenzo by 1.5 seconds over the next 50 yards to take the lead. Francis also closed hard in the final 100, but was too far behind early to catch the USC pair.
After Haley Ishimatsu took the 1m diving title, Jasmine Tosky opened the second half of the meet with a three-second victory in the 200 fly. Tosky, the second fastest performer in the NCAA this season, touched in 1:59.13. Freshman Chelsea Chenault (2:02.30) and D’Innocenzo (2:02.60) finished second and third, respectively.
Although USC posted faster times in the events, Utah got individual wins from Amanda Barrett in the 200 back (2:04.55), Selin Ozturk in the 500 free (5:05.86), and Stina Colleou in the 200 breast (2:17.02). The Utes also won the 200 free relay behind the quartet of Traycie Swartz, Petra Soininen, Nicole Ligeza and Guilliana Gigliotti, who touched in at 1:36.13.
USC will face a stiffer test tomorrow against Ivy Martin and the Wisconsin Badgers at 12:00 PM PST. Utah will travel 13 miles across town to face UCLA, beginning at 11:00 AM PST.