The No. 13 USC men’s swimming and diving team welcome Pac-10 and in-state rivals No. 4 California and No. 2 Stanford in back-to-back dual meets this Friday and Saturday at the McDonald’s Swim Stadium. Both teams swamped the Trojans last season, and the USC men are looking to make a much bigger splash this time around.
“We expect the guys to rise up to the talent level of Cal and Stanford and compete with some of the best in the country,” senior captain James Martin said.
The Golden Bears boast some of the top swimmers in the nation, including 2009 NCAA Champions Nathan Adrian and Damir Dugonjic, along with six other returning All-Americans.
Freshman French Olympian Clement Lefert, senior Hungarian Olympian Zoltan Povazsay, sophomore captain Patrick White, Martin, and freshman backstroker Alex Lendrum have lead the Trojans (7-1) this season.
USC’s fight against Cal will come down to the middle-distance freestyle races, where the team will be looking to swimmers like Povazsay and White to swim over and above themselves. The breaststroke events will also be key, which will be led on the Trojan side by junior Dillon Connolly.
“The Cal meet will come down to a couple of important races and one is the 100 breast where Connolly, if he performs well, will really turn the tide on the meet,” USC assistant coach Jeremy Kipp said.
The Cardinal squad will be featuring the nations top 100-yard backstroker Eugene Godsoe as well as three of the best middle-to-long distance swimmers in the United States;David Mosko, Chad La Tourette and Michael Zoldos.
USC will be relying heavily on its British distance star in these races with sophomore Richard Charlesworth looking to start off the competition strong in the opening individual event of the day, the 1,650-yard freestyle.
“Charlesworth is going to have his work cut out this Saturday as Stanford has one of the best 1650-yard [freestyle] Americans, which will be Charlie’s first big test this season,” Kipp said.
As the last dual meet for the men this season, the team will be honoring graduating seniors Povazsay, Martin and Evan Marcus. Povazsay owns NCAA consideration ‘B’ cuts in the 200-yard (1:36.55) and 500-yard freestyle (4:21.55) and is ranked 12th and ninth in the United States, respectively.
Martin will be the individual medley component for the Trojans this weekend; having already clocked three ‘B’ cuts in the 200-yard (1:49.25) and 400-yard IM (3:49.23) and the 200-yard backstroke (1:46.42).
The Trojan divers competed against Stanford and Cal last weekend during the women’s dual meet, and their scores will be included in this weekend’s results, giving the Trojans a starting lead of 24-14.
“This is a huge plus going into the meet,” Kipp said.