Chants, shouting and the sound of a 20-year-old record breaking could be heard coming from McDonald’s Swim Stadium last weekend as the men and women’s swim and dive teams hosted the Arizona Wildcats and Arizona State Sun Devils in two dual meets.
The No. 6 Women of Troy defeated the No. 7 Wildcats on Friday, 190-110, and continued to dominate by defeating Arizona State on Saturday as well, 172-121. Meanwhile, No. 5 Arizona defeated the men’s team on Friday, 190-110, but the No. 14 Trojans came back and conquered Arizona State the next day, 186-107.
One of USC’s most memorable moments this weekend came in the form of freshman Vladimir Morozov. The newcomer broke a USC record on Saturday with his 100-yard freestyle time of 42.93 seconds. Erik Ran previously set the record in 1990 with a time of 42.98.
“I felt great. I didn’t even think of breaking [the record],” Morozov said. “I thought I was going about half a second slower, but it was great.”
Morozov’s record, which was set in the men’s 400-yard freestyle relay on Saturday, was not the only thing that made USC coach Dave Salo proud this weekend.
“I think we demonstrated clearly that we have a really strong program and hopefully in March we’ll be able to make it to the top five [at the Pac-10 championships],” Salo said. “We’ve really come a long way in the last three years. We’re now a team that’s probably more respected and I think people expect more out of us.”
With the Women of Troy’s sweep this weekend, and the Trojans’ victory against Arizona State, the dual meets proved to be successful ones for USC. There were several factors going against the Trojans, but they didn’t rattle USC swimmers.
“We did great and we fought on to the end,” Morozov said. “We got beat by Arizona but they were rested and they were wearing their suits, so that made a lot of difference … [On Friday] in the morning we had a full workout before our meet, so when we are rested and put into fast suits we will do better at everything. “
Another foreseen challenge was the fact that the Friday’s dual meet against Arizona took place in the evening, a rare occurrence for the swimmers. The USC teams found the conditions to be advantageous, however, and the Women of Troy even managed to come out with a victory.
“I think that we can swim faster later in the day,” junior Katinka Hosszu said. “It’s easier to get really pumped up at night with the lights on and everything.”
After this weekend, USC’s swimmers have a while to wait before their next competition. They will compete again at the U.S. National Championships in December, with the NCAA and Pac-10 championships on the horizon after that. With their last meets done for a while, both teams are ready to see what happens next.
“I am really excited because we are already swimming at almost our best times now and we are not even rested,” Hosszu said. “I am curious to see how we do when we are rested and have our suits on.”