USC hopes women’s swimming and diving success will carry over to postseason

With its win against No. 21 UCLA in the rearview mirror, the No. 6 USC women’s swimming and diving team has begun preparations for the final stretch, traveling to Federal Way, Wash. for the Pac-10 Swimming and Diving Championships, which begin today at the Weyerhauser King County Aquatic Center.

Finish strong · Sophomore Yumi So posted strong times in the 100-yard and 200-yard fly. She ranks in the top 25 nationally in both events and hopes to best those times to help lead USC to another dual meet win. - Anna Wierzbowska | Daily Trojan

This year, the women’s championships, which end Saturday, will feature six top-25 teams: No. 1 Stanford, No. 4 California, No. 7 Arizona, No. 21 UCLA, No. 25 Arizona State and No. 6 USC.

Going into the Pac-10s, USC (9-2, 4-2) has managed to obtain its most dual meet wins since going 9-1 in 1997. That was also the only year the Women of Troy won an NCAA title.

There is hope history might repeat itself, but the team has remained adamant in not relying too much on historical record.

“I don’t want to over-think it, because the past doesn’t predict what is going to happen. But our team is really excited, and I see really good things happening for us at the Pac-10 [championships] and NCAA [championships],” said senior co-captain Presley Bard.

USC is going into the Pac-10 championships with 19 swimmers who have already clocked NCAA ‘A’ or ‘B’ cuts. Junior Katinka Hosszu leads the Women of Troy with top times in the nation in the 200-yard individual medley, 400-yard individual medley and 200-yard fly, and is ranked third in the 100-yard fly.

Senior co-captain Lyndsay DePaul is No. 1 in the nation in the 100-yard fly, while sophomore Haley Anderson has the top national time in the 1650-yard free.

In addition to their top-ranked positions, the three swimmers, along with other members of the team, hold records in their events as the third- fourth- or fifth-fastest in the country.

This competition also has implications for the swimmers on the team who haven’t qualified for the NCAA competition.

“This is our last chance for some of the girls to qualify for NCAAs,” DePaul said. “For about half the girls [who have already qualified] this isn’t our main focus for the rest of season.”

The swimmers aren’t the only ones participating in the competition in Federal Way. Junior Victoria Ishimatsu will compete at the Pac-10 diving competition, beginning Thursday with the women’s 1-meter and men’s 3-meter events.

USC has had a good history with the Pac-10 championships, and hopes to continue its winning traditions. It has won at least two Pac-10 titles (including diving) in three straight years and in nine of the last 10 seasons.

With the pressure on for the swimmers who have not received NCAA cuts yet, USC will head into the Pac-10s today hoping to set the tone for the remainder of its season.