The USC men’s and women’s swim and dive teams will head to the Lone Star state this weekend to participate in the Texas Invitational in what will serve as the first major out-of-state competition of the season.
“The Texas Invitational is the most important competition for the fall,” USC coach Dave Salo said. “Our focus is to race to times that will first qualify all of our relays for the NCAA championships in March.”
Both teams are off to good starts this season, posting solid showings in meets against Cal State Bakersfield, Arizona, Arizona State and at the USC Diving Invite. Neither squad has had a meet since Nov. 12, but Salo is not expecting any sort of letdown or rust to hinder both team’s performance.
“[We’ve] been training well and we have avoided any health or injury setbacks this fall so we are looking to be very competitive,” Salo said. “Our athletes are pretty excited to get down to Texas and race.”
Seniors Katinka Hosszu and Amanda Smith look to lead the Women of Troy and continue their great starts in their last seasons in cardinal and gold. At its last meet against Arizona State, USC won by a score of 198-99. Senior diver Victoria Ishimatsu looks to continue her stellar season in Texas, as well.
On the men’s side, sophomore Vladimir Morozov and freshman Chad Bobrosky look to lead the Trojans in freestyle events. Other than a loss to Arizona, USC holds an unblemished record. The Trojans currently trail Arizona, Stanford and California in the national rankings.
Salo said this is an important event for the teams because it will provide a good chance for the relay teams to receive automatic bids to the NCAA championships. Salo also said he wants his teams to record good times to become eligible for the championships.
“[Our other goal] will be for all our athletes to record their personal best times with an eye on the ‘A’ and ‘B’ qualifying time standards,” Salo explained. “While swimmers who get “A” times automatically make the championships, only the top 24 to 30 swimmers with “B” times make it to the championships.”
UCLA, Wisconsin, Texas A&M, Texas and Arizona will also participate in the Texas Invitational. Salo said there will be extra motivation to beat the Wildcats, as they are the only blemish on the men’s and schedule.
“We want to avenge our early season loss to Arizona,” Salo said.