Coming off a weekend where Women of Troy defeated the 19th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers, the seventh-ranked women’s swimming team will be hosting the top-ranked Bears and eighth-ranked Cardinal at McDonald’s Stadium.
USC coach Dave Salo said that this weekend is as important as any to his team’s success.
“[California and Stanford mark] the beginning of the championship season for us,” Salo said. “These meets will test our mettle to see if we have what it takes to finish off the NCAA championship meet among the top five.”
USC Senior Katinka Hosszu is the national leader in the 200-yard fly and and 400-yard individual medley. Hosszu was named the national swimmer of the year in 2011 and broke several school records. Joining Hosszu will be junior Haley Anderson, who is among the NCAA leaders in several freestyle events, sophomore Kasey Carlson, who has posted NCAA qualifying times in the 100- and 200- yard breaststroke, and senior Tanya Krisman, who is ranked seventh in the 200 yard fly.
Cal and Stanford feature several of the nation’s best swimmers. Cal has the nation’s leader in the 200 yard breaststroke in Caitlin Leverenz, while Stanford features Sam Woodward, who is among the nation’s leaders in the 100-yard fly and 50-yard freestyle. Cal won the NCAA championship last season.
Salo said that although he is confident he knows that beating the bay area teams will be tough.
“We are a better championship meet team because we don’t have the depth [they do],” Salo said. “To win either of the meets we will need to score wins in most of the events.”
Though the women’s teams will be taking to the pool this weekend, the men have a break from action. They will face Cal and Stanford the following weekend.
The contests against Cal and Stanford start the home stretch for USC, as the Pac-12 championship begins Feb. 22, followed by the NCAA championships, which begin in March. The meet with Cal is Friday at 2 p.m., and the meet against Stanford is Saturday at noon.