Men’s swimming takes fourth at NCAAs

The men’s swimming and diving team finished in fourth place at the 2015 Men’s NCAA Championships on Iowa City, Iowa on March 28.

USC finished in fourth place in 2013, but this marks only the second time since 1990’s third place finish that USC has finished that high.

The Trojans finished fourth with 278 points. Texas was first (528) and was followed by California (399), Michigan (312), USC, Florida (248), Stanford (209), Georgia (208.5), North Carolina State (199.5), Auburn (182) and Alabama (176).

The Trojans capped off their fourth place finish with a comeback win over North Carolina State in the 400y free relay. Senior Cristian Quintero, sophomore Santo Condorelli, freshman Ralf Tribuntsov and sophomore Dylan Carter won in a school record of 2:47.06, just 0.08 ahead of North Carolina State.

“It was amazing. Swimming anchor at the NCAAs is like at no other meet,” Carter said. “I can’t compare it to anything. You don’t feel any pain. It was a great experience and I’m glad I got to enjoy it with these guys.”

Quintero swam a 42.18 for third place in the 100-yard free, just off his personal best of 42.11, giving him three top five finishes for the second consecutive year. The Trojans kicked off the meet on Thursday and found themselves in sixth place after the first day of competition.

Sophomore Reed Malone finished third in 4:11.94 in the 500-yard free. He improved on last year’s 14th place finish. Quintero, the defending NCAA champion in the distance, took fifth in 4:13.21.

In prelims of the 200-yard free relay, sophomores Condorelli and Carter, freshman Ralf Tribuntsov and Quintero went 1:15.85 to break the school record (1:16.22) and earn the second seed in the final. In the final, senior Luca Spinazzola replaced Quintero as the anchor, and the Trojans finished fifth in 1:16.55, moving up to fifth place winner North Carolina State was disqualified.

The second day of competition saw USC move up from sixth to fifth thanks to Quintero’s win in the 200-yard free and his win in the 800-yard free relay along with Carter, sophomore Michael Domagala and Malone. The Trojans broke the school record with a 6:11.64, coming from behind and retaking the lead in the final 50. This was the second win in as many years for USC in the 800-yard free relay. The last team to repeat in this event was Texas in 2009 and 2010.

“I just wanted to do my best for the team,” said Malone. “That’s what I was thinking about the whole race, doing it for the guys I train with every day. Doing it for the group and when the race is close, I want to do it for my brothers. I was so excited for the opportunity and I’m proud of the whole team.”

USC’s win in the 800-yard relay and the 400-yard relay marks the first time USC has won two relays in the same meet since 1977 when the team won the same two races.

“All season long we’ve had some tight battles,” Salo said. “I told them at the team meeting that I saw their character when we got beat by Wisconsin [earlier this season]. I saw them every week after that battle. They battled Utah, Cal in a tight meet, battled Stanford and then at the Pac-12s. They did the same thing here. It was a great team effort.”