Trojan contingent meets ranked squads

No. 13 USC men’s swimming will travel to Dallas and compete at the SMU Classic on Friday and Saturday. Eight of USC’s finest will be hoping to make a splash as they go up against five of the nation’s top teams, such as No. 6 Florida and  No. 7 Michigan.

“This is a chance to test where we’re at,” coach Dave Salo said.

Experienced youth · Freshman Clement Lefert is among the eight specialist swimmers the Trojans send to Dallas for the SMU Invite. Lefert, a French Olympian, will swim in the freestyle and butterfly events. - Sunhil Murali | Daily Trojan

The men chosen to represent the Trojans are seniors Zoltan Povazsay and co-captain James Martin, juniors Dillon Connonlly and Richard Charlesworth, sophomores Jeff Daniels and co-captain Pat White, and freshmen Alex Lendrum and Clement Lefert.

Salo says the event to watch for the Trojans will be the 800-yard free relay, especially with the addition of Charlesworth — the team’s newest Olympic asset from Great Britain.

The men will be looking to improve on last year’s performance at SMU, and Salo feels confident in the team’s progress.

“I think we’re more balanced than last year and a lot more competitive,” Salo said.

The handpicked team specializes across a variety of strokes and distances, giving the Trojans a firm grip on the majority of the events they will be swimming. Daniels will be USC’s loan sprinter for the meet, with the absence of junior teammate Emmett Walling. Among the specialists, Charlesworth will be tackling the distance events while Povazsay and White take on the middle distance field.

Despite having their preferred events, they are each able to swim a combination of distances and strokes and that will be the team’s X-factor at SMU.

“Michigan and Florida will be tough to beat,” Salo said. “But I predict we can be third.”

USC’s divers will be competing at the UCLA Diving Invitational on Friday and Saturday and, therefore, will not be traveling to SMU.

Meanwhile, the rest of the men’s and women’s USC swimming and diving team will be competing at the California Grand Prix in Long Beach, Calif. This event is instead of the USC vs. Washington duel meet that will no longer take after Washington’s swimming program being cut last year.

The Trojans will have the opportunity to wear fast skins and get back into racing mode after a long winter training period. It will also give them a chance to prepare for their fast-approaching Stanford and California duel meets, which are always highly competitive.

“The event in Long Beach is not duel meet format, which means there is a little less focus on the team and a little more on the individual,” Salo said.