The No. 9 USC women’s swimming and diving team will fly to Purdue, Ind., on Monday to compete in the NCAA championship meet.
After the team’s breakthrough performance two weeks ago at the Pac-10 championships, where the Women of Troy placed third overall, a more refined women’s team will be looking to turn heads not just in its conference but all across the nation.
“We have a very strong team going into NCAAs and we’re aiming for top five,” co-captain senior Dina Hegazy said. “And the team is very excited and motivated to reach that goal.”
The hand-picked NCAA team will consist of returning All-Americans Hegazy, juniors Presley Bard, Lyndsay DePaul and Ellie Doran, sophomores Katinka Hosszu, Tanya Krisman and sophomore diver Victoria Ishimatsu. USC will also be sending freshmen Haley Anderson, Yumi So, Jessica Schmitt, Christel Simms, Kate Shumway and Ariel Rittenhouse.
This means the Women of Troy will be represented by one more swimmer and diver than they had in 2009, an outstanding performance considering last year’s NCAA team had four members who graduated.
The backstroke and freestyle events have a strong team this year, with veteran Hegazy and young additions incuding Shumway and Simms. But overall these events will mainly be dominated by Bard. The junior will be looking to improve on her already stellar results at the Pac-10 championships, where she broke two individual school records in the 50-yard freestyle (22.26) and the 200-yard backstroke (1:51.80). She also helped destroy the team’s 800-yard freestyle relay record by more than eight seconds (6:59.48). The transfer junior will be representing USC for the first time at the NCAA championship.
DePaul, another junior transfer, will also be wearing cardinal and gold for the first time at the NCAA meet. After breaking several records of her own at the Pac-10 championships in the 100-yard butterfly (51.86) and also doing her part in the 800-yard freestyle relay, DePaul will be a key asset in the butterfly and medley events as well as relays.
The competition begins March 18 and concludes March 20.