Seventh place finish sign of future for Women of Troy

The No. 9 USC women’s swimming and diving team spent its spring break racing against the best of the best during the 2010 NCAA championships at Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind., from Wednesday to Saturday.

The women finished strong, posting a seventh place overall finish.

“We nearly achieved our goal for this year, which was to make top five,” senior co-captain Dina Hegazy said. “We got top seven, which was still amazing.”

The Women of Troy had six All-American (top-eight) finishes: juniors Presley Bard and Lyndsay DePaul, sophomores Katinka Hosszu and Victoria Ishimatsu, and freshmen Haley Anderson and Jessica Schmitt. All of the women besides Anderson and Schmitt were All-Americans in 2009.

DePaul was the top qualifier in the 100-yard butterfly going into the final, with a time of 51.67, breaking the school record in the event for the third time in a month. In the final, DePaul fought for first place until the last inch, where she was out-touched by Stanford’s Elaine Breeden (51.43) and finished second with a time of 51.72.

Hosszu became the first Trojan to earn back-to-back All-American honors in the 400-yard individual medley since Kaitlin Sandeno in 2002-2004. After taking second place in this event last year, Hozzsu touched third in the final with a time of 4:03.65. Stanford’s Julia Smit, the American record holder in the event, came first (4:00.90).

In the 200-yard butterfly, the Women of Troy sported two women in the final and two in the consolation final: Hosszu and DePaul made the final, ranking second and third.

Hosszu and DePaul took second and third respectively. Breeden once again claimed first in the butterfly and touched in 1:52.39, with Hosszu finishing at 1:52.52. DePaul touched shortly after for third in a personal-best 1:53.19.

“The butterfly races were really fun to watch,” Bard said.

Anderson just missed out on a medal by finishing fourth in the 1650-yard freestyle with a time of 15:59.99, breaking her personal best of 16:02.53.

“I think that [the] freshmen really stepped it up, especially Haley,” Bard said. “To make top eight as a freshman is a really big deal.”

Ishimatsu became USC’s first two-time All-American diver since Blythe Hartley in 2006. She took fourth on three-meter and fifth on one-meter. Freshman Ariel Rittenhouse scored her first NCAA individual points by finishing fourth in the three-meter consolation final (12th overall).

After an exciting week, the Women of Troy hang up their suits after another long, but progressive, season. It will be the last time this group of women swims as a team before they welcome their new freshmen teammates in the fall. There is no doubt, however, among any of them that, with such a young team, this is only the beginning.

“Throughout the whole meet, all we kept talking about was next year, neat year,” Bard said. “Watching the top-four teams, and watching them battling it out for first place — I can’t wait to be in the mix of that next year.”