After a busy summer of international competition that included competition at the U.S. and European swimming championships, both men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams return to campus looking to build on successful campaigns from last season.
The Women of Troy placed seventh at the NCAA championships in March while the men’s team wasn’t far behind, finishing 11th in the country.
USC coach Dave Salo said both teams expect to better those finishes this year.
“We feel confident that we can battle it out with Florida, Cal, Georgia, Stanford and Arizona for the top four,” Salo said about the women’s team. “On the men’s side, we expect to rise in the ranks to the top eight.”
Junior diver Victoria Ishimatsu, a two-time All-American, will lead the Women of Troy diving squad for a third season. Ishimatsu won both the 1-meter and 3-meter Pac-10 titles last season and was named the Pac-10 diver of the year.
“Tori continues to a consistent performer and this could be the year that she challenges for the top spot at the NCAA championships,” Salo said.
Junior Katinka Hosszu, a Hungarian with two Olympic games appearances and a World Championships gold medal to her credit, will compete for USC in the individual medley, butterfly and freestyle.
Hosszu won the 400-meter IM at the 2009 World Championships and finished third in the 400-yard IM at last year’s NCAA championships.
Senior Lyndsay DePaul, who grabbed second place in the 100-yard butterfly and third place in the 200-yard butterfly at last season’s NCAA championships, will help lead a stocked roster as co-captain.
“We are losing a really small senior class and bringing in a powerhouse freshmen class of some of the best recruits in the country,” DePaul said.
Presley Bard, a senior, finished third in 100-yard and fourth in the 200-yard backstroke at last year’s NCAA championships and returns as USC’s top swimmer in the backstroke.
“Our ultimate goal is to win NCAAs and our women’s team has a legitimate chance this year,” said co-captain Ellie Doran, who finished 22nd in the 1,650-yard freestyle at the NCAA championships.
The men’s swimming and diving team also returns several top performers from last year’s squad.
Clement Lefert, a Frenchman who holds the 100-meter butterfly record in his home nation and a 2008 Olympian, will be the Trojans top returning male swimmer.
Lefert, a sophomore, won the 200-yard freestyle Pac-10 title last season and posted a third-place finish in the 500-yard freestyle at the NCAA championships.
Salo said Lefert will skip this year’s world championships to focus on his collegiate season.
“No one could ask more from an athlete than to give their undivided attention for the Trojan effort,” Salo said.
Junior Patrick White will combine with Lefert to form the conference’s best one-two punch in men’s freestyle. White finished runner-up to Lefert in last year’s 200-yard freestyle at the conference meet.
Senior Dillon Connolly, who finished third in the 100-yard breaststroke at last year’s Pac-10 conference meet, also returns to the roster.
Junior Harrison Jones will once again lead the diving squad, after winning the Pac-10 1-meter springboard title and finishing second on platform last season.
Veterans said the returning talent would greatly influence the program in the coming season.
“We can really go far this year with the talent and chemistry we have on this team,” said co-captain and freestyle sprinter Jeff Daniels. “We’re looking to break a lot of school records this year.”