After a week of competition, the USC men’s swim team took home third place at the Pac-10 men’s swimming championships in Long Beach, Calif.
After the first day of competition on Wednesday, the Trojans were in third place behind the two Northern California teams.
As the meet progressed through to Saturday, USC kept that spot while Stanford remained in control of first place. With its win at Pac-10s, the Cardinal won its 30th consecutive Pac-10 title.
“We did not really match up with those two teams [Cal and Stanford] because they have so many more people, so many more seniors,” said freshman Vlad Morozov. “By next year we will match up with them better than this year.”
Several young USC swimmers displayed strong performances that helped bump USC past Arizona for the third place spot. Sophomore Clement Lefert was awarded medals in three events, taking first place in the 500-yard free and third in both the 200-yard free and 200-yard fly.
Sophomore Charlie Charlesworth took second in the 1650-yard free, while freshman Dimitri Colupaev won his first Pac-10 title when he took first the 200-yard free. Morozov finished second in the 50-yard and 100-yard free, barely being beaten by Cal’s senior Nathan Adrian in both.
“I got second in the 50-and-100 free, but I didn’t think I would be that close to Cal’s Nathan Adrian, a 2008 Olympian,” Morozov said. “I don’t think anyone thought I’d be that close, so at NCAAs I’ll keep my head up and see if I can beat him.”
Despite not taking home first place at the Pac-10 championships, the Trojans did well based on the goals they had set for themselves before the meet.
“We knew Cal and Stanford were out of our reach so our focus was on beating Arizona and taking home as many individual medals as we could,” Lefert said. “We haven’t finished third in Pac-10s since 2005 so it was a good job. We have a young team — a lot of freshman and sophomores — and they stepped up.”
Looking toward the NCAA competition at the end of March, USC is focused on its next goal: placing in the top five.
“Our relays are going to be a major factor in reaching that goal,” Morozov said. “At NCAAs we are going to break some records.”