The women’s swimming and diving team finished in eighth place at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina, on March 21.
The Trojans finished with 163 points. Cal won the team title with 513 points, followed by Georgia (452), Stanford (363), Texas A&M (231), Virginia (229), Louisville (197), Texas (164), USC, Florida (129) and Indiana (126).
USC is one of just four schools to finish in the top eight every year for the past six years, along with Georgia, California and Stanford.
Senior Haley Ishimatsu took second place on the platform to end her collegiate career. Ishimatsu was the reigning platform champion for two years before placing second behind Indiana’s Jessica Parratto (367.00) with a score of 339.65.
“Haley Ishimatsu finished a close second today, diving very well. Her positive attitude, joyful demeanor and diving grace left us a lasting memory,” said head diving coach Hongping Li.
On Thursday, the first day of the meet, USC’s 400y medley relay of freshman Hannah Weiss, senior Andrea Kropp and juniors Kendyl Stewart and Kasia Wilk finished seventh in the ‘A’ final in a season-best 3:31.00. The group gave USC its seventh 400y medley relay ‘A’ final appearance in the past eight seasons.
The Trojans 200y free relay of Wilk, sophomore Evan Swenson, sophomore Chelsea Chenault and Stewart finished second in the ‘B’ final in 1:28.15, just 0.28 off the school record.
Stewart (100y fly) and Chenault (200y free) led the Trojans on the second day of competition by both posted record-setting career bests while also leading USC to an All-American 800y free relay.
Stewart placed third in her first career ‘A’ final in the event. She also lowered her school record for the third straight swim with a 50.92. Her 51.03 in prelims broke her Pac-12 title winning time of 51.10 three weeks ago. That swim lowered her 51.32 set in her 2013 Pac-12 title swim.
Chenault broke USC’s school record in the 200y free in prelims with a 1:42.53, lowering Katinka Hosszu’s 1:43.15 from 2012. In her first career NCAA ‘A’ final, she took sixth in 1:43.90.
USC’s 800y free relay closed the second day by earning All-American honors for the sixth year in a row in the timed final as Wilk, Stewart, junior Joanna Stenkvist and Chenault finished fifth in a season-best 7:01.03, 2.09 off the school record. Chenault’s 1:43.62 anchor split was second only to Cal’s Olympian Missy Franklin in the final.
To wrap up the night, Weiss won the ‘B’ final of the 100y back posting a personal best of 51.60, which lowered Presley Bard’s 2011 school record by two-hundredths of a second.
“The team record performances turned in by Chelsea Chenault, Hannah Weiss and Kendyl Stewart today were indicative of this team’s commitment to stay in the top five for the team championship,” head coach Dave Salo said. “With one day left we have a shot of moving into the top five, but it will take some ‘Fight On’ Trojan efforts tomorrow morning.”
In the final day of competition on Saturday, Chenault joined Ishimatsu on the leaderboard with her first NCAA scoring swim in the 200y fly, winning the ‘B’ final with a personal best 1:53.17 after going 1:55.24 in prelims.
Wilk posted a personal best in the prelims of the 100y free, a 48.12 to earn her first career 100y free scoring opportunity. In the ‘B’ final, she finished second in 48.24, 0.01 out of first.
Weiss posted a personal best 1:53.16 in the 200y back prelims, finishing 12th to earn a second swim. In the ‘B’ final, she finished seventh (15th overall) with a 1:53.96.
“We had a very good meet,” Salo said. “We just came up short on some points. I’m very proud of this team. Chelsea had a fantastic 200 fly, an event that she only swam one other time this year. We are walking away from this meet without a trophy but with a great foundation to build on.”
The men’s swimming and diving team won it’s first Pac-12 title since 1979 and will compete in the NCAA Championships March 26-28 in Iowa City, Iowa.