TEMPE, Ariz., Nov. 17. WITH the meet in doubt going into the final event, Arizona State's No. 11 women's swimming and diving team (4-0) upset No. 3 USC (1-2) 155-145 at Mona Plummer Aquatic Center Saturday,
earning their first dual meet victory over the Trojans since 1992.
In an even bigger upset, the #13 Sun Devil men beat the #3 Trojans 162-138.
Having only regained their lead in the event prior, the Sun Devils went into the 400-yard freestyle relay needing to finish two-three just to get a tie, while a first-place finish would clinch the meet.
As if things weren't close enough, through three legs of the relay, USC and ASU were in a dead heat, both sending their anchor-legs into the water at 2:34.69.
In that final leg, ASU junior Claire Hedenskog powered ahead of USC freshman Kaitlin Sandeno to send the Sun Devils home winners with a time of 3:25.15, only tenths of a second ahead of the Trojans in 3:25.53.
One day after the Sun Devils defeated tenth-ranked UCLA, 166-134, ASU had its first win over USC in nine years, while becoming the first women's team in ten years to defeat both of the Pac-10 Conference's
Southern California teams in the same season.
"It's certainly one of the most exciting weekends that we've had since I've been here," said fourth-year head coach Michael Chasson. "It's huge to beat a quality opponent, both the men and the women, on the same day. People raced tough all the way through the meet each day, and that's just huge.
"The team is sky-high, and obviously you hope this is the start of something. We've got the Texas Invitational coming up in a two weeks and that's a big event for us each year. No question, this gives us
great momentum going into that."
The Sun Devils were powered by freshman sensation Ágnes Kovács, who won three individual events to move to 12-0 on the season. Her first win was in the 100y breaststroke, where Kovács almost became the second Sun Devil ever to dip below the 1-minute mark, touching the wall in a personal collegiate best of 1:00.77. Then, in the 200y breast, the reigning Olympic and World Champion in the 200-meter variety cruised to an easy three-second victory in 2:14.00.
Finally, in the last individual event of the day, Kovács regained the Sun Devils' team lead with her first-place 4:13.15 effort in the 400y individual medley. In addition to crucial first-place points,
Kovács' time was good enough to make her the second-fastest Sun Devil ever in the 400y IM, a distinction she already held in the 100y and 200y breast events.
Earning a pair of first place finishes for ASU was freshman Florencia Szigeti. In the 200y free, Szigeti edged USC's Sandeno 1:48.61 to 1:48.93, before finishing one-two in the 100y free with teammate Hedenskog in 50.83 and 51.31, respectively. Per her
efforts, Szigeti is now ranked fifth all-time at ASU in the 200y free, while standing seventh all-time in the 100y free.
ASU's other individual event winner of the afternoon was senior Sarah Baham, who completed the 100y butterfly in 54.92. Perhaps inspired by Australian teammate Brooke Townsend's rendition of the American national anthem before the meet, the Sun Devils
opened the day with an important one-three finish in the 200y medley relay, with times of 1:42.78 and 1:46.77, that gave them an early 11-point cushion.
The Sun Devils now have a week off from competition to
prepare for the prestigious Texas Invitational, which runs from November 30 to December 2.
Arizona State's 13th-ranked men's swimming and diving
team took first-place points in nine events Saturday to upset No. 3 USC (0-3) by the score of 162-138 at Mona Plummer Aquatic Center, earning their first dual meet win over the Trojans since 1992.
Nick Brunelli, a sophomore All-American out of Mansfield, Mass., led the way for ASU with first-place finishes in the 50-yard (20.46) and 100y (44.78) freestyle events. Brunelli also played a hand in both
of the Sun Devils' victorious relays, anchoring the 200y medley team to a 1:30.65, before swimming the opening leg for the 400y free relay team that touched the wall in 2:59.39.
The Sun Devils got a healthy boost from their diving contingent, which capitalized on Trojan injuries to gain a 26-point edge in the springboard events. Sophomore Gordon Blukis was the leader in both the 1-meter (303.97) and 3-meter (288.90) dives.
Another area of success for ASU was the backstroke events. In the 100y back, sophomore Ahmed Hussein touched the wall in a season-best of 50.08, to edge USC's Jeff Lee in 50.16, while junior Christian
Harcsas took third for ASU in 50.35. Then in the 200y back, Harcsas, who used his redshirt season last year, had a coming out party with a first-place 1:47.10, becoming the sixth-fastest swimmer in ASU history in that event. With Hussein just behind him in 1:47.20, the Sun Devils picked up 13 points plus two NCAA 'B' qualifying times.
Although suffering its second loss in two days, USC was not without its moments of glory Saturday. In the 1000y free, junior Erik Vendt lapped the entire field to finish in 8:53.66, a Mona Plummer Aquatic Center pool record and the fastest collegiate time in that event this year. Vendt later grabbed first-place honors in the 400y individual medley, in 3:53.55.
ASU's other individual event winner was senior Simon MacDonald, who clocked in at 56.98 for the 100y breaststroke.
The Sun Devils are off from competition next week as they look ahead to the prestigious Texas Invitational, which runs November 30 through December 2, in Austin, Texas.