FEDERAL WAY, Wash., February 27. BOY, were we ever fooled!
In Swiminfo's preview of the Pac-10 women's swimming and diving championships that opened here today at the King County Aquatic Center, we suggested that Cal's Natalie Coughlin — American/NCAA record-holder in the 100-200 yard freestyles, the 100-200 backstrokes and the 100-200 yard butterflys — would swim the 500 free opening night as part of her effort to emulate the feat of former UCLA great Brian Goodell, who won the Pac-10 500 free-400 IM-1650 free three-consecutive years in the late 1970s, then went on to win the same trio at NCAAs.
Oh, Coughlin swam the 500 all right, only you have to take a zero off the end.
Yes, she really swam the 50 free for the first time ever at Pac-10s and/or NCAAs. All she did was set a Pac-10 meet record en route to the gold, as her 22.05 was the second quickest 50 in conference history.
The No. 1 time belongs to former Stanford NCAA champ Catherine Fox, who sped a 22.01 while winnning the national collegiate title a half-dozen years ago. The former Pac-10 meet record had belonged to an old teammate of Coughlin's from her freshman season two years ago, Haley Cope, who went a 22.32 then.
Coughlin's swim also breaks her old pr and Cal record of 22.21 from the Longhorn Invitational at Texas in December of '01, plus her winning time ranks her No. 2 nationally. The leader is Georgia's Maritza Correia, whose 21.92 from the prelims of last weekend's Southeastern Conference Championships at Auburn is the nation's fastest time this season.
In the finals, "Ritzy" went a 21.93. Her prelim time was an SEC record and she holds the American/NCAA-standard with her 21.69 from last year's NCAAs, also at Texas.
On the all-time list, Coughlin moves into the No. 10 slot (performers) and 16th (performances).
By the way: she does rank No. 1 nationally in the 500 free with her pr and Cal record 4:37.69 from last December's Tiger Invitational at Auburn. That swim ranks her No. 2 all-time on the Pac-10 list to former Stanford NCAA champ Janet Evans' American/collegiate record 4:34.39 from the '90 NCAAs.
Coughlin's 500 time from Auburn also ranks her as the race's fourth-fastest performer and fifth-best performance.
* * * * *
UCLA, which won its only Pac-10 title two seasons ago, leads the standings after Day 1 with 418.50 points, followed by last year's champ, Stanford, with 409. USC (353), Cal (301) and Arizona State (238) round-out the top five schools.
The Bruins had no individual winners (nor did Stanford) but scored in three finals, with junior Sara Platzer taking second in the 50 free (22.66) for UCLA's highest individual placer.
Other Bruins who finaled included distance specialist Jackie Lobdell (pr 4:47.07 for fourth in the 500); sophomore Malin Svahnstrom (bronze medalist in the 200 IM, 1:59.85) plus teammate Brooke Winkler (fifth in the IM, 2:02.64).
The Bruins also placed second in the 200 free relay to Cal (1:31.01-1:31.18) and finished fourth in the 400 medley relay.
The 500 free title went to USC sophomore Kaitlin Sandeno, a Sydney Olympian who won her first Pac-10 crown with her seasonal-pr 4:39.50 — an NCAA "A" cut. Runner-up was last year's champ, Arizona's Emily Mason (4:41.27), who also was under the "A" cut.
Sandino's pr is 4:39.09 from the Speedo West meet at Belmont Plaza two years ago, a race where she was just outtouched by Japanese Olympian/record-holder Sachiko Yamada (4:39.07).
Another Trojan, senior Michala Kwasny, defending Pac-10 400 IM champ, won the 200 medley in an auto cut of 1:58.67. She was followed closely by Arizona State's Agnes Kovacs (1:59.18) with UCLA's Svahnstrom next (1:59.85).
Kwasny is the Trojan record-holder with her 1:57.60 from NCAAs two seasons ago. Kovacs, Olympic gold medalist at Sydney in the 200 breast for her native Hungary, is the Sun Devil record-holder with her 1:58.13 from last December's Longhorn Invitational at Austin.
USC's Blythe Hartley defended her 1-meter diving title. She's also defending NCAA champ in this event and the platform too.
The 400 medley relay went to Stanford (the Card's sole victory) with a No. 3 national clocking of 3:35.94. Auburn won SECs with its No. 1 3:34.96, followed by Georgia (3:35.12).
Cal (3:39.04) and USC (3:441.18) finished second and third.
– Bill Bell
2003 WOMEN'S PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS
Federal Way, Washington
25 yard pool
DAY ONE: Feb. 27, 2003
200 Free Relay
1. Cal (1:31.01)
2. UCLA (1:31.18)
3. Stanford (1:31.34)
4. Washington (1:31.98)
5. Arizona (1:32.53)
6. Arizona State (1:33.03)
7. USC (1:33.84)
8. Oregon State (1:34.61)
9. Washington State (1:36.76)
1. Kaitlin Sandeno, USC (4:39.50)
2. Emily Mason, Arizona (4:43.27)
3. Margie Pedder, USC (4:44.88)
4. Jackie Lobdell, UCLA (4:47.07)
5. Joy Galloway, USC (4:48.54)
6. Katie Willis, Arizona (4:49.81)
7. Petra Banovic, ASU (4:50.24)
8. Asa Sandlund, USC (4:51.96)
1. Michala Kwasny, USC (1:58.67)
2. Agnes Kovacs, ASU (1:59.18)
3. Malin Svahnstrom, UCLA (1:59.85)
4. Kristen Caverly, Stanford (2:00.35)
5. Brooke Winkler, UCLA (2:02.64)
6. Tami Ransom, Stanford (2:03.15)
7. Laura Davis, Stanford (2:03.48)
8. Marisa Kozak, USC (2:04.77)
. Natalie Coughlin, Cal (22.05)
2. Sara Platzer, UCLA (22.66)
3. Kim Harada, Washington (22.69)
4. Lacey Boutwell, Stanford (22.86)
5. Claire Hedenskog, Arizona State (23.14)
6. Kim Vandenberg, UCLA (23.19)
7. Sarah Jones, Stanford (23.20)
8. Jessica Hayes, Arizona (23.55)
1. Blythe Hartley, USC (332.85)
2. Ashlee Rosenthal, Stanford (310.95)
3. Regan Gosnell, UCLA (294.15)
4. Trisha Tumlinson, Arizona State (293.65)
5. Nicci Fusaro, USC (286.25)
6. Claire Febvay, Arizona (272.25)
7. McKenze Murphy, Stanford (256.85)
8. Paige Thompson, UCLA (246.55)
400 Medley Relay
1. Stanford (3:35.92)
2. Cal (3:39.04)
3. USC (3:41.18)
4. UCLA (3:41.94)
5. Oregon State (3:43.69)
6. Arizona State (3:43.77)
7. Washington (3:47.72)
8. Washington State (3:49.16)