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AUBURN, Alabama, March 15. IN a battle of the heavyweights, California's Caitlin Leverenz clipped Southern California's Katinka Hosszu, 1:51.77 to 1:51.80, in the women's 200 IM at the NCAA Division I Women's Swimming and Diving Championships. Leverenz utilized a superior breaststroke leg to build nearly .70 seconds of a lead before holding on for dear life in the freestyle as Hosszu nearly powered past her.
Leverenz's time blasted the American, U.S. Open and NCAA record of 1:52.31 set by Julia Smit of Stanford in 2010, while Hosszu's time is the second fastest of all time. Leverenz upended Hosszu, the defending champion, to give California its initial victory in the history of the event.
The two broke the NCAA record for the smallest margin of victory in the history of the women's 200 IM. With the .03 margin of victory, the duo broke the previous record of .05 set by Georgia's Kristy Kowal (2:10.69) in her triumph over California's Elli Overton (2:10.74) in 2000.
Stanford's Maya DiRado (1:53.89) moved to eighth all time in the event with a third-place finish, while Texas' Karlee Bispo finished fourth in 1:54.56. USC's Stina Gardell (1:54.90), Georgia's Melanie Margalis (1:55.10), USC's Meghan Hawthorne (1:56.07) and Indiana's Allysa Vavra (1:56.60) also competed in the A final.
Notre Dame's Emma Reaney raced to the consolation conquest with a top time of 1:55.67, while Columbia's Catherine Meili finished second in 1:56.73. Texas A&M's Erica Dittmer (1:56.96) led an Aggie foursome in the B final. Kim Pavlin (1:57.89), Paige Miller (1:59.03) and Caroline McElhany (1:59.14) also scored for A&M. Southern California's Tanya Krisman (1:57.70) and Virginia's Ellen Williamson (1:58.92) also swam in the consolation heat.
Southern California cut Georgia's lead to 77-76, while California also cleared 70 points with a third-place 72. Stanford (56) and Texas (45) held fourth and fifth after the race.
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