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Women's NCAAs, Day 3: Georgia Sets American Record in 400 Free Relay; Natalie Leads Off for Cal With an American Record in the 100 free -- March 20, 2004

By Phillip Whitten

400 meter freestyle relay
COLLEGE STATION, Texas, March 20. THE meet’s final event, the 400 free relay, figured to be yet another struggle between SEC powerhouses, Auburn and Georgia. No surprise there.

But first there was a small matter to dispose of.

True champions acknowledge defeat with grace and then bounce back. That’s why one California Golden Bear, a certain Natalie Coughlin, was leading off her team’s relay. And she had some serious bouncing to do.

A four-year winning streak had been broken in her last race. Could she bounce back?

Ask not, ye doubters. Looking confident. Nat stroked to an American and NCAA record 52.81. A new streak had begun.

Meanwhile, Georgia’s Kara Lynn Joyce wasn’t far behind, leading off for the Dawgs in 53.46. Georgia’s second swimmer, Neka Mabry, followed with a 53.52 -- 5-hundredths faster than Auburn’s Margaret Hoelzer -- to give Georgia a lead it never relinquished. The Dawgs were barking at a new American record.

The Tigers made up a quarter of a second on Christina Swindle’s 54.44 split, but Georgia’s Andrea Georoff, handed off a lead of over a second to Mary Descenza, who had won the 200 fly half an hour before. Auburn countered with Becky Short. .

Descenza delivered. Looking relaxed the whole way, she never let Short get within striking range, splitting 53.47 to Short’s 53.70.

Georgia’s 3:35.14 was an American and NCAA record – and history’s second fastest time. Only China, which went 3:34.55 in 1997, has gone faster. Auburn finished in 3:36.50, also under the former American/NCAA record.


Official Results: 400-Meter Freestyle Relay Finals

EVENT: 21 WOMEN's 400 Meter Freestyle Relay

NCAA Record: 3:37.67 Georgia 2000
World Record: 3:34.55 CHN 1997
American Record: 3:37.10 USA 2002
US Open Record: 3:37.67 Georgia 2000
QUALIFYING FOR "A" Cut: 3:18.95
QUALIFYING FOR This Meet: 3:20.03

RESULTS of FINALS

RANK TEAM PRELIM TIME

CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL

1) GEORGIA 3:40.68 3:35.14**
1) JOYCE, KARA LYNN FR :53.46 3) GEOROFF, ANDREA JR :54.69
2) MABRY, NEKA SR :53.52 4) DESCENZA, MARY SO :53.47
** NCAA Record: American Record: US Open Record:
2) AUBURN 3:39.78 3:36.50
1) COPARROPA, EILEEN SR :54.79 3) SWINDLE, CHRISTINA FR :54.44
2) HOELZER, MARGARET JR :53.57 4) SHORT, BECKY SR :53.70

3) CALIFORNIA 3:41.06 3:40.31
1) COUGHLIN, NATALIE SR :52.81++ 3) BURDEN, MICHA SR :56.36
2) BECKS, DANIELLE SR :55.97 4) MEDINA, LAUREN JR :55.17
++ NCAA Record: American Record: US Open Record:

4) ARIZONA 3:41.02 3:40.33
1) HAYES, JESSICA JR :55.12 3) MYERS, WHITNEY FR :55.06
2) GRESDAL, JENNA SO :55.14 4) SMITH, MARSHI SO :55.01

5) TEXAS A&M 3:41.93 3:41.04
1) LIEB, KATY SO :56.06 3) BIRD, MICHELLE JR :55.80
2) TOWNSEND, DANIELLE JR :54.70 4) STURDY, REBECCA FR :54.48

6) FLORIDA 3:40.90 3:41.91
1) FARRELL, MAUREEN JR :55.19 3) UHLE, MARIETTA SO :55.33
2) GIBNEY, CHANTAL SR :56.07 4) ELLIS, JAIME SR :55.32

7) WISCONSIN 3:42.55 3:41.93
1) HERNANDEZ, SARAH SO :55.84 3) TRINIDAD, ANNA SO :56.02
2) PIPER, CARLY JR :55.73 4) PENDLETON, BETHANY SR :54.34

8) UCLA 3:42.44 3:43.69
1) SVAHNSTROM, MALIN SR :55.95 3) PLATZER, SARA SR :54.59
2) VANDENBERG, KIM SO :56.35 4) THURMAN, AMY FR :56.80


CONSOLATION FINAL

9) TEXAS 3:43.54 3:41.40
1) SIMINSKI, KRISTY SO :55.90 3) FAULKNER, JACLYN SO :55.47
2) ELLIOTT, LACEY SR :55.01 4) WANEZEK, SARAH JR :55.02

10) SOUTHERN METHODIST 3:42.58 3:41.63
1) LEE, GEORGINA SR :55.04 3) DARLING, LEANE FR :55.81
2) POMEROY, LAURA SO :55.18 4) LEMMEN, CELINA FR :55.60

11) SOUTH CAROLINA 3:42.71 3:41.95
1) VANASSEN, JENNIFER SR :55.02 3) BASTAK, ASHLEIGH SR :56.43
2) SKAGGS, HEATHER JR :55.35 4) McHUGH, CAROLYNN JR :55.15

12) INDIANA 3:42.85 3:41.96
1) VAZIRI, LEILA FR :56.10 3) WENTWORTH, CLARISSA FR :55.59
2) SMITH, ERIN JR :55.48 4) MEGHAN, MEDENDORP SR :54.79

13) STANFORD 3:43.61 3:43.10
1) BOUTWELL, LACEY JR :54.92 3) DALY, ASHLEY FR :56.60
2) RANSOM, TAMI JR :56.06 4) KIRK, DANA SO :55.52

14) ARIZONA STATE 3:45.61 3:44.02
1) SZIGETI, FLORENCIA JR :55.34 3) BALDINGER, ERIN SO :57.34
2) BANOVIC, PETRA SR :55.61 4) GILLESPIE, AMANDA FR :55.73

15) MICHIGAN 3:43.95 3:44.45
1) SMITH, LINDSEY FR :56.29 3) SESKEVICS, ABBY SO :56.30
2) WEILBACHER, ANNE SR :56.23 4) McCULLOUGH, AMY JR :55.63

16) FLORIDA STATE 3:46.03 3:47.33
1) BREEN, EMILY JR :56.99 3) DONG, RACHEL SR :57.97
2) DUTTON, EMMA SR :55.50 4) HOW, LISA JR :56.87