USC’s swimming & diving teams competed in the Pac-12 Championships this week, and the Trojans make a strong push on the final day to finish with seven titles, good enough for a Top 3 finish overall.
The Trojans came into Pac-12s ranked No. 4 and finished in third with 638.5 points, the most the USC has scored since 2003. Cal won with 825 with Stanford came in second (800). With the Golden Bears winning, this year marked the first time the Cardinal have not won the conference since 1981.
USC’s seven titles from this year’s competition are the most Troy has won in conference championships since 1977.
Junior Vladimir Morozov was a top performer for Troy this year, winning two individual titles and one with a relay team. The 2012 Olympian started off Pac-12s by defending his 50y freestyle title on Monday. He then destroyed both the school and Pac-12 record to win the 100y free title with a time of 41.38, blanking his previous record of 41.70 and that of Cal swimmer Nathan Adrian’s 2009 conference meet record of 41.64.
Teamed with juniors Dimitri Colupaev and Jack Wagner and sophomore Cristian Quintero, Morozov and the Trojans won USC’s first 400y free relay since 1979. Their winning time was 2:48.66, better than the previous school best by nearly two seconds and it is also good enough to be the fastest time in the country.
“We finished off the meet with several outstanding performances that should position us well for the NCAA championships,” USC Coach Dave Salo said. “The relays were exceptional this year and a lot more fun being on the winning side of most.”
The Trojans closed Pac-12s as excitingly as they opened it, where on the first day of competition, USC won three titles. Morozov’s 50y free title was the first, while the Trojans 800y free relay team (which featured Quintero) took the top spot in that event, and Quintero won his first individual title when he won the 500y free.
Earlier in the 100 free, Wagner (43.10, PR) and Colupaev (43.26) finished third and fourth respectively.
Quintero had an ambitious goal to become the first conference swimmer to sweep the 200y, 500y and 1650y free since the 1970s, and he almost saw it come pass. However the Olympian was overtaken in the final 100 yards by Stanford sophomore Drew Cosgarea, who won in 14:49.71. Quintero finished second with a time of 14:51.85.
Lastly, Trojan senior Alex Lendrum was named the Pac-12′s Male Swimming and Diving Scholar Athlete of the Year. He posted a career-best 1:42.39 in the 200y, good enough for third place.
USC is off until the NCAA Championships, March 28-30, in Indianapolis.