Feb. 23, 2001
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. --Defending Pacific-10 Conference women's swimming and diving champion Arizona used its depth Friday to move into the lead at this year's conference championship being staged at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center. The Wildcats didn't win any of the eight women's finals, but edged past first-day leader USC going into Saturday's final seven events.
Arizona has 795 points through 14 events, while USC slipped to second with 771.5 points. UCLA is right behind cross-town rival USC with 766 points, while Stanford is fourth at 702. Those four are followed by California 642.5, Arizona State 483.5, Washington State 289, Washington 266 and Oregon State 231.
While three meet records and one Pacific-10 Conference standard fell Friday to Stanford athletes, it was not a good day for defending champions. In all, five competitors who won their specialties last year failed to repeat.
Stanford's Tara Kirk, a freshman from nearby Bremerton, captured a pair of records Friday in the 100 breaststroke. Her time of 59.58 seconds bettered both the conference and the Pac-10 meet standards.
Senior Misty Hyman, also from Stanford, broke the meet record in the 100 butterfly with a 51.83 clocking, while the Stanford quartet in the 800 freestyle relay also topped the Pac-10 meet record with their 7:10.28 performance.
Among the defending champions who could not match their performance from last year were Stanford's Shelly Ripple in the 100 backstroke, and teammate Erin Sones, who failed to make the three-meter diving finals after capturing the title last year. Ripple finished fifth in the backstroke.
California's Staciana Stitts, who won the 100 breaststroke a year ago, finished third Friday, while Arizona's Sarah Tolar ended up second in the 200 freestyle after winning last year.
In men's diving, defending champion Ruben Vaca from Arizona finished second after capturing the title last year. Vaca will defend his platform diving title Saturday.
Meanwhile Ripple will get another chance during the final competition Saturday when she defends her title in the 200 butterfly. Jessica Foschi from Stanford will also go after a second straight title when she takes on the field in the 1650 freestyle.
Three other defending champions, all from Arizona, will be in action during the finals Saturday. Olympian Amanda Beard, who captured the bronze medal in the 200 breaststroke last summer, will defend her Pac-10 title, as will teammate Beth Botsford, who won the 200 backstroke in this meet last year. Another Wildcat, Lindsay Berryman, will put her title on the line in platform diving Saturday.
Prelims begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, with the finals in the eight women's events getting underway at 6 p.m. In addition, the men's platform diving finals begin at 5:00 p.m. Team award presentations are slated for approximately 8 p.m. at the conclusion of competition.