- Written by Sharon Robb
Stanford, the top women's team in the nation, is favored to defend its title at the Pac-10 Conference Women's Swimming and Diving Championships which begin Wednesday in Federal Way, Wash.
The nationally No. 1 ranked Cardinals are hoping to win back-to-back titles for the first time since 2004-05. Coach Lea Maurer's team is also seeking its 18th conference title since 1987.
The Pac-10 field boasts four of the top 10 teams in the nation. Joining Stanford are No. 4 California, No. 6 USC and No. 7 Arizona.
With four returning PAC-10 champions looking to defend their conference titles, Arizona State will also be a formidable opponent in the women's field.
SOFLO's Caroline Kuczynski, an ASU sophomore, will open competition in the 200-yard medley and 800-yard freestyle relays on Wednesday night.
Kuczynski is ranked in her individual event, the 100-yard butterfly, No. 9 in the Pac-10 and No. 26 in the NCAA in 53.11. She is seeded eighth in the meet.
Kuczynski is also entered in the 500-yard freestyle (4:50.64), 200-yard individual medley (2:07.54) and 200-yard butterfly (1:59.79).
The event is being held at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center through Saturday.
Atlantic Coast Conference Championships
After a successful run by the women, Florida State's men with SOFLO's Tyler Sell, a freshman, will now take their turn at the Men's ACC Championships at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center.
"We're excited to get to this point because we've waited all season for the ACC Championships," FSU coach Neil Harper said.
"The men's team has had this on their calendar for awhile and the atmosphere is always great. We're excited to compete against Virginia, North Carolina and the rest that the ACC has to offer."
Matt Shead, one of five seniors on the team, along with the rest of the team planned to wear For Coach Michael's Fight t-shirts to honor SOFLO and six-time Olympic coach Michael Lohberg, who is battling aplastic anemia. Lohberg has worked with both Sell and Paul Murray, former local swimmers and is well-liked by FSU swimmers.
Two current SOFLO swimmers, Doug Ramos and Alex Rodriguez have committed to FSU.
The meet begins on Wednesday with the 200 medley and 800 freestyle relays and ends Saturday.
Big Ten Championships
Minnesota has won nine conference titles including five since 2000, the most of any team.
Among team favorites are No. 9 ranked Michigan, No. 11 and defending champion Ohio State, No. 14 Indiana with SOFLO's Nicholas Schwab, a redshirt sophomore; No. 15 Gophers, No. 20 Purdue and No. 25 Iowa.
The meet begins on Wednesday and runs through Saturday at the University Aquatic Center. Highlights will be aired on the Big Ten Network at 10 a.m. on March 6.
Elsewhere, ESPNU will broadcast the Southeastern Conference Championships, the men will air on Feb. 27 at 5 p.m. and the women on March 1 at 4 p.m.