The last time the USC women’s swimming and diving team won a conference championship, most of the current swimmers’ and divers’ parents were still in high school. The year was 1985 — a year before the then-Pacific 10 began recognizing women’s athletics — when the Trojans swam their way to the Western Collegiate Athletic Association title.Just over three decades later, the Trojans are conference champions once again.Led by solid veteran leadership and explosive young talent, the No. 4 USC women’s swimming and diving team beat the odds to defeat Stanford, the nation’s top-ranked team; Cal, the defending conference and NCAA champions, as well as six other teams to capture the crown. A year after the men’s swimming and diving team won their first conference championship in 36 years, head coach Dave Salo understood the impact that the win had on not only this team but the entire Trojan family that they represent.“There is nothing better than making Trojan alumni and fans proud of their Trojans,” Salo said. “The drought of team championships is over for USC.”Historically, USC has boasted several outstanding individual swimmers but hasn’t been able to put together the team effort it takes to win a collective title. That script was flipped this year, as the Trojans — despite only winning three events — won the championship by over one hundred total points.USC, who finished third in the 2015 Pac-12 Championships, posted a total of 1481 points. They were followed by No. 1 Stanford, who scored 1344, and No. 6 California, with 1306. From there, the gaps between schools widened: Arizona came in fourth with 1125 points, and UCLA, Utah, Washington State, Arizona State and Oregon State all finished with fewer than 1000 total points.One of USC’s individual winners, junior swimmer Chelsea Chenault, was there when the Trojans fell short of their goal last season.“It’s just an awesome experience to be the first team to ever win the Pac-12 Championship for our school,” Chenault said. “We’ve just been so strong, we’ve been fighting on this whole year.”Chenault was the individual winner in the 500-yard freestyle on Thursday evening, and freshman Elizabeth Stinson went the distance on Saturday night to win the 1650-yard freestyle. They would be the only two Trojans to win their individual events.“Nothing is more satisfying than a team championship, especially when it was as balanced as this was,” Salo said. “No one star propelled this. It was everyone taking responsibility and making a contribution.”USC’s other team victory came in the 800-yard freestyle relay on the first night of the championships, when the quartet featuring freshmen Kirsten Vose and Allie Wooden, and juniors Anika Apostalon and Chenault obliterated the school record with a time of 6:55.17. Their finish in the 800 free was good for an NCAA “A” cut time and is currently the nation’s top time in the event this year.While the Trojans certainly deserve to celebrate after their first-ever Pac-12 conference title, they won’t have long to relax. The NCAA Championships begin in mid-March at Georgia Tech, and with the confidence the team has built up after winning the conference title, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them in position to compete for their first national championship since 1997.“The lesson learned throughout this championship was that when we put our mind to something we can get it done,” Salo said. “But at this point, winning the Pac-12 championship was one of those events that can transform a team not just for the immediate NCAA championship but for many championships we may face over the next several years.”With only ten graduating seniors on the roster of 34 swimmers and divers — including fifteen talented freshmen — this may not be the last time we see the Trojans at the top of their conference in the near future.
“Take advantage of opportunities that present themselves… (and) weigh the value to be accrued, not only financially but developmentally,” he said. Speaking at the sixth Summer of Service scholarship awards ceremony at King’s House on Tuesday (August 21), the Governor-General urged the recipients to maintain enquiring and exploratory minds, particularly within their areas of specialisation. Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, is encouraging young people to be mindful of the ever-changing demands of the 21st century work environment, and challenges them to seek new knowledge to enhance their service delivery capabilities. Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, is encouraging young people to be mindful of the ever-changing demands of the 21st century work environment, and challenges them to seek new knowledge to enhance their service delivery capabilities.Speaking at the sixth Summer of Service scholarship awards ceremony at King’s House on Tuesday (August 21), the Governor-General urged the recipients to maintain enquiring and exploratory minds, particularly within their areas of specialisation.“Take advantage of opportunities that present themselves… (and) weigh the value to be accrued, not only financially but developmentally,” he said.During the ceremony, tuition fees and grants totalling over $5 million were awarded to 15 young persons pursuing tertiary education at local institutions.The recipients spent eight weeks of their summer holidays volunteering their services in various organisations as administrative assistants, teachers and caregivers.“We celebrate (today), a group of young adults who have recognised the enormous value of volunteerism not only to the organisations in which you have served, but also the depth of value to your own development as individuals who will go on to make greater contributions to the society,” he said.The Governor-General, who indicated that 61 students have benefited under the programme since its inception, said the initiative continues to provide a platform for youth development while engendering a sense of national responsibility.“Your commitment demonstrates a level of ambition for self-actualisation and a sense of responsibility toward nation-building. It (also) demonstrates your own belief in using what is right with Jamaica to fix what is wrong,” he added.The Governor-General expressed gratitude to the sponsors, without whom he said the programme would not be the resounding success it now is.The sponsors are: NCB Foundation, Derrimon Trading Company; Newport Fersan Jamaica Limited; the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China; Kingston Bookshop; Caribbean Maritime University; and First Regional Co-operative Credit Union.“Thank you for believing in and supporting the vision of the programme and the aspirations of the participants,” he said.This year’s awardees are: Stephanie Wright, who will attend Northern Caribbean University; Kerone Miller, The Mico University; Phillip Griffiths, University of Technology; Shenese Wilson and Shania Allen, who will be pursuing studies at the College of Agriculture, Science and Education; Brittania Derby and Mellisa Edwards who will attend the Caribbean Maritime University; and Ashera Barron, Ashley Bernard, Samantha Forrester, James Peart, Jhenelle Small, Jastine Smith, Samantha Webb, and Magali Williams who will pursue studies at The University of the West Indies, Mona. Story Highlights