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LOOKING BACK: Lions Finish LMU-Best Second at PCSCs

June 5, 2007

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LOS ANGELES - Highlighted by 11 new school records and four PCSC event titles, Loyola Marymount swimming concluded its season at the PCSC Championships in Long Beach, Calif. The Lions finished a program-best second of 14 teams in the conference.

Loyola Marymount swimming posted its best finish at the PCSC Championship in program history, finishing second of 14 teams with 1049.5 points. In the conference championship's 17 swimming events, the Lions set new school records in 10 of them and new PCSC records in two. LMU concluded the 2006-07 regular season campaign 7-5 in dual action, the program's third straight winning season under Head Coach Bonnie Adair. The mark of seven dual victories is the was also the second-highest in program history. The 2005-06 team went 9-5 in dual action, bringing the record over the last two seasons to 16-10.

PCSC Championship triple winner Lauren Mathewson, along with teammates Morgan Finley, Alex Wike, Trinity O'Neill, and Angela Samuels were selected to the PCSC All-Conference team. Senior Amanda Luciano was named to the PCSC All-Academic team. The five LMU selections mark the most swimmers the Lions have ever placed on the all-conference team. The honors come on the heels of LMU's best finish at the PCSC Championship, as the Lions placed second of the 14 programs. Mathewson's three event titles came in the 50 freestyle, 100 backstroke, and 200 backstroke, earning her PCSC Swimmer of the Year honors. She was also a member of the 200 medley relay, along with Finley, Samuels and Wike, which shattered the existing meet record by over a second in route to the Lion victory. Finley earned her all-conference selection for her third place finish in the 200 breaststroke and her leg on the 200 medley relay. Wike was selected for her third place finish in the 50 freestyle and also for the 200 medley relay, where she swam the anchor leg. O'Neill was selected for the 400 individual medley, where she placed third. Samuels was selected for her role as the fourth member of LMU's record-setting medley relay.

Several Lions took home PCSC event titles at the conference championship in February. Senior Lauren Mathewon racked up three of them, winning the 50 free, the 100 back, and the 200 back. She then teamed with Morgan Finley, Angela Samuels, and Alex Wike to win the 200 medley relay. Mathewson's 100 backstroke and the team's 200 medley relay both set new PCSC Championships meet records. The four titles helped propel LMU to its best-ever second place finish in the PCSC.

Mathewson racked up numerous accolades during her four years in a Lion suit. She was undefeated in both 100 and 200 backstroke dual events throughout her sophomore, junior, and senior campaigns. Over the years, she won five individual PCSC titles and three 200 medley relay titles, for a total of eight conference championships. She shattered the conference records in the 100 backstroke and as the leadoff swimmer on the 200 medley relay. Her 50 backstroke split on the relay was one of the five fastest times in the nation. Her efforts earned her the 2007 PCSC Swimmer of the Year distinction. Mathewson graduated in May as the school record holder in both the 100 and 200 backstroke and in four relay events: the 200 and 400 medley relays and the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.

After capping off an impressive season with four PCSC Conference titles, four new school records, and two PCSC Championship meet records, Lauren Mathewson was not one of 32 swimmers selected to compete in the NCAA National Championships in Minnesota. Mathewson ranked 35th on the list, less than a tenth of a second from the coveted 32nd spot. Mathewson would have been the first LMU swimmer to have competed at the NCAA National Championship meet. The selection process was controversial this year due to some improprieties in the manner in which relay events were conducted in the ACC and Big 12 Conference Championships. Those conferences set up their championship finals with an extra lane between teams to facilitate smooth water for faster times. This violated a new NCAA rule that went into effect last year. Faced with a decision to disqualify some of the fastest teams in the country, the NCAA Championship committee opted to modify its selection procedure and invited additional relay teams beyond the 16 teams normally invited to accommodate for possible advantages to the ACC and Big 12 teams. This resulted in a greater number of athletes being invited to the Championship meet for the relay swims, but reduced slightly the number of individuals, like Mathewson, that were invited.

LMU finished in a program-best seventh place after three tough days of competition at the annual UC Irvine Speedo Cup. Among the field of 23 teams, the Lions set four new school records en route to their best finish at the meet at Belmont Plaza in Long Beach, Calif. In addition to the four new school records set, two senior Lions made the NCAA "B" time standard, meaning they were among those considered for the NCAA National Championship invitations in the spring. Senior Lauren Mathewson's second place swim in the 100 backstroke was one of them, as her mark ranked her in the nation's top-20 in the event at the time. Katie Hicks then won the 100 free with a time of 50.95. That mark was one of four new LMU records, and ranked her in the nation's top-30 in the event at the time.

Loyola Marymount swimming celebrated Rivalry Weekend and Senior Saturday in style, topping Pepperdine 172-90 in the final home competition of the season at Burns Aquatic Center. With the win, the Lions secured their third straight dual win over the Waves. The morning began with the Mane Deck dedication ceremony, commemorating the official opening of the section of the pool deck that honors past aquatic champions. The Lions won nine of the day's 14 events, including both relays: the 200 medley relay and the 400 free relay.

Loyola Marymount hosted its third annual LMU Pentathlon at the Burns Aquatic Center. Crosstown rivals Pepperdine and Cal State Northridge competed against the Lions in the Pentathlon's three competitions: the short medley, long medley, and freestyle events. The pentathlon consisted of each swimmer individually entered one of the three competitions. Each competition included five races, with the swimmers' times being added from each of their five races. Within each competition, the swimmer with the lowest time was declared the winner. Pepperdine won the short (Dani Kimmel in 2:53.72) and long (Alison McLeod in 6:11.82 - new meet record) medley competitions, while Cal State Northridge's Sanda Jukic (14:51.51 - new meet record) captured the freestyle title. LMU placed a handful of swimmers in the top-3 in each competition. Junior Angela Samuels and Mallorie Lim gave the Lions a 2-3 finish in the short medley. Freshman Alicia Witter placed second in the freestyle competition, while junior Liz Magura took third in the long medley. Senior Lauren Mathewson set three new meet records Saturday: the 25 free (11.36), 50 back (27.16), and the 50 free (24.36). Fellow senior Morgan Finley, who swam every event over the course of the two hour meet, set a new Pentathlon record in the 100 breast (1:07.98). Junior Angela Samuels, who won the inaugural short medley title in 2004, won the 50 fly Saturday with a time of 26.59.

Loyola Marymount posted impressive results at the annual Malibu Invitational, hosted by Pepperdine. Senior Lauren Mathewson and freshman Trinity O'Neill were named high point winners for LMU, claiming the sprint and distance titles respectively. LMU won eight of the 14 swimming events, including half of the sprint events and four of the six distance events.