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NCAA.com | January 31, 2014

USC hands top-ranked Cal first loss of season

LOS ANGELES -- California came into Friday’s meet against No. 5 Southern California with an undefeated dual-meet record and the nation’s top ranking, but left the Uytengsu Aquatics Center with a 180.5-119.5 loss to the Trojans.

The Bears, who were coming off an 80-point win against No. 10 Arizona at home last weekend, captured just four of 16 events on the day.

In the opening 200 medley relay, Cal (6-1) jumped out to a quick start on the backstroke leg, holding the top two places after 50 yards. But USC’s Kasey Carlson’s breaststroke pushed the Trojans to the front, a lead they never relinquished, with the Bears finishing 2-3.

Missy Franklin, swimming the 1000 free for the third time this season and for the first time since last Oct. 20 vs. Florida, held off a challenge from USC’s Meghan Hawthorne to win in 9:47.44, her fastest time of the season to put her fifth on the Bears’ all-time list.

Swimming in her third freestyle event of the day, Franklin couldn’t hold onto a lead she established through the first 450 yards and placed second to a hard-charging Chelsea Chenault of USC in the 500-yard event, 4:46.88 to 4:47.14. Stewart then claimed the 100 fly for the Trojans in 53.74.

Celina Li gave the Bears their third swimming victory when she held off USC’s Stina Gardell to prevail in the 200 individual medley with a winning time of 1:58.93 for a 0.18-second edge. The Trojans wrapped up the afternoon with a first-place finish in the 400 free relay.

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