The Facts: Both Wildcat squads opened the 1999-2000 campaign with victories over the UNLV Runnin' Rebels in Las Vegas on Oct. 30. The women tallied a 227-67 victory, while the men cruised to a 195.5-95.5 triumph. As usual, the men's team was led by senior Ryk Neethling, who notched victories in the 200, 500 and 1,000 freestyles, the same three events in which he is the defending national champion. The women were led by three, double-event winners: senior Trina Jackson (500 and 1,000 free), and freshmen Beth Botsford (100 and 200 back) and Amanda Beard (100 and 200 breast).
The women ended the 1998-99 season with 10-1 dual-meet record (4-1 in Pac-10) and finished fourth at the 1999 NCAA Championships. The women also return 20 letterwinners from last year's squad, including 11 All-Americans, while losing only one point-scorer from last year's NCAA team.
The men's team, led by 1999 NCAA Division I Swimmer of the Year Ryk Neethling, returns 18 letterwinners from last year's fifth place team, including 12 All-Americans, while losing no point-scorers from last year's NCAA team. This year's men's team will also feature 10 seniors, the largest class during the 11-year era of head coach Frank Busch.
Cats in the Polls: The men enter the meet ranked No. 4 in the nation in the Nov. 4 edition of the Speedo America College Swimming Coaches Association Top-25 poll, while the Arizona women are ranked second in the nation. On the women's side, the Wildcats trail only defending-champion Georgia, while the men find themselves behind; co-No. 1's Stanford and defending-champion Auburn and the No. 3 Texas Longhorns.
Other Pac-10 men's teams in the rankings include the Stanford at co-No. 1, the USC men at No. 5, California at No. 6, and Arizona State in the No. 14 spot.
For the women, Stanford is No. 3, USC No. 4, California at No. 5, UCLA in the No. 14 slot and Arizona State at No. 21.