At the 1999 Pan Pacific Games in Sydney, Australia two current Wildcats showcased their skills as members of the United States squad, while another competed for South Africa. The competition took place August 23-29, at the Olympic swimming venue that will be used during the 2000 Olympic Games.
Arizona senior Ryk Neethling, the 1998-99 NCAA Division I Swimmer of the Year, added to his list of accolades by earning three medals for his native South Africa. He started the competition on day one by claiming the bronze medal in the 400-meter freestyle by clocking a 3:46.31 and followed with another third place finish on day three, in the 200-meter freestyle (1:48.17). Already the most decorated male swimmer in school history, Neethling garnered a silver medal in the 1,500-meter freestyle by swimming a 15:02.40, on the final day of competition.
Wildcat junior Jay Schryver also competed in this prestigious event by taking part in the 50-meter freestyle (23.24), 100-meter freestyle (50.82) and the 200-meter freestyle (1:51.69).
On the women's side, UA sophomore Sarah Tolar placed in all three events that she entered. Tolar's biggest accomplishment of the weekend came when she advanced the finals of the 200-meter freestyle on day three and finished in seventh place overall, by clocking a 2:01.14. Day two saw Tolar swim a 4:22.39 in the 400-meter freestyle, to finish in 16th place and on day five she finished 10th in the 100-meter freestyle (56.77).
The most impressive performance of the summer came at the 1999 Pan American Games (August 1-7) in Winnipeg, Canada, as four Arizona swimmers hauled in a total of seven medals, while competing in only nine events.
Arizona senior Denali Knapp lead the way for the Cats as she set two Pan American Games records and came away with two gold medals and one silver. The first record came in the 200-meter backstroke, as Knapp finished in a time of 2:12.48, ahead of Wildcat teammate, freshman Beth Botsford, who clocked a 2:12.95, to earn the silver medal. In the 4x100-meter medley relay Knapp lead off the race by swimming the backstroke leg in a time of 1:01.85, helping the United States team to a Pan American games record time of 4:06.08 and the gold medal. Knapp also swam to a silver medal in the 100-meter backstroke with a time of 1:02.45, while Botsford earned the bronze in the same race (1:02.48).
The highlight on the men's side belonged to senior Matt Allen who medaled in two separate Pan American events. Allen earned a silver medal as a member of the 4x100-meter medley relay squad, as he lead off with a backstroke leg time of 55.84. Meanwhile, in the 100-meter backstroke Allen finished in third place, after swimming a time of 55.86.
Fellow Arizona senior Nat Lewis competed in two distance freestyle events at the games, finishing fourth in the 1,500-meter freestyle (15:44.15) and eighth in the 400-meter freestyle (3:58.99).
On the island of Mallorca, Spain (July 8-13) four Wildcat athletes earned four medals and joined thousands of athletes from around the globe, to experience the magic of the World University Games.
Wildcat sophomore Katie Zimbone acquired the first of her two medals, as she swam the leadoff leg (2:03.19) of the gold-medal winning 800-meter freestyle relay squad. Arizona teammate, sophomore Caroline Kilian swam the third leg (2:04.74) of that same relay to take home a gold medal of her own. Zimbone garnered her second medal as she finished third in the 400-meter freestyle, in a time of 4:17.30. Also on the women's side, freshman Amanda Beard, the American record holder in the 100-meter breaststroke, earned a silver in that same event, by racing to a 1:10.23.
The Arizona men were represented by senior Rob Henikman, who placed 10th in the 100-meter breaststroke, in a time of 1:03.94.
The crowning jewel of the summer season took place in Minneapolis, Minn., August 6-10 at the Phillips 66 U.S. National Championships. All Arizona athletes competed with the UA's club team, Hillenbrand of Tucson (Team HOT). Team Hillenbrand entered the meet as the defending national champions, after claiming the women's and combined titles at last summer's meet and this year, the team finished with a third-place overall finish (women; 2nd place, men; 4th place).
The highlight for team Hillenbrand featured sophomore Roland Schoeman, who qualified for the consolation final of the 50-meter freestyle and blazed his way to the fastest time in the world this year and the fourth-fastest time ever, by clocking a 22.04.
Other standout performance included:
The 400 freestyle relay team of junior Lindsey Farella, sophomore Emily Mastin, senior Denali Knapp and former UA swimmer Liesl Kolbisen, who notched a first-place finish (3:47.53).
The Hillenbrand "A" squad in the 400-medley relay, where the team of Knapp, Mastin, sophomore Erin Vogt and Farella notched a second place finish with a time of 4:12.46.
Senior Ryk Neethling captured the 800 freestyle title in a time of 7:59.41.
Knapp finished third in the 100 backstroke in a time of 1:02.22.
The 400 freestyle relay squad of sophomore Roland Schoeman, senior Coley Stickels, Hillenbrand swimmer Ugur Taner and senior Ryk Neethling finished second in a time of 3:21.40.
The 800 free relay team of sophomore Emily Mastin, senior Rachel Joseph, sophomore Jenny Vanker and junior Lindsey Farella clocked a time of 8:15.14, good enough for a second place finish.
Incoming UA freshman Jeff Dash finished in fourth place in the 200 butterfly, in a time of 2:01.64.