Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Second-Ranked Wildcat Men Swimmers Look to End Stanford's 18-year Pac-10 Streak
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: February 28, 2000
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This Week's Schedule:
This Thursday, March 2 through Saturday, March 4, the Arizona men's team, ranked No. 2 in the country, will participate in the 2000 Pac-10 Conference Championships at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Wash. Over 200 athletes are scheduled to compete and races will be contested in short-course yards. Men's swimming teams from Arizona, Arizona State, California, Stanford, Southern California and Washington will compete for the 2000 Pac-10 Men's Swimming Championship. All team scores will also include results from the 2000 Men's Diving Championships that were held last weekend at the McDonald's Swim Stadium, on the campus of the University of Southern California.

The Conference of Champions:
The 2000 Pac-10 Championships feature five of the top 11 schools in the country and four of the top six, according to the latest CSCA Top-25 poll - No. 2 ARIZONA, No. 4 CALIFORNIA, No. 5 USC, No. 6 STANFORD, and No. 11 ARIZONA STATE-Three 1999 Pac-10 Champions return to defend their titles in four events-Two 1999 NCAA individual champions will participate in the Conference Championships as well-UA senior, and three-time Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year, Ryk Neethling (200, 500 and 1,650 free) and California's Bart Kizierowski (100 free) are defending NCAA title-holders.

Wildcat Swimming Notes:
The No. 2 Wildcats are seeking its first-ever Pac-10 championship this weekend... UA is led into the competition by seven-time NCAA, five-time Pac-10 Champion, and three-time Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year, Ryk Neethling-Neethling, a senior, is the defending Conference champ in the 500-yard and 1,650-yard free Neethling also comes into the competition as the fastest 200, 500, and 1650 freestyler in the country The Wildcats own several other top short course yards times... Sophomore Roland Schoeman swam an NCAA record 19.07 seconds in the 50 free, Dec. 3 at the Texas Invitational... Schoeman also has the nation's top time in the 100 free... Senior Matt Allen has the nation's best mark in the 100-yard backstroke (47.85) and junior Ben Anderson has the best time in the 200-yard IM (1:47.52), as well as the No. 2 time in the 200-yard butterfly... UA has individuals in the top-10 in every event, except the 200 breaststroke and 100 butterfly... Arizona owns the nation's best times in the 200-yard medley relay and 200-yard freestyle relay.

Last Year:
Stanford won its 18th consecutive Pac-10 Championship on the strength of three individual championships and three relay wins, as well as five individual second-place finishes. The Cardinal outlasted California in a tight race, 748.5-740.5.

Summer 1999; Wildcats Around the Globe:
The Arizona men's and women's swimming teams recently completed a busy summer that showcased Wildcat athletes in action in four different countries, on three different continents.

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 led 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 Palma de 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.

Next Time Out:
The women will travel to the UIPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis, Ind. for the 2000 NCAA Championships, March 16-18. Meanwhile, the men's squad will head to Minneapolis, Minn. for the NCAAs, March 23-25.

Margo Geer P12 WOTY