MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Senior Ryk Neethling won his first individual crown of the weekend and school-record eighth, overall title on the first day of action today at the University Aquatic Center, to lead Arizona to a third-place standing (114.5 points) at the 2000 NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships. Texas leads the team competition with 173 points, while Auburn is second (151). California (fourth place; 100 points) and Stanford (88) round out the top five.
Event two, the 400m freestyle, saw two Wildcats advance - one to the championship final and one to the consolation final. Neethling turned in a time of 3:40.47 to notch his eighth NCAA title and a new U.S. Open record, while senior Nat Lewis finished 13th (3:48.54).
After tying the world record in the 50-meter freestyle in the morning prelim session with a time of 21.31, sophomore Roland Schoeman came back and broke that record with a leadoff split time of 21.28 during the 200-meter freestyle relay. But, the record stood for only 45 minutes, as California freshman Anthony Ervin swam to a first-place finish in the 50m free (21.21), while Schoeman clocked 21.22. Although Schoeman was defeated by one-hundredth of a second he gained 17 points for the Cats in the team race. After qualifying 11th in the morning session senior Coley Stickels finished tied for 12th at night (22.23), scoring 4.5 points for the Cats.
In the evening finals of the 200m free relay the Wildcat squad of Schoeman, Stickels, senior Rob Henikman and junior Jay Schryver finished third in a time of 1:26.74. .
Although no Cats advanced to the finals of the 200m individual medley, the consolation finals saw junior Ben Anderson score valuable points. Anderson finished 13th , in a time of 2:00.91.
Next, the swimmers took a break while the women's 1-Meter Springboard diving competition took place. Sophomore Ruben Vaca turned in an impressive performance by finishing ninth (510.90 points), while junior Arno Bergstrom finished 32nd (413.10).
The final event of the opening day saw the 400m medley relay squad of senior Matt Allen, senior Chris , Bundy, Schoeman and Stickels seventh, in a time of 3:35.48.
Day two of the NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships begin tomorrow with the prelims set to begin at 12 noon and the finals slated for 7:00 p.m. (CST).
* NOTE * All of the complete race results for both the preliminary and finals sessions from all three days can be found at two separate websites: www.ncaachampionships.com and www.gophersports.com