Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Cats Swim To Fifth Place In NCAAs
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: March 27, 1999
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INDIANAPOLIS (march 27) - After the final day of competition at the 1999 NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships at the Indiana University-Purdue University- Indianapolis (IUPUI) Natatorium, Arizona finished in fifth place. On the strength of one more national title by junior Ryk Neethling in the 1,650-yard freestyle, the Cats tallied 90 points Saturday, to bring their total to 296. Auburn won the team title for the second time in the last three seasons with 467.5 points. Stanford (414.5) was second, Texas finished in third place (356.5) and the California Golden Bears were fourth (300.5).

After becoming only the eighth man in history to complete a double-triple (victories in three events in back-to-back seasons) Neethling was named the first NCAA Division I Swimmer of the Year in Arizona history. In the finals of the 1,650 freestyle Neethling won the seventh national title of his career (14:35.57) and finished more than three seconds faster than his nearest competitor.

"I came to Indianapolis to win three more titles and I did that," Neethling said. "Its my seventh title overall, so thats great, but I know that I can go even faster."

Also placing in the finals of the 1,650 free was junior Nat Lewis, who finshed fourth in a time of 14:55.34. It was Lewis second top-four finish in that event in the last three years, as he also placed third in 1997 as a member of the University of Kentucky squad.

In the morning preliminary session of the 100 free, freshman Roland Schoeman solidified his spot as the next great Wildcat sprinter as he set another school record, swimming a 43.07. After being seeded third going into the finals, Schoeman topped that time and swam a 42.88, good enough for a second place finish.

Also, junior Matt Allen set a new school record in the morning preliminary session of the 200 back. Allens 1:44.38 topped his time of 1:44.46 that was set at this years University of Texas Invitational. At night, he placed sixth in the consolation final (14th overall) of the 200 backstroke, by swimming a time of 1:45.28. It was Allens 10th All-America nod as a Wildcat.

More points came for the Cats in the consolation finals of the 200 butterfly. Sophomore Ben Anderson swam impressively and earned the third All-America honor of his career as he finished sixth in the consolation (14th overall), in a time of 1:47.13.

In the 21st and final event of the weekend, the 400 free relay, the UA squad of Schoeman, Neethling, junior Coley Stickels and sophomore Scott Gaskins placed third in the championship finals (2:53.87) and earned 32 points for the Cats. The time was also a new school record, the tenth overall by the Wildcats at this years championships.

In 10-Meter platform diving sophomore Arno Bergstrom missed out on qualifying for the evening finals session, but finished 21st overall, with a score of 386.70.

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