FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -- The Arizona Wildcats saved their best for last Saturday in capturing the Pacific-10 Conference Womens Swimming and Diving Championship at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center.
The defending Pac-10 champions did not win an individual or relay competition through 20 events, then broke through the victory tape in the meets final event, the 400 freestyle relay. The relay win clinched the championship trophy for the Wildcats, who held off a fast charging UCLA Bruin squad that entered the final days competition third.
Their only win pushed Arizonas point total to 1,299.5, nearly 100 more than runner-up UCLA at 1,130.0. USC, after sitting in the runner-up spot for two days, slipped to third with 1,099.5 points, while Stanford was fourth at 1,033.5. Next came California 942.5, Arizona State 784.0, Washington State 432.0, Washington 365.0 and Oregon State 285.
Stanford, which captured the first 13 conference womens titles before Arizona snapped the string last year, won more events than the rest of the teams combined, 13, but did not have the depth to hang with the Wildcats.
Cardinal swimmers won 10 of the 16 individual races and three of five relays. Misty Hyman led the way for Stanford with six gold medals, capturing the 100 and 200 butterfly races and the 100 backstroke. She also was a member of all three Stanford relay teams that won titles. Hyman, the 2000 Olympic gold medal winner in the 200 fly, set meet records in both butterfly races.
While the California Bears finished fifth in the team standings, Natalie Coughlin came up big Saturday, capturing the 200 backstroke in record time. Her one minute, 52.73 second clocking bettered existing U.S. Open, NCAA, Pac-10 and meet records. She also set an American and meet record Thursday in the 100 backstroke when she swam a :52.40 leadoff leg on Californias 400 medley relay team.
Californias Haley Cope was a double winner, first in the 50 freestyle when she set the meet record at :22.32, then Saturday in the 100 freestyle with a :49.27 effort.
Stanfords Tara Kirk also had an excellent meet, capturing her 100 and 200 breaststroke specialties in both meet and conference record times. In the 100 breaststroke, she clocked :59.58, then came back Saturday to win the longer event in 2:08.54.
Jessica Foschi also picked up a pair of gold medals for Stanford, winning the 500 freestyle Thursday, then the 1,650 freestyle Saturday in 16:05.68. Foschi also won the same two events last year.
USCs Kellie Brennan missed out Saturday on her attempt at winning all three diving events. After capturing both the one-and-three-meter competition, she finished fourth Saturday in platform diving. Her victory Thursday was her third straight in the one-meter event.
In mens diving, which annually is held in conjunction with the womens championships, Omar Ojeda pulled off a sweep Saturday by capturing the mens platform diving. He also took home the gold in both the one-meter and three-meter events.