Athens, Ga. ?- The Arizona women’s swimming and diving team completed competition at the 2006 NCAA Championships tonight in third place for the third year in a row with 415 points while posting two individual titles by junior Whitney Myers and three relay titles, which is the most ever accumulated at the meet in school history.
Sophomore Courtney Cashion, sophomore Lacey Nymeyer, Myers and senior Jenna Gresdal won the 400 free relay, which was the race that decided the NCAA Championship title between Georgia and Auburn. Coming into the race, the two top-teams were separated by only five points, the crown riding on the outcome of the race. As the No. 3 seed, the Wildcats crushed the U.S. Open, NCAA, pool and school records with a time of 3:12.77, giving Auburn their fourth women’s national team title.
“This was our goal tonight,” said Gresdal, “to go out and take this race. We knew it was ours to take if we just stepped up. It’s a really cool feeling, an incredible way to end the year.”
“This is so unreal, too exciting to put into words,” said Nymeyer. “(During the race) I saw how hard the other three girls were swimming and I was not about to let them down... no way. We all swam our hearts out.”
“We said before the race that we were going to leave it in the pool,” Cashion said. “We knew if we did that we’d win. It’s such an incredible feeling and I’m so proud of my team.”
“My thoughts coming into this race were for us to do what we though we could do, and that’s breaking the record,” head swimming coach Frank Busch said. “This was a special meet because these are a special group of girls. The seniors are very special to this team and it is going to be hard to let this group of girls go. I am so proud of this team, and this was a great end to a great season.”
Seven different Wildcats broke a total of 17 records over the course of the three-day meet including eight school, five pool, two U.S Open and two NCAA.
Nymeyer had a school record-breaking performance earlier in the evening in the 100 freestyle finishing second with a time of 48.43.
“I’m very pleased to get second at NCAAs; it’s awesome,” Nymeyer said. “Overall I’m extremely pleased with the way the meet has gone for me personally, I’m getting my best times in everything and you really can’t ask for any more than that.”
Cashion finished fifth in the championship finals of the race with a time of 48.57. In the consolation finals of the 100 freestyle, Gresdal finished first in her heat and ninth overall with a personal best time of 48.64.
Senior Erin Sieper finished seventh in the consolation finals of the 200 breaststroke and 15th overall with a time of 2:14.92.
Myers finished 3rd in the 200 butterfly with a time of 1:56.26 behind senior Kimberly Vandenberg of Cal and senior Mary Descenza from Georgia who won the event with a time of 1:53.78, becoming the first female swimmer to ever win an NCAA event four years in a row.
The Arizona men’s swimming and diving team will bring nine swimmers and one diver to Atlanta, Ga. next week to compete at the Men’s Swimming and Diving NCAA Championships.
Records Broken at the Meet: 50 free Nymeyer 22.10 (school) 100 free Nymeyer 48.43 (school) 200 IM Myers 1:54.88 (pool and school) 400 IM Myers 4:06.32 (pool and school) 1-meter diving(six dives) Manning 293 points (school) 200 free relay Cashion, Turner, Gresdal, Nymeyer 1:27.98 (U.S. Open, NCAA, pool and school) 400 medley relay Gresdal, Sieper, Myers, Nymeyer 3:31.70 (pool and school) 400 free relay Cashion, Gresdal, Myers, Nymeyer 3:12.77 (NCAA, U.S. Open, pool, school)
Records Broken at the Meet:
50 free Nymeyer 22.10 (school)
100 free Nymeyer 48.43 (school)
200 IM Myers 1:54.88 (pool and school)
400 IM Myers 4:06.32 (pool and school)
1-meter diving(six dives) Manning 293 points (school)
200 free relay Cashion, Turner, Gresdal, Nymeyer 1:27.98 (U.S. Open, NCAA, pool and school)
400 medley relay Gresdal, Sieper, Myers, Nymeyer 3:31.70 (pool and school)
400 free relay Cashion, Gresdal, Myers, Nymeyer 3:12.77 (NCAA, U.S. Open, pool, school)
Final Team Standings
1. Auburn 518.5
2. Georgia 515.5
3. Arizona 415
4. Cal 291
5. Sanford 209
6. USC 151
7. SMU 161.5
8. Texas 135
9. Wisconsin 146
10. Florida 104