Jan. 5, 2009
Date: Thursday, Jan. 8, 2009
Time: 2 p.m. MST
Location: Hillenbrand Aquatic Center, Tucson, Ariz.
The Wildcats continue its spring schedule Thursday, Jan. 8, when it hosts the West Virginia Mountaineers at 2 p.m. MST at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center and Kasser Family Dive Pool.
Last Time Out
In its last dual meet, Arizona hosted a plethora of teams including Air Force, Northern Arizona, Washington, Oregon State and Colorado School of the Mines. The men swam against the Huskies, Falcons and Orediggers and were victorious against each respective school. The women faced off against the Lumberjacks, Huskies and Beavers and won each meet as well. With six different sets of swim and dive teams on deck, it made for rather close confines throughout the afternoon.
Hosting the Mountaineers
Over the last week, Arizona has hosted West Virginia at its aquatic facilities and shared training techniques with head coach Vic Riggs and his staff. The Mountaineers left Morgantown, W. Va., Dec. 30 and will stay in Tucson through its dual meet with the Wildcats on Dec. 8.
Freshman sensation Alyssa Anderson has been impressive to say the least thus far in her collegiate career. Anderson has won at least one event in each of Arizona’s five contests this season. And she isn't picky about what race she chooses to win either, as she has won the 200 free, 500 free, 1000 free and 200 fly over the course of the year. Anderson also holds the fourth fastest time in the country in the 1000 free at 9:44.65 set at the Texas Invite.
The men’s team received a boost this weekend when Joel Greenshields and Nicolas Nilo were cleared to compete in their dual meet last Friday. Both Greenshields and Nilo sat out the fall semester after a competing in the Beijing Olympics this past summer for Canada and Brazil respectively. Both swimmers showed no signs of rust with Nilo winning the 100 and 200 freestyle events vs. Washington, Air Force and Colorado School of the Mines while Greenshields placed third in the 200 free and fourth in the 100 free.
Record Breaking Agy
Ana Agy has put a stranglehold on the Arizona women’s backstroke competition’s this season. The Park City, Utah native set new school records in the 100 and 200 backstroke during the Texas Invite, in the process breaking Beth Botsford’s time that stood for eight years. Agy also showed she is not limited to just the backstroke, turning in the third fastest time in the 100 fly in the country at 51.74.
Long Distance Jean
Junior Jean Basson has established himself as the Arizona men’s team top long distance swimmer. During the Texas Invite, Basson won the 500 freestyle with an “A” cut time of 4:13.10 (currently second fastest in the country this year) and finished runner-up in the 1650 freestyle. Basson is also the men’s top performer in the 200 free, 500 free, 1000 free and 1650 free.
Depth, Depth and More Depth
It speaks to the quality of the Arizona swimming program to be able to have the type of depth the women’s team displays this season. The women currently have at least one swimmer with a top five time in the country in 17 of the 18 events they have competed in this season. Moreover, Arizona currently holds the top times in the country in seven events including three of the relays.
23 Automatic Berths
During the Texas Invitational, Arizona earned 23 NCAA Automatic Qualifying berths. Those earning “A” cut times include: Jean Basson, Bryan O’Connor, Jack Brown, men’s 200y free relay, Lara Jackson, Justine Schluntz, Ana Agy, Andrea Boritzke, Jenny Forster, Annie Chandler, Julie Stupp, and four of the five relay teams for the women. For the complete list, reference the 2008-09 Top Performers list.
Individual Medley Ace
Jenny Forster is a formidable foe in the Individual Medley. The junior currently holds Arizona’s top times this season in both the 200 and 400 IM with times of 1:56.68 and 4:07.20. Her mark in the 400 IM, set at the Texas Invite, garnered an NCAA Automatic Qualifying berth.
A Titan in the Breaststroke
Marcus Titus currently leads the men’s team in the breaststroke competition. Titus, who is the UA all-time record holder in the 100 breast, holds a time of 52.97 this season in the 100. In the 200 breast, Titus leads the team with a mark of 1:55.92.
The men’s team has 14 true freshmen on the roster for the 2008-09 and even though they are inexperienced, the youngsters are certainly living up to the high expectations so far. Freshman AJ Tipton is UA’s top performer in both the 100 and 200 fly with times of 46.74 and 1:42.48, respectively. Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or looks to challenge in the freestyle competitions and Austen Thompson is holding his own in the individual medley events.
Top Sports Figure of 2008
Head Coach Frank Busch was recognized last week as the Arizona Daily Star’s top sports figure of 2008. Last season Busch won his first two NCAA titles in the span of a week, served as an assistant coach on the U.S. Olympic swimming team and was inducted into the American Swim Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Auburn-Transfer Julie Stupp has made a seamless transition to UA and is proving to be a dynamic competitor. Stupp is among the women’s top performers in the 100 and 200 breast, 200 fly, 200 IM and 400 IM.
Still Work To Do
Although Arizona has 23 NCAA “A” cut times, the men only account for six of the 23 berths. Of the six berths for the men, Jean Basson and Bryan O’Connor each have two for Arizona, Jack Brown has one “A” cut time in the 400 IM and the men’s 200 free relay team has secured a berth. Look for the spring additions of Olympians Nicolas Nilo and Joel Greenshields to boost the team overall.
Through the fall season and first event of the spring, Ben Grado, Andres Guerra and Ainsley Oliver look to be leading the diving team. Grado won the Wildcat Invitational one meter competition, the first event held at the new Kasser Family Diving Well, with an overall score of 392.65 to top divers from 14 various universities. Guerra, a freshman from Sugarland, Texas, won last week’s one meter event against the likes of Washington, Air Force and Colorado School of the Mines. Oliver has led the women’s team with several zone standard clearing scores.
They Call Her LJ
Lara Jackson put on quite a performance during the first day of the Texas Invitational. The El Paso, Texas native began the day by swimming the first leg of the women’s 200 free relay in which Arizona placed first and turned in an “A” cut time of 1:27.72. Next Jackson took to the 100 fly, setting a new school record, establishing an “A” cut time and finishing first. But LJ would save her best for last in the women’s 50 free, setting a new American and NCAA record and blowing away the competition with a time of 21.33. Not a bad day.
Bryan O’Connor has proven to be the men’s top swimmer in the backstroke competition this season. The Catalina Foothills High product is the Wildcats top performer in the 100 and 200 back and the 200 individual medley. O’Connor also has posted two NCAA Automatic Qualifying times with a finish of 1:41.48 in the 200 back and 1:43.96 in the 200 IM.
Annie Chandler has once again established herself as one of the top swimmers in the breaststroke in the country. The U.S. National Team member has secured two NCAA “A” cut times in the 100 and 200 breaststroke, respectively, and just missed out on breaking Amanda Beard’s school record of 59.73 in the 100 breast by five hundredth’s of a second
The women’s relay teams were simply automatic during the Texas Invitational, that is in terms of NCAA Qualifying Standards. The women competed in four of the five relays, won three of the events including the 200 free relay, 200 medley relay and 400 medley relay and set NCAA Automatic Qualifying times in all four.
Cats in the Rankings: The Arizona men are currently ranked at No. 3 with 278 points, behind Texas and Stanford. The Arizona women are slotted at No. 7 with 249 points. Although the women won the prestigious Texas Invite, they dropped four spots in the latest poll.
Head Coach Frank Busch
Entering his 20th year as head coach, Frank Busch has transformed the University of Arizona swimming and diving into one of the nation’s most powerful programs.
The 2007-08 season was a breakthrough for Busch and his charges, as both the men’s and women’s swim teams captured NCAA championship, the first two in school history. Over the course of seven days the Wildcats used a team-first mantra to rise to the top of the collegiate swimming world in dominating fashion – the men prevailed by 94 points and the women triumphed by 136. The squads combined to win two individual national championships, eight relay national championships and earn a total of 57 All-America accolades.
For his efforts, Busch earned both the men’s and women’s NCAA Coach-of-the-Year accolades, an honor he has earned six times in his career. Busch’s 2008 campaign was capped by a successful Olympic experience. He was named an assistant coach for the United States swim team, where a total of 15 of his current or former swimmers participated and represented seven different nations at the Beijing Games.
Hillenbrand Aquatic Center
The new state-of-the-art diving structure and pool features two 1-meter and three 3-meter Maxiflex Model “B” springboards on concrete short stands. The structure has platform heights of 3, 5, 7.5, and 10 meters, each with Rough-Tex surfacing. The pool has built-in spray surface agitation and an air-sparging system under all platforms and two of the 3-meter springboards.
New equipment such as the digital video replay systems for both the springboards and platforms are sure to be a welcomed addition to both divers and fans alike. Another amenity fans are sure to enjoy is the expandable seating made to accommodate over 800 fans, as well as the Colorado Timing Systems full-color, high-resolution scoreboard. In between dives, the competitors will have access to the new walk-in hot tub and on-deck hot showers so they can prepare for their next event.
The new diving pool is 25 meters across by 33 meters long, 17 feet deep, and holds 1.2 million gallons of water. It contains a fully recessed gutter system that is 12 inches from water line up to deck level. The pool was built to meet all NCAA and Olympic specifications for Swimming, Diving and Water Polo. This world class facility will surely be a key asset for the Wildcats in their quest for another NCAA championship.
Arizona will next be in action Jan. 23, when it hosts conference rival California at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center beginning at 1 p.m. MST.