March 1, 2011
On Deck: The No. 6 Arizona men’s swimming team will head to Long Beach, Calif. this week for the men’s Pac-10 swimming championships at the Belmont Olympic Pool. The meet will cover four days, as did the women’s meet in Federal Way, Wash. did last week, with prelims beginning at 11 a.m. PT and finals at 6 p.m. PT Wednesday - Saturday.
A Look at the Psych Sheet: Arizona, heading into the championships season, already has many of its NCAA cut times and will be looking to “swim through” in preparation of the NCAA Championships in Minneapolis March 24-26. The Wildcats hold at least one of the top two times in the conference in all but three events. In the 200 breaststroke, UA’s Carl Mickelson, Austen Thompson and Kevin Munsch hold the top three spots while Cory Chitwood and Mitchell Friedemann are 1-2 in the 100 backstroke just to name a few top times.
Who Will Grab Arizona’s Individual Title? Two years ago it was Jean Basson winning the men’s 500 free and going on to win the NCAA title in the same event. Last year it was freshman Carl Mickelson taking the 200 breaststroke and most likely cinching his NCAA selection. This season, Arizona’s chances of an individual titlist at Pac-10’s range from Cory Chitwood in either the 100 back, 200 back or 200 I.M. to A.J. Tipton in either butterfly race or perhaps a repeat by Mickelson in the 200 breast.
Some Added Company: For these conference championships, the Pac-10 added two affiliate members to create a better populated field. Only five of the 10 conference schools (Arizona, Arizona State, California, Stanford and USC) have men’s swimming so added to the field will be UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. If anything, it should make the field a little more competitive.
Will “The Streak” Hold Up? Stanford University’s men’s swimming team takes a great deal of pride in winning the Pac-10 championships each year. So much so, that some would argue they put a greater precedence on a conference title than a NCAA championship. As it stands, the Stanford men have claimed the Pac-10 title an amazing 29 consecutive years.