March 20, 2012
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -
Arizona’s No. 1 Men’s Swimming and Diving team will embark on the 2012 Men’s Swimming NCAA Championships, beginning Thursday, March 22 and continuing through Saturday, March 24.
The event will feature the preliminary rounds at 11 a.m. followed by finals at 7 p.m. each day.
The Wildcats have had one of the most successful dual seasons in Arizona history, going undefeated against the nation’s best teams in No. 2 Texas, No. 3 Stanford, No. 5 USC, No. 6 California and No. 14 Iowa.
Most recently, Arizona finished third at the Pac-12 Championships in Los Angeles, behind Stanford and California.
Junior Carl Mickelson (Chandler, Ariz.) is coming off Pac-12 Championships in both the 100 breast and 200 breast, but there are many other Wildcat contributors, as the breaststroke is arguably Arizona’s strongest event. The Wildcats have four of the top-10 fastest times in the country in the 200 breast and three of the top-10 fastest times in the country in the 100 breast.
Freshman Kevin Cordes (Naperville, Ill.) broke a pool record in the 100 breast at the Texas Invite in December with his time of 51.76, which still stands as the fastest time in the country this season. Mickelson has the third-fastest time, while senior Kelley Wyman (Ft. Pierce, Fla.) has the ninth-fastest.
Mickelson has the fastest time in the country in the 200 breast at 1:53.12, but senior Austen Thompson (Chandler, Ariz.) is not far behind with the second-fastest, Cordes has the third-fastest and senior Kevin Munsch (Kent, Wash.) has the 10th-fastest.
Senior Cory Chitwood (Union, Ky.) will defend his two-year title in the 200 backstroke and currently has the fastest time in the country in the event with a time of 1:38.85. Sophomore Michael Sheppard also has the fifth-fastest time in the event.
In the 100 back, sophomore Mitchell Friedemann (Allenton, Wis.) has the second-fastest time in the country at 45.86, just a 10th of a second off of the fastest time. Chitwood has the third-fastest time.
The IM is another strong pair of races for Arizona as senior leadership reigns over the country’s top times. Chitwood has the fastest time in the 200 IM at 1:41.92 and Thompson has the fastest time in the 400 IM at 3:39.37.
Thompson also has the sixth-fastest time in the 200 IM, while junior Sam Rowan (Eugene, Ore.) has the ninth-fastest time in the 400 IM.
Sophomore Matt Barber (Kingwood, Texas) currently has the fifth-fastest time in the country in the 500 free, while senior Adam Small (Tempe, Ariz.) has the seventh-fastest time and Wyman the 11th in the 50 free.
Sophomore Giles Smith (Baltimore, Md.) is the Wildcats’ fly specialist, as he has the seventh-fastest time in the country in the 100 fly at 46.13.
Arizona’s relays are another strong point, as the 400 medley relay currently has the fastest time in the country at 3:06.98, the 200 medley relay has the second-fastest time at 1:24.34 and the 200 free relay has the sixth-fastest time at 1:17.59.
Senior Ben Grado (Conifer, Colo.) accomplished a feat that hasn’t been done since current diving coach Omar Ojeda in 2002—he won all three boards at the Pac-12 Championships. He then went on to qualify for the NCAA Championships at Zones in Colorado Springs, Colo.
In addition, senior Andres Guerra (Sugarland, Texas) earned the last spot at Zones to qualify for NCAAs and will give the Wildcats an extra boost.
ESPN3 will stream live the championship finals sessions Friday and Saturday. Coverage of the finals sessions Friday and Saturday will also be broadcast on ESPNU at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time, Sunday, April 1. In addition, all three preliminary sessions as well as the finals session on Thursday will be streamed live on www.goseattleu.com.
For complete results and continued coverage of Arizona Men’s Swimming, visit ArizonaWildcats.com or follow @ArizonaSwimming on Twitter.