West Lafayette, Ind. ?- The No. 6 Arizona women’s swimming and diving team completed the first day of competition at the NCAA Championships this evening in third place with 120 points and senior Emily Mason defended her NCAA title in the 500-yard freestyle winning with a time of 4:37.11, which is the fifth fastest time in the world as well as a personal best time for Mason.
“I wanted to defend my title from last year, this is my senior year and it was important to me to have fun with no pressure, that’s why I think I won,” said Mason. “I felt on top of my game because I have really worked hard on this race this year. I felt that if people wanted to beat me, they would have to work really hard to do so. I felt awesome.”
The 200-yard free relay team of junior Jenna Gresdal, junior Marshi Smith, freshman Courtney Cashion and freshman Lacey Nymeyer swam a close race with Georgia to finish second with a time of 1:28.50. Sophomore Whitney Myers also made a splash in the 200-yard individual medley by finishing second, posting a personal best time of 1:56.43.
In the 50-yard freestyle, Gresdal placed fourth in the championship finals with a personal best time of 22.38. Nymeyer and Smith qualified for the consolation finals with Nymeyer finishing second in the heat and 10th overall in a time of 22.73 and Smith finished 16th (23.05).
The 400-yard medley relay closed out this evening’s competition as Smith, Sieper, Myers and Nymeyer finished sixth with a time of 3:35.79.
“The girls are doing a great job, we are in a dog fight out here and we just have to keep on working,” said head swimming coach Frank Busch.” “Emily (Mason) was a girl that wanted to win, she put it all out there, that’s for sure.” Myers was second to an Olympic medalist and she did a good job. Everyone was amazing tonight.”
The Wildcats will resume competition tomorrow at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center. Preliminary action will begin at 11 a.m. (EST) and finals begin at 7 p.m.