This Week in the Pool ?- The No. 4 Arizona men’s and No. 3 women’s swimming and diving teams are set to open their 2004-05 season against the Wisconsin Badgers at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center on Friday, Oct. 29 at 2 p.m. (PST).
A Look at the Opponents - The 10th-ranked Wisconsin women’s team finished the 2003-04 season 11-1 overall and 6-0 in the Big Ten. The women placed fourth at the 2004 Big Ten Conference Championships and 10th at the NCAA Championships. The No. 16 men’s team concluded the 2003-04 season 8-2 overall and 4-1 in the Big-Ten. Both teams are currently undefeated beginning the 2004-05 season as each squad opened the year with victories over the Iowa Hawkeyes to put them at the 1-0 in the Big Ten.
What Happened Last Year? ?- The 2003 dual-meet between the Wildcats and the Badgers resulted in a 175-121 upset over the No. 11 Wisconsin men’s team for the No.16 Arizona men. The sixth-ranked Arizona women’s team also won 172.5-128.5 against the No. 10 Badgers.
2003-04 Season Review- The Arizona swimming and diving teams certainly made a splash throughout the 2003-04 season. The Wildcats ended their seasons tallying one individual NCAA Champion, 22 All-Americans, 21 new school records and both teams finished in the top five at the 2004 NCAA Championships.
The women’s team concluded its 2003-04 dual-meet season with a 7-2 overall record and a 3-2 mark in the Pac-10 Conference.
The women had their best season in four years finishing third at the NCAA Championships scoring 369 points to upset Stanford, California, and Florida. The Cats brought nine swimmers and two divers to the competition in College Station, Texas, to compete in 26 individual events, five relays and three diving events.
The men’s team concluded its 2003-04 dual-meet season with an overall record of 5-3 and a 2-2 mark in the Pac-10 Conference.
The men had an equally impressive finish at the NCAA Championships, entering the competition ranked ninth and leaving with a fourth-place finish with 322 points. The Wildcats brought 10 swimmers and one diver to the competition in Long Island, NY, to compete in 28 individual events, five relays and three diving events.
A Look at the 2004-05 Men’s Squad - With the return of seven All-Americans, 12 letterwinners and 12 newcomers, the Arizona men’s team looks for even greater accomplishments during the 2004-05 season. Two seniors, All-Americans Byron Jeffers and Nate Stevens, will lead the Wildcats to success this season with the help from four juniors, all of whom earned All-American honors in 2003-04 in multiple events, and they serve as four of the most accomplished swimmers on the team. 2004 Olympians Lyndon Ferns and Simon Burnett are among the talented juniors returning along with Tyler DeBerry and Dave Rollins. Sophomore All-American Adam Ritter is expected to add strength to the Wildcats in the freestyle events and there are 12 newcomers who join the men’s team this season.
On the diving team, the Wildcats return two letterwinners, junior John Collier and sophomore J.J. Aderholt, and welcome two newcomers to the squad. Head diving coach Michele Mitchell-Rocha hopes to have a successful season and send as many divers to the NCAA Championships as possible. “I certainly think it is in our capabilities to get one or two divers to the NCAA Championships,” said Mitchell-Rocha “Then the goal will be, once they get there, to finish in the top 16.”
A Look at the 2004-05 Women’s Squad - With the return of a defending national champion, 10 All-Americans and 20 letterwinners, the Arizona women’s team looks towards the 2004-05 season to make a big splash. The women enter the season ranked No. 3 due to their third place finish at the 2004 NCAA Championships.
“I think the women are excited about the year,” said head swimming coach Frank Busch, “I don’t think that if I said we were going to lower our expectations from last year that that would be acceptable. I want to at least equal our finish of third from last year or more importantly, better our finish. Every single girl that went to NCAAs last year will be expected to do the same this year,” said Busch, “Emily Mason is going to be counted on this season along with Jessica Hayes. We have some really good leadership from the girls and we will take advantage of that.”
All-Americans Marshi Smith, Erin Sieper, Jenna Gresdal and Ryann Hackett are among the six juniors returning to the squad this season. Other returnees to watch for are sophomores Whitney Myers, an All-American in seven events, and Melissa Johnson, an All-American in the 200 free and 800 free relay.
Only three newcomers join the women’s team this year. Freshman Courtney Cashion will add depth to the freestyle sprint events as she was the 2004 California State Champion in the 50 and 100 free along with fellow freshman Lacey Nymeyer, who was the Arizona State Champion in the 50 and 100 free her senior year. Danielle Erickson, a transfer from the University of Nebraska will contribute to the backstroke events.
On the diving side, three All-American divers will help pave the road to success for the wildcats. Returning seniors Claire Febvay, who redshirted last season in preparation for the 2004 Olympic Games, and Daniela Bemme will act as team co-captains with the help of fellow All-American sophomore Mary Yarrison.
Current Wildcat Olympians- Simon Burnett recently participated in the 2004 Olympic Games where he finished seventh in the 200 free and set a new British record (1:47.72) during the semifinals of the 200 free.
Lyndon Ferns is the only athlete attending Arizona with a gold medal from the 2004 Olympic games. Ferns was a part of the South African 400 free relay team that set a new Olympic record (3:13.17) and featured former Arizona swimmers Ryk Neethling and Roland Schoeman. Returning late from South Africa after the Olympics, Ferns will miss the UA’s fall semester, but he will resume competition in January.
Senior diver Claire Febvay also participated in the Olympic Games for France.
Amazing Mason - Senior Emily Mason was crowned the 2004 NCAA Champion in the 400-meter freestyle, setting an NCAA record with a time of 4:01.58. Mason was the only NCAA Champion in the entire UA athletics department for the 2003-04 season. She also finished third in the 400m IM (4:35.38) and fifth in the 200m fly at the NCAA Championships. Mason was named to the 2004 Academic All-District VIII team and an All-Pac-10 Academic honorable mention. Mason is also is a University of Arizona athletics department Academic Champion award winner and she posted team-best times in five different events.
Head Coach Frank Busch ?- Entering his sixteenth year as head coach of the Wildcats, Frank Busch has transformed Arizona swimming and diving into one of the nation’s most powerful programs. With the conclusion of the 2003-04 season, Busch has produced two of the top teams in the nation. Busch was recognized for these accomplishments as he was honored as the 2004 NCAA Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year. He was also named the 2004 Pac-10 Women’s Coach of the Year for the fourth time in his career. Busch was later named an assistant coach on the staff of the women’s US Olympic team at the 28th summer games in Athens, Greece. Busch will continue his commitment to bringing honor to the University of Arizona through the success of its swimming and diving programs.
Head Diving Coach Michele Mitchell-Rocha ?- Head coach Michele Mitchell-Rocha is in her ninth year with the Wildcat diving program. Mitchell-Rocha is a four-time recipient of the men’s Pac-10 Diving Coach of the Year.
Arizona’s Next Action ?- The Arizona men’s and women’s swimming and diving team will travel to Los Angeles, Calif., on Nov. 19 to take on the University of Southern California Trojans at 10 a.m. (PST).