Jan. 19, 2011
From the Deck: Arizona Swimming and Diving gets set this weekend to host a pair of Bay Area powers as Stanford and California travel down to Tucson for their annual dual meet match up. The UA women’s team recently topped Northern Arizona and Oregon State while the Arizona men last competed in the Texas Invitational in December.
Schedule: The Cats will first host the Stanford Cardinal on Friday, Jan. 21 at 2 p.m. before facing the Golden Bears on Saturday at 1 p.m.
In the Rankings: In the latest CSCAA / TYR collegiate swimming rankings released last week, the Arizona men are ranked No. 2 overall in the country while the women are slotted in at No. 7. On the women’s side, the Stanford team is ranked No. 1 while California is No. 4 in the nation. For the men’s team’s, the Cardinal is ranked No. 3 followed by the Golden Bears at No. 4.
Men’s Rankings Women’s Rankings
1. Texas 1. Stanford
2. Arizona 2. Georgia
3. Stanford 3. Texas
4. California T4. California
Scouting the Opponents: The Stanford women, despite losing the Olympic talents of Julia Smit and Elaine Breeden, remain amongst the top teams led by sprinters Kate Dwelley and Elizabeth Webb and distance ace Kelsey Ditto. Cal’s women’s team, led by Olympic team coach Teri McKeever, are ranked fourth overall and are guided by Tucsonan Caitlin Leverenz, Hannah Wilison and Liv Jensen.
For the men’s two opponents, despite the rankings, California charts in as the probable favorite to win the national championship in 2011. With a lineup full of returnees including Gold Medal winner Nathan Adrian, head coach David Durden’s bunch has the swim world’s attention. The Stanford men, currently ranked third, has its usual stable of distance freestyle swimmers and are buoyed by the recent return of butterfly ace Austin Staab.
Recent Results Vs. Stanford / Cal: Last season facing the Cardinal and Golden Bears in the Bay Area, Arizona split its matchup with each as the men topped both Stanford and Cal in consecutive days while the women were downed in each. Last season, the UA men finished the season undefeated in dual meets. In their last meeting with the Bay Area rivals in Tucson in 2009, both UA teams downed Cal but were beaten one day later by the Stanford men and women.
Swimmers of the Month: Two Arizona swimmers have been lauded “Pac-10 Conference Swimmer of the Month” thus far. Freshman Margo Geer and redshirt junior Cory Chitwood have each nabbed the monthly honor after standout performances. Geer, a freshman freestyle sprinter, won the award in November behind some early season swift times against Wisconsin, USC and UCLA. Chitwood, a men’s team captain, took home the honor in December by winning three events at the Texas Invitational in Austin.
Dual Meets Thus Far: Entering the weekend back-to-back, the Arizona women have a record of 6-1 in dual meets while the men are 2-1 this season. After the Stanford/Cal series, the Wildcats take on Texas & SMU in Austin and host Arizona State before the Pac-10 Championships begin.
From the Dive Well: Junior Ainsley Oliver and freshman Samantha Pickens have both been impressive this season from all three different stages. Most recently, Pickens claimed first place in dual matchups on 1-meter and 3-meter heights against Northern Arizona while Oliver was third in each competition. Both will have a solid chance at making the NCAA Championships through Zone qualifying competitions.
Wildcat Freshmen Impressing: UA newcomers on both men’s and women’s teams have been rather impressive in their first respective collegiate seasons. For the women, along with Margo Geer, Kait Flederbach, Sarah Denninghoff, Aubrey Peacock and Grace Finnegan all have proved fast beyond their years. Men’s team first year reps Mitchell Friedemann and Mike Sheppard also have been producing quality times and look to have a shot at making the NCAA lineup.
Automatic Cut Times: The following is a list of NCAA automatic cut times achieved thus far through the season:
Adam Small – 50 free, 19.32
Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or – 200 free, 1:33.50
Cory Chitwood – 200 back, 1:41.07
A.J. Tipton – 200 fly, 1:42.67
Cory Chitwood – 200 I.M., 1:43.47
Men’s 200 Free Relay
Men’s 400 Free Relay
Men’s 200 Medley Relay
Men’s 400 Medley Relay
Alyssa Anderson – 500 free, 4:37.94
Ellyn Baumgardner – 100 breast, 59.58
Alyssa Anderson – 200 fly, 1:54.91
Women’s 400 Free Relay
Women’s 200 Medley Relay
Quite the Streak: Under the guidance of head coach Frank Busch, the Arizona swimming and diving has obviously thrived over the past 22 years. One stat of note shows just how dominant that stretch has been. Since 1991, the UA program has had at least one NCAA individual national champion in each of the past 20 years. Last season, the men’s and women’s teams accounted for five championships including winning the 200 and 400 medley relays on the women’s side, Annie Chandler’s 100 breast win, Clark Burckle’s 200 breast win and Cory Chitwood’s 200 back win. Moreover, stretching back over the previous five seasons, UA has won an impressive 41 individual national championships.
Next up: Next week, the team travels to Austin, Texas for the second time this season. Over Jan. 28-29, the team will compete in a dual meet against SMU and Texas. The trip to Austin will be the women’s team’s second of three jaunts to the Texas state capitol as this year’s NCAA Championships will be at the Jamail Swim Center as well.