April 3, 2002
TUCSON, Ariz. - The University of Arizona men's and women's swimming and diving teams each closed out the 2002 season in the top-10. Both teams captured national titles and set new Arizona school records in the water. The men finished out the year in seventh place at the NCAA Championships with 242 points. The Wildcat women placed fifth, scoring 291 total points.
On the men's side of the event senior All-American Roland Schoeman won his first NCAA title. The title was captured in the 50y free in which Schoeman touched the wall at 19.08 defeating his opponent by two one-hundredths of a second. As the lead-off leg of the 200y free relay squad Schoeman set a NCAA, NCAA Meet and Arizona school Record clocking a 19.06. The NCAA and NCAA Meet records were later broken by California's Anthony Ervin (19.05).
Along with the 50y free five other Arizona school records were broken by the Wildcat men. Schoeman set new school records in the 100y fly and as a member of the third place 200y free relay team and the fourth place 400y medley relay team. In the 100y fly Schoeman placed third for the second consecutive year and clocked a 46.50. The 200y free relay team set the new record at 1:16.99 and was compiled of Schoeman along with sophomore All-Americans Eric la Fleur, Tyler Johnson and Byron Jeffers. The fourth place 400y medley relay team set the new school record with the time of 3:11.60. Partaking in the relay were senior All-American Kristopher Souther, sophomore All-American Greg Owen, junior All-American Jeff Dash and Schoeman. The last two events to have record breaking times were the 200y back and the 200y fly. Souther broke his own school record in the 200y back when he placed ninth with the time of 1:42.70. Sophomore All-American Juan Veloz also broke his own school record as he too placed ninth in the 200y fly with the time of 1:43.93.
For the first time in school history the Cats had three male divers competing at the NCAA Championships. Senior All-Americans Omar Ojeda and Ruben Vaca each made their second appearance at the meet, while sophomore All-American Josh Anderson made the meet for the first time. Ojeda placed sixth on the one-meter springboard, scoring 342.20 points. Anderson placed ninth on the same board with 312.10 points. On the three-meter Ojeda again placed sixth, this time with 614.75 points. All three divers scored points on the 10-meter platform. Vaca placed 11th (486) Ojeda 14th (456.10) and Anderson 15th (454.80).
Arizona men's swimming and diving has placed in the top-seven at NCAA Championships for the past five years in a row and in the top-19 since 1977. The Wildcats have had an individual champion eight out the past 10 seasons.
The Arizona women's swimming and diving team brought home two National titles. Senior All-American Sarah Tolar successfully defended her title in the 200y free. Tolar won the race with the time of 1:44.66, breaking her own school record set in 1999. Also being crowned champions were members of the Cats' 800y free relay squad, freshman All-American Emily Mason, senior All-American Jenny Vanker, freshman All-American Jessica Hayes and Tolar. The relay team broke the Arizona school record when they touched the wall at 7:05.10.
Mason placed ninth in the 400y IM winning the consolation final with an Arizona school record time of 4:11.77.
The Arizona women had one diver compete, sophomore All-American Claire Febvay. Febvay placed 15th on the one-meter springboard, scoring 255 total points. Febvay also placed 15th on the 10-meter platform with a point total of 363.35.
Arizona women's swimming and diving has placed in the top-five at the NCAA Championships every year since 1997and in the top 15 since 1988. In ten of the last 12 seasons the Cats have had an individual national champion.