The day began well for the Wildcats in the morning prelims as the 200m free relay squad of senior Denali Knapp, sophomore Jenny Vanker, sophomore Emily Mastin and sophomore Sarah Tolar established a new short-course American and U.S. Open record, clocking a time of 1:40.21. The time bettered Team USA's 1988 time of 1:42.67 for the American mark, topped club team Americus Blue's 1992 time of 1:42.73 for the fastest time ever recorded on United States soil and enabled the Cats to be the top qualifier entering the evening finals session.
In the evening finals of the 200m free relay the Wildcats fell short of the title, finishing third in a time of 1:40.61. California, who finished first, recorded a faster time than the Cats, but due to the fact that not all of the Golden Bears' relay members were American born, Arizona's morning swim will still hold the distinction of being the American record.
Event two, the 400m freestyle, saw two Wildcats advance to the finals - Tolar and senior Trina Jackson. Tolar, fresh off anchoring the 200m free relay, turned in a time of 4:13.58 to notch an eighth-place finish, while Jackson finished seventh (4:10.79).
Although no Cats advanced to the finals of the 200m individual medley, the consolation finals saw three UA swimmers score valuable points. Freshman Amanda Beard was 10th (2:13.03), while Mastin finished 14th (2:14.17) and sophomore Erin Vogt placed 15th overall (2:14.80),
Event four, the 50m free, also saw no Wildcats in the finals but two swimmers in the consolation final. Vanker was the Cats' top finisher, as she won the consolation final (10th place overall; 25.34), while Knapp placed 15th (25.70).
Next, the swimmers took a break while the women's 1-Meter Springboard diving competition took place. Junior All-America Lindsay Berryman turned in an impressive performance by finishing ninth (405.70 points), while sophomore Adrian David finished 34th (329.55).
The final event of the opening day saw the 400m medley relay squad of freshman Beth Botsford, Beard, Vogt and Tolar place second, earning 39 points for the team and solidified their spot in second place after day one. Arizona's time of 3:58.47 trailed only that of Georgia, who turned in a world record time of 3:57.46.
Day two of the NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships begin tomorrow with the prelims set to begin at 11:00 a.m. and the finals slated for 7:00 p.m. (EST).
* NOTE * All of the complete race results for both the preliminary and finals sessions from all three days can be found at the NCAA website: www.ncaachampionships.com