Oct. 30, 2002
The Event: The ninth ranked Arizona women and tenth ranked Arizona men's swimming and diving teams open the 2002-03 season in a quad meet at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center November 1-2. The Wildcat men compete against Wisconsin, Auburn and the Mexican National Team. The women's squad will face off against Wisconsin and the Mexican National Team. Arizona State will compete in the meet, but not against the Cats. Arizona State will face Arizona in a dual meet on February 15th.
The Opponents: Arizona State finished the 2001-02 season with a 6-3 record (3-2 in Pac-10). They placed fifth at the Pac-10 Championships and 14th at the NCAA's in Austin, Texas. ASU returns five All-Americans and 18 letterwinners. The Auburn Tigers 2001-02 Men's team had a very successful season under coach David Marsh. They were victorious at the SEC Championships and swam to a third place finish at the NCAA Championships. Auburn returns 15 All-Americans and 19 letterwinners. Wisconsin has already begun competition in the 2002-03 season. Last week, they defeated the University of Iowa 211-140. Both the men's and women's team have started the season at 3-0. Last season, the women's squad finished with an 8-2 record and a 14th place finish at the NCAA's. The men compiled a 5-4 record, with an 18th place finish at the NCAA Championships.
Women's Returnees: Senior All-American Beth Botsford returns from her third place finish in the 100y backstroke and a fifth place finish in the 200y backstroke at last year's NCAA's. She will anchor the Wildcats in the 100y and 200y breaststroke and various butterfly events. Other returners to watch will be seniors Jennifer Hess, Lindsey Highstrom and April Beltran. This trio of seniors will add depth and much welcomed experience to the pool for the Cats. Perhaps the keys to the success of this year's squad will be the continued improvement of the Wildcat sophomores. All-American Emily Mason was a member of the NCAA Champion 800y free style relay. Mason was also honored as the 2002 Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year. Artemis Daphnis, a participant in the 2002 Olympic games in Sydney, excelled in the distance free events for the Cats last season and will be counted on to do the same in 2002-03. All-American Jessica Hayes finished eighth in the 200y backstroke at the 2002 NCAA's and is eager to return this year.
Women's Newcomers: This year's squad will feature nine newcomers, including eight freshman. Yet, since this squad is a young one, each freshman is expected to have an immediate impact. Coach Busch has put even more emphasis this year on the development of his younger swimmers. Included in this promising group are Marshi Smith, a six time Virginia state champion, and 2002 National Public High School champion Erin Sieper. Men's Returnees: One of the most important returnees for this year's team will be senior All-American Jeff Dash. Dash will be the leader of the 200 fly and IM events and also will contribute in the 500 free. Junior All-American Eric la Fleur had a breakout season in 2001-02 and he is certain to lead the Cats in the 50y and 100y free. Junior Juan Veloz, who topped his own school record in the 200y butterfly last season will be a force in both the 100y and 200y butterfly events. All-American sophomore Max Leassner will be a major factor in the freestyle events this season. Leassner was one of the four fastest swimmers on last year's squad in three events: the 50y, 100y and 200y freestyle. Junior All-American Byron Jeffers figures to contribute in a multitude of events for the Cats this season. Jeffers will swim in the backstroke and individual medley events. Honorable mention All-American sophomore Josh Anderson will lead the diving squad along with senior captain, Scott Koenig. Anderson placed ninth in the one meter at the NCAA Championships by scoring 312.10 points.
Men's Newcomers: Freshman Dave Rollins won two events in last week's intrasquad pentathlon and he figures to do the same once the season officially starts. Rollins will be expected to contend in various events, including the individual medley and backstroke events. Zach Zucker will make an impact in the breaststroke events. Finally, Ryan Karlson and Ed Switaj will add valuable depth to the butterfly squad. On the diving side, Adding well needed Division 1 experience will be University of Kentucky transfer, John Collier. Collier competed in the three meter at the 2002 SEC Championships.
Arizona Media Information: For information regarding the men's and women's swimming and diving squads contact Elliot Magruder in the Arizona Media Relations Office (520) 621-4163. The Arizona Media Relations Office will release a story upon the completion of each competition and will e-mail it to the local Tucson media. Those interested in obtaining complete results and the story themselves may do so at www.arizonaathletics.com.
Rankings: The women enter the meet ranked ninth and the men enter ranked tenth in the first edition of the College Swim Coaches Association of America poll. Defending NCAA Champion Texas tops the men's poll , while defending NCAA champion Auburn reigns supreme in the women's.
Cats in Cyberspace: For the latest news, notes and results on not only the swimming and diving squads, but also the other 17 intercollegiate sports that the UA has to offer, log on to the official athletic website of the University of Arizona... www.arizonaathletics.com.