Feb. 10, 2003
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What's Happening in the Pool This Week?: The University of Arizona Swimming and Diving squads conclude the dual meet portion of their 2002-03 schedule aganist intra-state rival Arizona State on Feb. 15.
Both the Wildcat men's and women's suffered defeats in their last time out to nationally ranked squads Texas and SMU. The Wildcat women were beaten 213-134 by the Longhorns and 187-165 by the Mustangs. Likewise, Arizona's men fell to Texas, 205-138 and to SMU, 178-173. However, the Wildcats were able to garner eight individual titles during the competition on the weekend of Jan.31-Feb. 1
Saturday's meet is the final meet of the year and that means that it is Senior Day for all the graduating Wildcat swimmers and divers. All seven will be honored for their efforts throughout the years with a ceremony prior to the actual meet All of the festivities commence at 1 pm from the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center on the University of Arizona campus. As always, admission is free.
Last Dip in the Water: vs. Texas/SMU Day 1 Both the sixth-ranked Arizona women and 15th ranked men's swimming and diving squads trail SMU and Texas after Friday's action at the Jamail Swim Center on the University of Texas campus in Austin. The Wildcat men have been so far outscored by fifth-ranked Texas 114-50 and by a narrow margin of 84-82 by SMU. Similarly, Arizona's women are behind the eighth-ranked Longhorns, 95-72 and the No. 5 Mustangs, 93-74. Junior Juan Veloz and senior Beth Botsford won events during Friday's competition, but that was not enough to overcome the overall prowess of the opposing squads.
On the women's side, Botsford continued, as she has for the duration of the season, to dominate her opponents in the 200y back. She swam the event in 1:57.12, besting her nearest competitor by almost three seconds. Botsford's time also fell under the NCAA automatic qualifying standard.
Elsewhere, in Friday's concluding event, Arizona's "A" relay squad placed second in the 200y freestyle relay by only .20 seconds. The quartet of freshmen Lyndon Ferns and Dave Rollins, junior Eric la Fleur and senior Jeff Dash swam the event in a stellar time of 1:21.52, short of the season's top time in that event by only .04 seconds. Also, the Wildcat women placed four swimmers in the top 12 in the 100y free, led by freshman Marshi Smith who clocked in at 52.20, the fifth fastest time all year.
As usual, the Wildcat divers made an impact on the outcome of Friday's competition with their stellar effort. Junior Claire Febvay placed second in the one-meter springboard with a score of 289.40 points. Following right behind her was junior transfer Daniela Bemme who garnered 275.65 points. On the men's side, junior All-American Josh Anderson accrued 357.80 points for his efforts in the three-meter platform, easily his most impressive performance of the year.
Vs. Texas/SMU Day 2 Despite five individual victories in Saturday's competition, both Arizona swimming and diving squads fell to nationally ranked Texas and SMU. Even though they gained considerable ground, the No. 15 Wildcat men were outscored by fifth-ranked Texas 205-138 and were narrowly beaten by unranked SMU, 178-173. The sixth-ranked Wildcat women also lost two the No. 8 Longhorns 213-134 and No. 5 Mustangs, 187-165. All of Saturday's competition took place at the Jamail Swim Center, site of the 2003 NCAA Men's Championship.
Junior Juan Veloz, who has already set a meet record at the Longhorn pool in December, won two more events on Saturday. Veloz upped his total to three event victories for the weekend. On Saturday, he won both the 200y fly and 200y IM event with times of 1:48.61 and 1:53.39, respectively.
Elsewhere for the Wildcat men, sophomore Chad Ainsworth garnered victory in the 1650 free (15:43.69). In addition to besting his nearest competitor by more than five seconds, Ainsworth posted the top time of any Wildcat this season. Ainsworth surpassed teammate Chris Trimble's swim at the Texas Invitational by almost two seconds.
Arizona's All-American junior Jessica Wagner also posted a respectable finish in the 200y breast when she touched the wall in 1:02.80.
Junior Claire Febvay led the way for the surging Wildcat divers when she finished third in the 3-meter springboard (283.30 pts.) Junior transfer Daniela Bemme followed Febvay with a sixth place finish (277.50 pts.) and freshman Stephanie Mannella placed 12th when she accrued 214.40 pts.
Scouting the Sun Devils: The 13th ranked Arizona State men's swimming and diving squad has so far compiled a total record of 5-5 on the season. To date, the Sun Devils are winless in Pac-10 conference action, with a record of 0-3. Last week, ASU's men competed with the Wildcats in Texas against SMU and Texas. The Sun Devil men came away with a victory over unranked SMU and a loss to No. 5 Texas. This year's team returns five All-Americans and welcomes twelve freshman or transfers. Nick Brunelli has swam the third fastest time in the nation in the 200y free this season (1:36.55) while teammate Christian Harcsas garnered the fourth fastest mark in the 200y breast when he touched the wall in 1:43.82. The Sun Devils also possess the No. 3 200y free relay squad, as well (1:20.03). Last year ASU defeated the Wildcats 171.50-128.50 in Tucson.
The Sun Devil women, who are currently ranked No. 14, have a total ledger of 4-7, and they are yet to garner a victory in conference meets as they have now fallen to 0-4. Last time in the water, ASU' fell to both fifth-ranked SMU and the No. 8 Longhorns of Texas. The Lady Devils bring back five All-Americans and 16 Letterwinners. Nine new swimmers have also joined the 2002-03 squad, captained by Josie Jedick. Agnes Kovacs has provided one of ASU's outstanding individual performances this season, with her swimming in the 100 and 200y breast events. Kovacs' time of 59.92 places her second nationally. Kovacs' aforementioned time is one of only two currently standing under one minute in that event. In the 200y, Kovacs clocks in at 2:09.90, good enough for second overall. Finally, Kovacs ranks third in the 200y IM (1:58.13). In last season's donnybrook between the Wildcats and the Sun Devils, Arizona won 14 out of 16 events en route to pounding their intra-state rivals, 199-101.
Coach Busch's Latest Accomplishment: Arizona Head Swimming Coach Frank Busch has been selected to help coach the United States team at the 2003 X Fina World Swimming Championships in Barcelona, Spain. This year's championships will take place from July 13-27. Busch will serve as an assistant coach for the women's squad. Busch, who was honored as the NCAA Coach of the Year in 1993, last coached at the World Championships in 1998. In his career, he has made numerous coaching appearances at the international level, six at the World Championships alone.
Busch is no stranger to other international competition. In fact, Busch helmed the 1997 Pan-Pacific Games squad, and he has also been named the 1998 US Olympic Committee National Coach of the Year, among many other honors.
"It's a very prestigious honor. Outside of the Olympics, the World Championships are the most important event in the sport," said Busch.
Coaches for the World Championships are chosen by vote by the athletes who are slated to participate in the games.
International Competitors: Joining Busch at the World Championships is a multitude of Arizona swimmers. Current Arizona swimmer, junior Juan Veloz, a champion at the 2002 Central American Games, will be swimming for Mexico. Sophomore Emily Mason, who earned valuable international experience at the 2002 Pan-Pacific Games, will represent the United States.
Elsewhere, senior Beth Botsford will participate in the forthcoming Pan-American Games.
Arizona alumna, and former NCAA and Olympic Champion, Amanda Beard also intends to swim for the United States in Barcelona. Beard has been training with the Wildcats for the Championships for the balance of the year.
Looking at the Latest Poll: In the latest poll released January 30th, the Wildcat men fell one spot in the rankings to No. 15, despite two convincing performances against top-ranked Stanford and third-ranked California. Last weekend, the Cats fell to the ranked Texas Longhorns and to the un-ranked SMU Mustangs. While it's likely the Cats could have escaped descending in the rankings had they only fallen to Texas, the loss to SMU does not bode well for Arizona's chances of remaining in the Top-15. What may come to be Arizona's salvation is their extremely difficult schedule. To date, the Wildcat men have battled six of the top 13 teams in the latest CSCAA poll, including top-ranked Stanford. Next up is ASU and the Cats needs an impressive showing to improve their current standing in the poll.
After a brilliant weekend that included victories over then fourth-ranked Stanford and ninth-ranked California, Arizona's women made a dramatic jump into the sixth position in the latest rankings. What furthers the impressive nature of the Wildcats record and subsequent placement in the poll is the fact they have battled six teams ranked in the top ten and 8 out of the top 14. However, the Wildcat women's road woes continued this weekend against Texas and SMU and this resulted in two losses, which lowered their overall record and will ultimately drop them lower when the next rankings come out. Arizona has a chance to redeem itself this weekend with a strong performance, which would probably justify them as a top ten squad, as they proved two weeks ago against Stanford and California.
Wildcat Swimmers Nationally: Major swimming websites post a list of the best times accrued nationally in virtually every event, which analyze what teams and individuals have dominated the scene that particular season. Similarly, every year many Arizona swimmers and divers populate this list, and this year is no exception. Leading the way for the Wildcat men is junior Juan Veloz. Veloz's swim at the Texas Invitational in December in the 200y fly of 1:42.78 ranks first among any other time posted this season. The All-American Junior has also posted the 16th best time in the 400y IM (3:53.04). Elsewhere, senior Jeff Dash and junior Luis Rojas both find themselves in the top 75 times in the 100y fly. Dash sits in the 27th position (49.04) while Rojas currently occupies the 39th slot (49.26). Lastly, junior Eric la Fleur's performance in the 100y free at the Texas Invitational accrued him a slot on the list of best times. la Fleur touched the wall in 44.21, good enough for 13th overall.
Senior Beth Bostford leads a multitude of swimmers for the women's squad on this prestigious index. Botsford leads all others in the 200y back (1:54.67) and she ranks second only to National Swimmer of the Year Natalie Coughlin in the 100y back with her time of 53.25. However, Botsford's prowess is not limited to only the backstroke, as evidenced by her sixth-place time in the 100y fly and 22nd rank in the 200y fly with times of 53.94 and 2:00.10, respectively. Joining Botsford on the list of best times in the 200y fly is junior Emily Mason who occupies the sixth position (1:57.85). Mason also ranks 12th in the 200y IM (2:01.48) and ninth in the 400y IM (4:14.17). In the end though, Mason's best placement comes in the 500y freestyle. Her time of 4:39.07 ranks her second to the aforementioned Natalie Coughlin.
Dynamic Debut: Freshman Lyndon Ferns, a spring semester enrollee who hails from South Africa, began his career in the water for Arizona with a huge splash against Stanford on Friday. In his first every NCAA meet, Ferns won three events; the 50 and 100y free and the 100y fly. What makes Ferns' accomplishment that more impressive is that he achieved victories over two dominant swimmers of the top ranked Cardinal. Ferns swam 20.61 in the 50y free, 45.25 in the 100y and 49.32 in the 100y fly. Ferns single handedly catapaulted himself into the 2002-03 season list of top times with his weekend performance. His times in the 50 and 100y free rank second only to Eric la Fleur's times earlier in the season at the Texas Invitational. Later in the weekend versus Cal, Ferns continued his presence to be known when he claimed victory 50y free (20.62) yet again. Ferns also finished second in the 100y free by a mere .02 seconds.
Goodbye, Seniors!: Saturday's meet versus Arizona State marks the final time that seven Arizona swimmers and divers will enter the water to compete for the Wildcats. Included in the departing ensemble are former National Champions, Wildcat Captains and school record-holders. The seniors for the Wildcat women are comprised of Beth Botsford ( Timonium, Md.), April Beltran (Phoenix, Ariz.), Jennifer Hess (Aurora, Colo.), Lindsey Highstrom (Cedarburg, Wisc.), Julie Manitt (Marietta, Ga.) and Annie Joseph (Springfield, Ore.). The two Wildcat men who have used their requisite four years of eligibility are diving captain Scott Koenig ( Perryburg, Ohio) and Jeff Dash (Atlanta, Ga.)
Arizona Media Information: For any information regarding either of the Arizona Swimming and Diving Teams, contact Elliot Magruder in the Arizona Media Relations Office at (520) 621-0913. Those interested in obtaining full copies of releases or statistics may do so at www.arizonaathletics.com. For those interested in recieving each Arizona release via e-mail, contact Elliot Magruder at firstname.lastname@example.org edu, upon addition to the e-mail list, one would recieve each publication dispatched regarding Arizona Swimming upon its initial release.
Next Up: Championship season begins for the Wildcats as their next competiion from Feb. 27- Mar. 1 will be the Pac-10 Conference Championships, which this year are going to be held in Federal Way, Wash. However, the Wildcat women will send both swimmers and divers to compete while the men's squad only will participate in the diving portion of the meet. The Arizona men will swim their Pac-10 Championship meet later in March in Long Beach, Calif. Last season both the men and women's squads placed third at the Pac-10's.
Sports on the Web: For any of the latest news, notes, results on not only the swimming and diving squads, but the 17 other collegiate sports that the University of Arizona offers, log on to the official athletic website at http://www.arizonaathletics.com.