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Men's Swim/ Dive 2006 Season Review
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 05/16/2006
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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The Arizona swimming and diving teams completed the 2005-06 season making an enormous splash throughout the nation. Both the men and women completed the dual meet season ranked in the top-10 of the CSCAA poll and went on to upset several top-ranked teams to earn second and third-place finishes at the NCAA Championships. The Wildcats finished the season breaking a total of 38 records, including 22 school and four NCAA, while posting 78 All-American Honors. Arizona also posted seven national relay titles, three individual national champions and a first-place finish at the Pac-10 Championships on the women’s side. Head Coach Frank Busch was named the Pac-10 Women’s Head Swimming Coach of the Year for the sixth time in his career and also the NCAA Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year for the second year in a row. The Wildcats posted the finest swimming and diving season in U of A history, once again proving to be one of the most elite programs in the nation.

 

Men’s Review:

 

The men’s team made history in 2006, finishing the dual-meet season ranked sixth in the CSCAA poll with an overall record of 6-2 and a 3-2 mark in the Pac-10 Conference. After three days of competition at the 2006 NCAA Championships, the men’s swimming and diving team finished second with 440.5 points, only 40 points behind four-time national champions Auburn. A total of 10 athletes tallied four of five relay titles, two individual crowns and 23 new records to post the highest finish  for the men in school history. Head swimming coach Frank Busch was also named NCAA Head Coach of the Year for the second year in row.

 

NCAAs: Day 1 - The men completed the first day of competition in second place with 136.5 points after capturing the second national relay title in school history while setting three new school records.

 

                The team of sophomores Nick Thoman, Ivan Barnes, Albert Subirats and junior Adam Ritter took the 400 medley relay crown setting a new school and pool record with a time of 3:06.08. That was the first national relay title Arizona had seen since 1993 when the Wildcats won the 200 medley relay.

 

                “Everyone had a job to do and we did it tonight,” Ritter said. “I’ve gotten two second (places) tonight and I definitely wanted to come in and get a gold, we were all definitely ready to win it.”

 

                “It was a lot of fun winning the national title,” Thoman said. “When I saw Adam dive in on the last leg and go after that Northwestern guy, I knew we were going to get it.”

 

“(To get ahead) I was focusing on my own race, Ritter said. “I knew I had the speed and I was hungry for the national championship because I missed it twice today and we have only won one before in our school’s history, so to get another one was pretty big.”

 

                Starting out the action was the 200 free relay team of seniors Simon Burnett, Lyndon Ferns, Subirats and Ritter, who set a new school record, while finishing second with a time of 1:16.54.

 

                In the consolation finals of the 500 freestyle, senior Tyler DeBerry finished eighth in the heat and 16th overall with a time of 4:23.02.

 

                Ritter, who broke the school record in the 200 individual medley during prelims (1:44.20), finished second in the championship finals of the race with a time of 1:44.20, as senior Dave Rollins finished fifth in the event with a time of 1:44.75.

 

                In the 50 freestyle, Burnett finished third with a time of 19.32, while Ferns tied for fourth-place with George Bovell of Auburn with a time of 19.34.

 

Day 2 ?- The Wildcats had a phenomenal second day of competition at the championships, tallying two individual champions, two relay titles and 14 new records while taking the lead over Auburn with 336.5 points.

 

                The 200 medley relay started the action for the Wildcats, as the team of Subirats, senior Dave Rollins, Ferns and Burnett set a new NCAA, U.S. Open, school and pool record with a time of 1:23.88.

 

“I am pretty excited and glad for my teammates,” Subirats said. “It was with three seniors, three great seniors, a championship, and we broke the record, so I feel really good.”

 

Next, in the 100 butterfly, Ferns captured his first NCAA crown, winning the race with a school and pool record time of 45.89. Subirats finished behind his teammate in second-place with a personal best time of 46.02.

 

                Continuing the excitement was Burnett who defended his 200 freestyle crown, while breaking his own NCAA and school records as well as setting new U.S. Open and pool records with a time of 1:31.20. Burnett is now a three-time national champion in this event.

 

                “I have never seen anything like (Simon’s swim),” Busch said. “I don’t even know how to explain it. That was a guy, very talented, whose heart wanted that, and was willing to give it whatever it took.”

 

                Tallying the final national title of the evening was the 800 free relay comprised of Burnett, Ferns, senior Tyler DeBerry and Ritter, who won he event with a new school and pool record time of 6:16.67.

 

                “It was good, what more can you say,” Ferns said. “We really wanted that one. It would have been nice to break the (NCAA) record, but winning feels great no matter what.”

 

After breaking the school record in the 100 breaststroke during prelims earlier in the afternoon (52.68), Rollins finished third in the championship finals with a time of 52.91and Barnes finished 10th overall with a time of 53.55.

 

                Thoman and Subirats competed in the championship finals of the 100 backstroke, as Thoman finished third (46.67) and Subirats finished seventh (46.89).

 

                In the 3-meter diving competition, senior John Collier finished 20th respectively, with 287.25 points.

 

Day 3 ?- On the final night of competition, Thoman finished third in the 200 backstroke, breaking his own school record with a time of 1:41.31.

 

                Burnett and Ferns swam in the championship finals of the 100 freestyle as Burnett finished third with a time of 42.54 and Ferns finished fifth with a time of 42.65. Ritter finished third in the consolation finals of the race, and 11th overall with a personal best time 0f 43.24.

 

                Barnes finished seventh in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 1:56.62, after breaking another school record for Arizona during preliminary action with a time of 1:65.07.

 

                Concluding the 2006 national championships was the 400 free relay team of Burnett, Ferns, Subirats and Ritter, who  won the fourth relay title for the Wildcats with a new pool and school record time of 2:48.39.

 

“We have never had a meet like this and there is nothing to compare it to, it’s definitely new territory for me and for our program,” Busch said. “I’m really proud of the seniors, they are such a great group of guys. They have a mindset that I have never seen before, and they will be sorely missed.”

 

               

Pac 10-Championships ?- The men competed at the 2006 Pac-10 Championships on March 1-4 in Federal Way, Wash. as they finished fourth with 519 points. The men also tallied a total of 11 NCAA automatic qualifying times and 20 consideration times throughout four days of competition.

 

Seniors Simon Burnett, Lyndon Ferns, Tyler DeBerry and junior Adam Ritter composed the first-place 800 free relay on the first night, setting a new Pac-10 meet record and a new school record with a time of 6:18.70.

 

Ferns posted the first individual conference title of his career, winning the 100 butterfly with an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 46.43. Burnett captured the 200 freestyle crown as well, setting a new Pac-10 meet record with a time of 1:33.26.

 

                Ferns’ and Burnett’s victories marked the first individual Pac-10 champions Arizona had seen since 2002 when former Wildcats Roland Schoeman and Omar Ojeda tallied two apiece. 

 

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