Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Arizona Swimming and Diving Welcomes UNLV
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: October 19, 2011
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Oct. 19, 2011

TUCSON, Ariz. -

The Arizona men's and women's swimming and diving teams welcome UNLV for their first meet this season with competition from both the men and women on Friday, Oct. 21 at 2 p.m. at Hillenbrand Aquatic Center. The women's swimming and diving team defeated Kansas on Oct. 8.

The Wildcats anticipate a promising year after a largely successful summer. More than 15 members on the current roster participated for Tucson Ford Aquatics at U.S. Nationals and earned a first-place finish and National Championship.

On the diving side, the ATT U.S.A. Diving Championships in Los Angeles featured three Arizona divers in senior Ben Grado (Conifer, Colo.), freshman Samantha Pickens (Murrysville, Pa.) and senior Andres Guerra (Sugarland, Texas). Grado finished in third place on the platform, fourth place on the 1-meter and eighth place on the 3-meter, which qualified him for the Olympic Trials in June of 2012. He was also the meet's high-point winner. Pickens finished in third place on the 1-meter and 16th on the 3-meter, while Guerra finished 15th on the platform.

In 2011, the men finished in fourth place at the NCAA Championships and the women finished fifth.

The men's roster includes 11 seniors with 38 total All-American honors between six athletes. Cory Chitwood (Union, Ky.) defended his title in the 100 backstroke in 2011, earning his second-consecutive individual national title. Adam Small (Tempe, Ariz.) and A.J. Tipton (Knoxville, Tenn.) come into their senior season with eight All-American honors each, Kelley Wyman (Ft. Pierce, Fla.) and Austen Thompson (Chandler, Ariz.) each have four and Kevin Munsch (Kent, Wash.) three. Nick Hadinger (Tucson, Ariz.), Cameron Owen (Fishers, Ind.) and Luke Pechmann (Moorhead, Minn.) round out the swimmers for the senior class, joining divers Grado and Guerra.

Six juniors will compete for the Wildcats this season, including Jon Denton-Schneider (Marin, Calif.), Zach Hojnacki (Chandler, Ariz.), Carl Mickelson (Chandler, Ariz.), Nicholas Popov (Karlsruhe, Germany), Pete Stacy (Blaine, Minn.) and Wisconsin transfer Sam Rowan (Eugene, Ore.).

The sophomore class features 10 athletes with 12 total All-American honors between four athletes. Tennessee transfer Giles Smith (Baltimore, Md.) comes to Arizona with five All-American honors, Mitchell Friedemann (Allenton,Wis.) has four, Ellis Miller (Siloam Springs, Ark.) two and Matt Barber (Kingwood, Texas) one. Jeff Amlee (Tucson, Ariz.), Tommy Gutman (Jacksonville, Fla.), Matt Hurko (San Jose, Calif.), Michael Sheppard (Eads, Tenn.) and Kevin Steel (Moorestown, N.J.) round out the sophomore class, joining diver Sean Clark (Phoenix, Ariz.).

The Wildcats welcome five freshman to the men's roster, including swimmers Kevin Owens (Santa Clara, Calif.), Kevin Cordes (Naperville, Ill.) and Brian Stevens (Phoenix, Ariz.) and divers Josh Bidak (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Carter Craft (Houston, Texas).

The women's side features eight All-Americans, including four newcomers, three seniors, six juniors, 11 sophomores and two freshmen.

Seniors Alyssa Anderson (Granite Bay, Calif.) and Emma Darlington (Tucson, Ariz.) return for their final season at Arizona and are joined by University of Denver transfer, Grace Kittle (Dallas, Texas).

Anderson, an 11-time All-American and school-record holder in the 500 freestyle, is coming off a highly successful 2010-11 season, earning five All-American honors and placing third nationally in both the 500 free and the 200 fly. In addition, Anderson was named Arizona Athletics' Female Junior Athlete of the Year.

Darlington, an All-American in the 200 free relay and member of the 2008 National Championship team, redshirted in 2010-11 due to injury. In 2009-10, she earned her first All-America honor and helped the Wildcats' NCAA Championship 200 medley relay qualify for the championship final, swimming the anchor leg.

At the University of Denver, Kittle led her team to its first Sun Belt Conference title, posting a first-place finish in the 200 Breaststroke, breaking the conference record.

Ellyn Baumgardner (Fairfax, Va.), Monica Drake (Bloomington, Ill.) and Chelsey Salli (Vancouver, B.C.) lead the 2011 junior class. Baumgardner earned four All-American honors in her first two years, while Drake earned one in 2011 for the 800 free relay. Lauren Smart (Charlotte, N.C.) joins the team from the University of Virginia, where she finished eighth in the 100 backstroke at the 2011 NCAA Championships. Eve Sarris (Adelaide, South Australia) and diver Ainsley Oliver (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) round out the junior class for the Wildcats.

The sophomore class features five All-Americans with 18 total honors. Margo Geer (Milford Center, Ohio) returns to Arizona after recording the second-fastest time in both the 50 and 100 freestyle events behind only NCAA champions Lara Jackson and Lacey Nymeyer in the respective events. Other All-Americans in the sophomore class include Sarah Denninghoff (Tucson, Ariz.), Grace Finnegan (Columbus, Ohio), Kait Flederbach (Carmel, Ind.) and Aubrey Peacock (Jacksonville, Fla.). Swimmers Ashley Evans (Phoenix, Ariz.), Lindsay Seemann (Newmarket, Ontario), Hallie Stupp (St. Louis, Mo.), Briana Wilford (Amado, Ariz.) and divers Ashley Herrera (La Palma, Calif.) and Samantha Pickens (Murrysville, Pa.) round out the sophomore class.

Freshmen Izzy Diamond (Tucson, Ariz.) and Shannon Hultin (Westlake Village, Calif.) join the Wildcats as the only freshmen newcomers. Diamond was the Catalina Foothills High School diving team captain and won the state championship her senior year. Hultin comes to Arizona after becoming an Olympic Trial Qualifier in the 400 IM and 200 IM.

The Rebels come to Tucson after competing in one meet in the 2011-12 season.

The UNLV men faced a CSUB squad that is the defending MPSF champion, but from the opening race it was all Rebels. UNLV won all 14 swimming events. The Rebels also showed off their depth, as a total of eight different swimmers won individual events.

On the women's side, the swimmers took on the preseason favorites in the Mountain West, and came away with five individual wins. The highlight of the day for the Rebels was the performance of freshman Jessica Marsh, who won the 200 free in 1:50.87 and then added a victory in the 500 free in 4:59.27. Other wins on the day came from Jessica Marsh, who won the 200 free in 1:50.87 and then added a victory in the 500 free in 4:59.27. Other wins on the day came from Rachel Dixon in the 50 free (23.93), Mariah Skeen on the 1-meter board (299.90) and Brittany Ozar in the 200 IM (2:08.97).

The meet versus UNLV is non-ticketed and admission is free to all fans.

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