Jan. 29, 2009
The Wildcats travel to Austin, Texas this weekend to face Texas in a dual meet over two days beginning Fri. Jan. 30.
Last Time Out
Arizona came away with a split during its home-stand with California and Stanford this past weekend. On Friday, the Cats overwhelmed the Golden Bears and both men's and women's teams won by 40+ points. After a quick turnaround, the men were soundly beaten by the Cardinal while the women lost a heart-breaker to Stanford when the meet came down to the final relay.
Cats in the Rankings:
Both men's and women's team's are slotted as No. 4 in the country in the latest edition of the College Swim Coaches Association of America Poll. The Texas men are currently ranked No. 1 overall and women are third.
Scouting the Longhorns
Texas juniors Dave Walters and Ricky Berens won gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics as members of Team USA's 800-meter freestyle relay. Berens swam in the preliminary and finals rounds and is a co-world record holder in the event. Walters joined Berens in the 800 freestyle relay preliminary round and broke Michael Phelps' American record in the 200-yard freestyle last month at the Texas Invitational. Senior Michael Klueh joined Berens,
The Texas women feature Beijing Olympics finalist Kathleen Hersey and Beijing Olympians Hee-Jin Chang and Susana Escobar. UT also boasts two additional U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials finalists in freshmen Leah Gingrich and Katie Riefenstahl and U.S. Olympic Diving Trials finalist Jessica Livingston. Senior diving All-American Kathryn Kelly joins Livingston to solidify one of the NCAA's top diving duos.
Home Away From Home
Each year Arizona has a fair amount of success competing at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center on the campus of the University of Texas and its first trip this season was no different. During the Texas Invitational, the Wildcats posted 23 automatic qualifying times as well as winning the women's competition and finishing runner-up on the men's side.
Senior diver Craig Sheedy and freshman swimmer Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or were named student-athletes of the month for their work in the classroom over November and December. They were selected by the C.A.T.S. Academics staff based on four different criteria - outstanding effort, demonstrated improvement, overall academic performance and consistent citizenship through personal character, integrity and role-model actions.
Swimmer of the Month
Lara Jackson was named the Pac-10's Swimmer of the Month for the month of December. Jackson put on quite a performance during the first day of the Texas Invitational. The El Paso, Texas native began the day by swimming the first leg of the women's 200 free relay in which Arizona placed first and turned in an "A" cut time of 1:27.72. Next Jackson took to the 100 fly, setting a new school record, establishing an "A" cut time and finishing first. But LJ would save her best for last in the women's 50 free, setting a new American and NCAA record and blowing away the competition with a time of 21.33. Not a bad day.
Happenings at the Kasser Family Pool
Arizona divers had quite a successful weekend led by the efforts of freshman Ainsley Oliver and sophomore Ben Grado. Oliver won the one-meter and three-meter events against California and finished runner-up in the two events versus Stanford. Grado proved one better on the men's side, sweeping both one-meter and three-meter events against California and Stanford. Other divers garnering attention against Cal and Stanford include Andres Guerra, Craig Sheedy and Matt McCahill.
The Savvy Veteran
Junior co-captain Jack Brown has provided leadership and experience to the men's team this season. The Atlanta, Ga. native is among Arizona's top performer's in the individual medley events as well as the long distance freestyle. Last weekend, Brown won the 200 IM event against Cal and 400 IM event vs. Stanford.
Long Distance Jean
Junior Jean Basson has established himself as the Arizona men's team top long distance swimmer. During the Texas Invite, Basson won the 500 freestyle with an "A" cut time of 4:13.10 (currently second fastest in the country this year) and finished runner-up in the 1650 freestyle. Basson is also the men's top performer in the 200 free, 500 free, 1000 free and 1650 free.
The men's team has 14 true freshmen on the roster for the 2008-09 and even though they are inexperienced, the youngsters are certainly living up to the high expectations so far. Freshman AJ Tipton is UA's top performer in both the 100 and 200 fly with times of 46.74 and 1:42.48, respectively. Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or looks to challenge in the freestyle competitions and Austen Thompson is holding his own in the individual medley events.
Still Work To Do
Although Arizona has 23 NCAA "A" cut times, the men only account for six of the 23 berths. Of the six berths for the men, Jean Basson and Bryan O'Connor each have two for Arizona, Jack Brown has one "A" cut time in the 400 IM and the men's 200 free relay team has secured a berth. Look for the spring additions of Olympians Nicolas Nilo and Joel Greenshields to boost the team overall.
Head Coach Frank Busch
Entering his 20th year as head coach, Frank Busch has transformed the University of Arizona swimming and diving into one of the nation's most powerful programs.
The 2007-08 season was a breakthrough for Busch and his charges, as both the men's and women's swim teams captured NCAA championship, the first two in school history. Over the course of seven days the Wildcats used a team-first mantra to rise to the top of the collegiate swimming world in dominating fashion - the men prevailed by 94 points and the women triumphed by 136. The squads combined to win two individual national championships, eight relay national championships and earn a total of 57 All-America accolades.
For his efforts, Busch earned both the men's and women's NCAA Coach-of-the-Year accolades, an honor he has earned six times in his career. Busch's 2008 campaign was capped by a successful Olympic experience. He was named an assistant coach for the United States swim team, where a total of 15 of his current or former swimmers participated and represented seven different nations at the Beijing Games.
Arizona will be off next weekend before it hosts rival Arizona State on Feb. 14 beginning at 1 p.m. following the men's basketball contest which starts at 11 a.m.