March 6, 2011
LONG BEACH, Calif. – The No. 6 Arizona men’s swimming and diving team claimed fourth place at the 2011 Pac-10 Championships, scoring 483 total points across the four-day meet at the Belmont Olympic Plaza Pool in Long Beach, Calif. Stanford won the men’s conference championship for its 30th consecutive season with 911 points. California was second followed by USC in third.
Arizona got off to a quick start Saturday with Cory Chitwood winning the 200 backstroke competition by positing a 1:41.19 in his specialty race to win convincingly. The reigning NCAA champion in the 200 back, Chitwood figures to be set up nicely to challenge again for that crown again this season. Also swimming in the championship heat were freshmen Ellis Miller and Michael Sheppard who finished fourth and fifth respectively. Miller, with his time of 1:43.15, likely punched his ticket to the NCAA’s in the event. In the B final of the 200 back, Ivan Tolic took fourth with a 1:46.41.
In the 100 freestyle, Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or took runner-up in the B consolation final with a time of 43.57. Teammates Tommy Gutman, Nick Hadinger and Kelley Wyman, also in the B final, placed fourth, seventh and eighth, respectively. In the C consolation heat, Luke Pechmann won the heat with a 43.81 and was followed by Mitchell Friedemann in second and Adam Small in fourth.
Kevin Munsch and Austen Thompson showed they’ll be a threat at NCAA’s after placing first and second in the B final of the 200 breaststroke. Also swimming in the heat was freshman Kevin Steel who went out extremely quickly in hopes of notching an NCAA automatic time in the front 100 yard half of the race.
A.J. Tipton recorded a fourth place showing in the 200 butterfly with his 1:45.61 to earn 15 points. California sophomore Tom Shields won the event in 1:40.31 to establish a new NCAA record. Shields was later named the Swimmer of the Meet for his performances over the week.
To close the conference championships, Arizona was fifth in the 400 freestyle relay with the quartet of Shapira Bar-Or, Gutman, Wyman and Pechmann going a 2:54.86. In the B final, UA’s Hadinger, Friedemann, Small and Tolic were first in 2:56.20.
By topping Arizona State in the conference standings, the Wildcats earned yet another point in the State Farm Territorial Cup Series. Arizona now leads its neighbors to the north, 7.5-3.5. The Cats can win the competition for the second straight year with two additional points.
The UA men will now look to get fully rested and tapered in preparation for the NCAA Championships in Minneapolis. Last year, the Wildcats finished third nationally.
Final Points Standings
1. Stanford – 911
2. California – 864
3. USC – 534
4. Arizona – 483
5. Arizona State – 273
6. UC Santa Barbara – 184
7. Cal Poly -- 158