The Arizona men's and women's teams, both ranked No. 2 in the country, will swim the Texas Longhorns, while the Arizona State Sun Devils will also swim against Texas, in a two-day meet that will be contested in the exact format as the NCAA Championships. Session one is slated for Friday, Jan. 28 at 2:00 p.m. at Hillenbrand Aquatic Center, while on Saturday, Jan. 29, session two will begin at 9:30 a.m. and session three at 1:30 p.m.
The Texas men's team will enter the meet as the top-ranked team in the latest CSCAA Top-25 Coaches Poll and are 5-0 in dual meet action in 1999-2000. Meanwhile, the No. 12 Texas women's squad holds a dual-meet record of 1-4 after recording their first victory of the year against then-No. 7 Florida (1/15/00), in Austin. Both Arizona State teams are coming off losses to California last week in Berkeley, Calif. The Sun Devil men are ranked No. 11 and are 2-5 overall, while the women are 3-3 on the year and ranked 18th.
Time To Say Goodbye:
This weekend's meet will mark the final home appearance of 10 seniors on the UA men's squad and seven for the women. All 17 of the Wildcat seniors will be recognized in a pre-meet ceremony on Friday afternoon. The men's senior class is one of the most accomplished in school history with 48 All America selections, seven individual national titles and five individual Pac-10 titles. Equally impressive is the women's senior class, who boasts 33 All America selections, seven individual national titles and four individual Pac-10 titles.
Last Time Out:
(MEN) Senior Ryk Neethling won three events and then-No. 3 Arizona pulled out the 400 freestyle relay to defeat No. 2 Stanford 124-119 Saturday (1/22/00) at deGuerre Pool. The Cats improved to 5-1, 2-1 in the Pac-10. The Wildcats led 110-97 going into the 200 breast, the second-to-last event. Stanford junior Rob Canales led a one-two-three sweep in the 200 breast to tie the meet at 113, but the Arizona squad of sophomore Roland Schoeman, Schryver, junior Scott Gaskins and junior Ben Anderson pulled out the 400 free relay in a time of 2:59.45 to conclude the meet. (WOMEN) Meanwhile, the women's meet was a different story for the Cats. No. 3 Stanford captured 10 of 13 events, won by a final score of 131-112. The loss bumped UA to 7-2 overall, 3-1 in the Pac-10.
Stanford led from the outset, as four Cardinal swimmers won two events each. UA's only individual winners were junior Adrian David in the 1 meter diving competition (373.80 points), freshman Amanda Beard in the 200 breaststroke (2:16.29) and the Wildcats' 400 free relay team of senior Denali Knapp, sophomore Emily Mastin, sophomore Jenny Vanker and sophomore Sarah Tolar (3:24.63).
Cats in the Polls:
The men enter the meet ranked No. 2 in the nation in the Jan. 20 edition of the Speedo America College Swimming Coaches Association Top-25 poll, while the Arizona women are also ranked second. On the women's side, the Wildcats trail only defending-champion Georgia, while the men find themselves behind No. 1 Texas. Other Pac-10 men's teams in the rankings include No. 4 California, No. 5 Stanford, No. 6 USC, and Arizona State in the No. 11 spot. In the women's poll, Stanford is No. 3, USC No. 4, California No. 5, UCLA No. 15 and ASU at No. 18.
Summer 1999; Wildcats Around the Globe:
The Arizona men's and women's swimming teams recently completed a busy summer that showcased Wildcat athletes in action in four different countries, on three different continents. At the 1999 Pan Pacific Games in Sydney, Australia two current Wildcats showcased their skills as members of the United States squad, while another competed for South Africa. The competition took place August 23-29, at the Olympic swimming venue that will be used during the 2000 Olympic Games.
Arizona senior Ryk Neethling, the 1998-99 NCAA Division I Swimmer of the Year, added to his list of accolades by earning three medals for his native South Africa. He started the competition on day one by claiming the bronze medal in the 400-meter freestyle by clocking a 3:46.31 and followed with another third place finish on day three, in the 200-meter freestyle (1:48.17). Already the most decorated male swimmer in school history, Neethling garnered a silver medal in the 1,500-meter freestyle by swimming a 15:02.40, on the final day of competition.
Wildcat junior Jay Schryver also competed in this prestigious event by taking part in the 50-meter freestyle (23.24), 100-meter freestyle (50.82) and the 200-meter freestyle (1:51.69).
On the women's side, UA sophomore Sarah Tolar placed in all three events that she entered. Tolar's biggest accomplishment of the weekend came when she advanced the finals of the 200-meter freestyle on day three and finished in seventh place overall, by clocking a 2:01.14. Day two saw Tolar swim a 4:22.39 in the 400-meter freestyle, to finish in 16th place and on day five she finished 10th in the 100-meter freestyle (56.77). The most impressive performance of the summer came at the 1999 Pan American Games (August 1-7) in Winnipeg, Canada, as four Arizona swimmers hauled in a total of seven medals, while competing in only nine events.
Arizona senior Denali Knapp lead the way for the Cats as she set two Pan American Games records and came away with two gold medals and one silver. The first record came in the 200-meter backstroke, as Knapp finished in a time of 2:12.48, ahead of Wildcat teammate, freshman Beth Botsford, who clocked a 2:12.95, to earn the silver medal. In the 4x100-meter medley relay Knapp lead off the race by swimming the backstroke leg in a time of 1:01.85, helping the United States team to a Pan American games record time of 4:06.08 and the gold medal. Knapp also swam to a silver medal in the 100-meter backstroke with a time of 1:02.45, while Botsford earned the bronze in the same race (1:02.48). The highlight on the men's side belonged to senior Matt Allen who medaled in two separate Pan American events. Allen earned a silver medal as a member of the 4x100-meter medley relay squad, as he lead off with a backstroke leg time of 55.84. Meanwhile, in the 100-meter backstroke Allen finished in third place, after swimming a time of 55.86. Fellow Arizona senior Nat Lewis competed in two distance freestyle events at the games, finishing fourth in the 1,500-meter freestyle (15:44.15) and eighth in the 400-meter freestyle (3:58.99).
On the island of Palma de Mallorca, Spain (July 8-13) four Wildcat athletes earned four medals and joined thousands of athletes from around the globe, to experience the magic of the World University Games. Wildcat sophomore Katie Zimbone acquired the first of her two medals, as she swam the leadoff leg (2:03.19) of the gold-medal winning 800-meter freestyle relay squad. Arizona teammate, sophomore Caroline Kilian swam the third leg (2:04.74) of that same relay to take home a gold medal of her own. Zimbone garnered her second medal as she finished third in the 400-meter freestyle, in a time of 4:17.30. Also on the women's side, freshman Amanda Beard, the American record holder in the 100-meter breaststroke, earned a silver in that same event, by racing to a 1:10.23.
The Arizona men were represented by senior Rob Henikman, who placed 10th in the 100-meter breaststroke, in a time of 1:03.94.
Beth Botsford, a Garrison Forest High School product (Timonium, Md.), who was a double gold-medalist at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, is beginning her first year at the University of Arizona this season. Botsford, who swam for North Baltimore Aquatics was the 1996 Olympic champion in the 100 meter backstroke in 1996 and was also a member of the gold medal-winning 400 meter medley relay squad at the Olympic Games. She is currently a member of the 1998-99 United States National Team, which is comprised of USA swimmers who rank in the top-eight in the world in their respective events. Botsford was also a World Championships team member in 1998 and holds the distinction of being the 12th fastest woman ever in the 200 backstroke (2:10.66). Irvine (Calif.) High School swimmer Amanda Beard, who won a gold medal and two silvers at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta is another freshman newcomer to the UA swimming program. Beard, who has swam for the Irvine Novaquatics club team for the last eight years, won silver medals in the 100 and 200-meter breaststroke at the Atlanta Games and won the gold on the United States' 400-meter medley relay. She is the American record holder in the 100m breaststroke (short course) with a time of 1:06.67 in December, 1999 and is a three-time U.S. national champion.
Next Time Out:
On Friday, Feb. 12 both Arizona squads will wrap up their dual-meet seasons when they travel up Interstate-10 to meet the arch-rival Arizona State Sun Devils at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center in Tempe, beginning at 1:00.pm.
Cats in Cyberspace:
For the latest news, notes and results on not only the swimming and diving squads, but also the other 18 intercollegiate sports that the U of A has to offer as well, log on to the official athletic website of the University of Arizona http://www.arizcats.com