Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Arizona Swimming and Diving Takes Summer by Storm
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: August 26, 2011
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Related Links

Aug. 26, 2011

TUCSON, Ariz. -

Arizona’s Swimming and Diving Program made the most of its summer with 58 current and former swimmers and divers competing with the best in the world all around the world.

Tucson Ford Aquatics, an extension of athletes that trained, attend, or attended the University of Arizona, competed in World Championships, U.S. Nationals and the World University Games, while individual Arizona divers competed at the ATT Diving Championships.

The highlight of the summer came when Tucson Ford Aquatics won the National Championship at U.S. Nationals in Stanford, Calif. The women came in second behind Stanford and the men came in second behind SwimMAC Carolina, but their scores together gave them a first-place finish.

Overall, there were 10 finishes in the top five and 15 in the top 10 and there were four events where at least two Tucson competitors finished in the top 10.

Relays were also crucial, as each women’s team placed at least one team in the top five and each men’s team placed at least one team in the top 10. Sophomores Sarah Denninghoff (Tucson, Ariz.) and Margo Geer (Milford Center, Ohio), junior Lauren Smart (Charlotte, N.C.) and Annie Chandler won the 400-meter Medley relay.

In the women’s competitions, current Arizona senior Alyssa Anderson (Granite Bay, Calif.) ranked seventh in points and recorded four top-10 finishes with the highest coming at third in the 200-meter freestyle. Former Arizona standout Lara Jackson brought home a first-place finish in the 50-meter freestyle and was followed closely by Geer in seventh place and sophomore Kait Flederbach (Carmel, Ind.) in eighth.

Former Arizona swimmer and Pac-12 Woman of the Year Annie Chandler added another top-five finish at second-place in the 100-meter breaststroke and Ellyn Baumgardner finished third in the 100-meter breaststroke.

Geer, Christine Magnuson and Smart added more top-10 finishes for their team and Denninghoff finished in 12th in the 200-meter backstroke.

In the men’s competitions, Matt Grevers finished above every other participant in points, raking in two first-place finishes in the 100-meter and 200-meter backstroke. In addition, he finished fourth in the 100-meter freestyle and seventh in the 50-meter freestyle.

Former Arizona swimmer Clark Burckle ranked seventh in points, earned two third-place finishes in the 200-meter breaststroke and 200-meter IM and an 11th-place finish in the 100-meter breastroke.

Senior Cory Chitwood (Union, Ky.) recorded two top-10 finishes, seniors Austen Thompson (Chandler, Ariz.) and Adam Small (Tempe, Ariz.) each added one, and former Wildcats Adam Ritter and Marcus Titus added two more.

In addition, sophomores Mitchell Friedemann (Allenton, Wis.), Tommy Gutman (Jacksonville, Fla.), Ellis Miller (Siloam Springs, Ark.), Giles Smith (Baltimore, Md.), Michael Sheppard (Eads, Tenn.), Ellyn Baumgardner (Fairfax, Va.) and Sam Rowan all recorded times in the top 10.

With their success at Nationals, 10 Arizona swimmers were selected for the U.S. National Team going to the Pan American Games in October.

On an even bigger level, the World University Games featured Arizona head swimming coach Eric Hansen for the U.S. National Team and Arizona associate head swimming coach Rick DeMont was the women’s assistant coach.

At the event, two Arizona swimmers earned gold medals. Chandler won gold in the 50-meter breaststroke, representing the USA. She won silver in the 4x100-meter Medley relay and finished third at U.S. Nationals in the 200-meter breaststroke. Anderson also earned gold at the World University Games, fueling her relay team to a win in the 4x200 freestyle, while Small earned silver in the 50-meter freestyle.

At the World Championships, Christine Magnuson led her relay team to a first-place finish in the 4x100 Medley. In addition, Magnuson finished sixth in the 50-meter butterfly and 10th in the 100-meter butterfly, making her one of three swimmers to record a top-10 finish. Amanda Beard finished fourth in the 200-meter breaststroke and Darian Townsend finished 9th in the 200-meter IM. Beard, Townsend and Nicolas Oliveira also recorded times in the top 20.

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 (Murrsville, 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 Guera finished 15th on the platform.

“I am extremely impressed with this group and how they performed this summer,” said Hansen. “ We carry a lot of momentum into the college season coming off of our National Team Title and all of the international success our swimmers had.  What this team accomplished this summer sets us up for a great NCAA season and a very special Olympic year.”

The summer success of the Arizona Swimming and Diving program is a positive sign of things to come in the 2011-12 season. The Wildcats will open their season versus Kansas on Saturday, Oct. 8 at Hillenbrand Aquatics Center.




List of Participants (*former swimmers):

Worlds (July 25-30)

Amanda Beard*

Christine Magnuson*

Nicolas Oliveira*

Darian Townsend*

Leone Vorster*


US Nationals (Aug. 2-6)

Jeff Amlee (So.)

Alyssa Anderson (Sr.)

Matt Barber (So.)

Ellyn Baumgardner (Jr.)

Clark Burckle*

Erin Campbell*

Annie Chandler*

Cory Chitwood (Sr.)

Emma Darlington (R-Sr.)

Sarah Denninghoff (So.)

Jon Denton-Schneider (Jr.)

Monica Drake (Jr.)

Ashley Evans (So.)

Gracie Finnegan (So.)

Kait Flederbach (So.)

Mitchell Friedmann (So.)

Margo Geer (So.)

Ben Grado (Sr.)

Matt Grevers*

Andres Guerra (Sr.)

Tommy Gutman (So.)

Nick Hadinger (Sr.)

Zac Hojnacki (Jr.)

Matt Hurko (So.)

Lara Jackson*

Craig Jordans*

Maggie Meyer*

Carl Mickelson (Jr.)

Ellis Miller (So.)

Kevin Munsch (Sr.)

Bryan O’Connor*

Cam Owen (Sr.)

Aubrey Peacock (So.)

Luke Pechmann (Sr.)

Samantha Pickens (Fr.)

Nick Popov (Jr.)

Adam Ritter*

Sam Rowa*

Eve Sarris (Jr.)

Adam Small (Sr.)

Lauren Smart (Jr.)

Giles Smith (So.)

Michael Sheppard (So.)

Pete Stacy (R-Jr.)

Kevin Steel (So.)

Bart Steninger*

Austen Thompson (Sr.)

A.J. Tipton (Sr.)

Marcus Titus*

Kelley Wyman (Sr.)


ATT USA Diving Championships (Aug. 11-13)

Ben Grado (Sr.)

Samantha Pickens (Fr.)


World University Games (Aug. 14-19)

Alyssa Anderson (Sr.)

Jessica Ashley-Cooper (Fr.)

Jean Basson*

Clark Burckle*

Annie Chandler*

Cory Chitwood (R-Sr.)

Craig Jordans*

Masayuki Kishida*

Nicolas Oliveira*

Adam Small (Sr.)

Leone Vorster*


Margo Geer P12 WOTY
Bear Down Challenge M S&D