Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Swim and Dive Prepare for Season Opener against Wisconsin and UCSB
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: November 01, 2006
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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This Week in the Pool ?- The fifth-ranked Arizona men’s and fourth-ranked women’s swimming and diving teams are set to open their 2006-07 season against the Wisconsin Badgers and the UCSB Gauchos (men only) at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center on Friday, Nov. 3 at 2 p.m. (MST).


What Happened Last Year? ?- The Wildcats began their dual meet season with a pair of victories over Wisconsin and Penn State on Oct. 28, 2005. The men won 13 events to defeat the Badgers 176 ?- 85 while the women won a total of 10 events to top Wisconsin 138.5 ?- 123.5 and the Nittany Lions 152 ?- 110.


Wildcat/ Badger History ?- The Wildcats have hosted the Badgers as their season opening competition at Hillenbrand Aquatic Center for five consecutive years. The women are currently undefeated against their Big-Ten rivals, while the men’s side has only lost once in their short history.


Year           Women                        Men

2001           W 163-119                    W 149-129

2002           W 94-90                        L 24-98

2003           W 172.5-128.5               W 175-121

2004           W 141-119                    W 160-99

2005           W 138.5-123.5               W 176-85

A Look at the Opponents ?- The UCSB men’s team completed their first competition of the season on Oct. 27 and 28th against the University of Hawai’i. The Gauchos traveled to Honolulu for a two-day dual-meet where they lost the first competition to the Rainbow Warriors 114.5-108.5. On the second day, sophomore Chris Good won three events and freshman Scott Vogelgesang won the 200 free, however, UCSB was not able to pull out a victory, falling to Hawai’i 160-120.

            The Wisconsin men’s team currently posts an overall record of 2-0 (1-0 Big-Ten). Their most recent competition against the University of Iowa resulted in a 240-111 victory for the Badgers, while winning a total of 14 events


            On the women’s side, Wisconsin is ranked 13th in the nation, also posting a perfect record of 2-0 (1-0 Big-Ten). The lady-Badgers recently completed competition at the SMU Classic on Oct. 21 at Perkins Natatorium in Dallas where they finished third with 288 points.



2006-07 Men’s Season Preview - With the loss of four NCAA Champions, and a total of five All-Americans, the Arizona men’s swimming and diving team will have some big shoes to fill for the 2006-07 season. However,

the Wildcats will blend veteran experience with new talent this year, as they feature four returning NCAA

champions and 14 letterwinners, while welcoming 12 fresh faces to the squad.


            “You can’t replace four NCAA champions; however this is a very talented freshman class that has come in with some very strong credentials, and we have experience to go with it,” head swimming Coach Frank Busch said. “We have enough returning swimmers that we will be solid again this season.”


            The Wildcats return to the pool after a phenomenal 2005-06 season where they finished second at the NCAA Championships. As a team, Arizona scored 440.5 points posting two individual champions and four relay titles to land a total of 38 All-American honors which were accumulated by nine swimmers and one diver. While last season was one of the best performances at a championship meet in Arizona history, the Wildcats continue to look toward bigger things.


            “This team is going to be really competitive again this year,” Busch said. “I can’t say how everything is going to pan-out, but this team will again be making some noise at NCAAs.”



            Two seniors will lead the way for Arizona this season, as nine-time first-team All-American Adam Ritter and Denton Taylor, who will share co-captain duties for the Wildcats this year, prepare for their fourth and final seasons.


            Ritter returns to the water after a breakout junior year in which he scored in the top-eight of the 200 IM and the 200 free, while anchoring three national champion relays. Taylor adds experience to the team as he finished 11th in the 100 back (50.06) and 14th in the 200 back at the 2006 Pac-10 Championships. Both will be counted on to lead the team to yet another year of excellence.


            “Adam and Denton are great leaders and are really going to be a very good team captains,” Busch said. “Ritter is always thinking about his teammates and what we need to do to be better. The team looks up to him.”



            The junior class will prove to be the dominant force for the Wildcats as three multiple-NCAA champions return for action, along with one very talented newcomer.


            “We are returning three awesome swimmers from this class, all national champions,” Busch said. “The juniors are very motivated and are really solid in what they do. They have great work ethic and they will really be counted on this year.”


Ivan Barnes is a six-time All-American and contributed to the first-place 400 medley relay at the NCAA Championships last year. He will continue to be strong in the breaststroke events and will lead the team as one of the captains.


            Albert Subirats is a seven-time all-American, and swam in three of Arizona’s championship relays. Coming off of a successful summer of competition, Subirats is ranked internationally in the butterfly events.


            A five-time first-team All-American and NCAA Champion in the 400 medley relay, Nick Thoman looks to continue his dominance in the backstroke events after placing third individually in both the 100 and 200 back at the national championships. Thoman also holds the school record in the 200 back and was recently named to the World University Games team.


            Newcomer Darian Townsend will add more talent to the already strong junior class and provide depth to the freestyle events. Transferring to Arizona from the University of Florida, Townsend was part of the 2004 Olympic gold medal South African 400-meter free relay team that featured three former Arizona swimmers. He is also a six-time All-American and the SEC 200 freestyle champion.


Matt Biel is another force among the junior class and a veteran distance freestyle contender. Biel finished 10th in the 1650 free and 14th in the 500 free at the Pac-10 Championship last year, and hopes to make it to the NCAA Championships this year for the first time in his career.



            The sophomore class will be expected to put their experience as collegiate athletes to good use this season, as Coach Busch hopes to qualify more of them for NCAA’s in next spring.


            “These guys all had tremendous summers,” Busch said. “They have all come a long way since last season and we are counting on them not only to make it to the meet this year, but to hopefully put points on the board as well.”


            Joining the Wildcats late in the 2005-06 season, Nicolas Olivera (Nilo) was the only swimmer from his class to qualify for last year’s NCAA Championships. Nilo also competed at the Pan-Pacific Games for Brazil this summer where he finished sixth in the ?'B’ final of the 100-meter free. With his accomplishments over the past year, Nilo is expected to be a top-contender in the freestyle events for Arizona.


            David Pursley is expected to be strong in the individual medley and distance freestyle events, as he finished seventh in the 1650 free at the Pac-10 Championships. Josh Arreguin, Ryan Richardson and Brandon Selts will also add to the freestyle events.



            The 2006-07 freshmen class is one of the strongest recruiting classes Arizona has ever had, bringing both talent and experience to the team.


            “This class is going to have such great room for improvement and participation,” Busch said. “Every one of these young guys comes in with credentials.”


Included in the mix are Jake Tapp, a native of Langley, British Colombia, who holds provincial state records in the 100 and 200 back, and Jordan Smith, who made national cuts this summer.


            Joel Greenshields is a talented freestyle competitor, as he participated in the Pan-Pacific trials, was a member of the Junior Pan Pacific team and was part of the 2006 Canadian-Australian Tour.


Jack Brown and Jean Basson both swam at the Commonwealth Games and, according to Busch, are moving up in the world rankings as far as freestyle events are concerned. Tyler Svendsen, a Colorado state champion in the 100 and 200 free, will contribute to the freestyle events as well, while Scott Jackson and Tucson native Bryan O’Connor are expected to contribute the backstroke and IM events, respectively.



            The Arizona men’s diving squad will also feature solid experience along with two promising additions this season.


            “The men’s team is very strong this year,” head diving coach Michele Mitchell said. “We have two great divers and a really strong team dynamic this season.”

            Junior Matt Bisordi will lead the Cats, returning to competition after utilizing a medical redshirt in 2005-06. Competing for the first year as a Wildcat, Bisordi is expected to be a top-contender in the Pac-10 conference,


            Mitchell will count on Mike Guilfoil to help lead the team to a successful season. An incoming freshman, he is expected to make a splash after competing internationally since he was 13. Also, junior Craig Sheedy was a state meet contender in 2004, and is predicted be strong on both spring board events as well.


            “Both Mike and Matt should get the NCAA Championships,”  Mitchell said. “Each of these guys could win Pac-10 titles and are going to forces in every competition we have.”


Arizona’s Next Action - The men's and women's teams will travel to Los Angeles, Calif. on Nov. 10-11 to take on USC and UCLA for the first conference competitions of the season. Dual-meet action will begin at 2 p.m. (PST) against the Trojans at the McDonald's Swim Stadium and at 1 p.m. on Sat., Nov. 11 versus the Bruins (women only).

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