Atlanta, Ga. - The Arizona men’s swimming and diving team completed the first day of competition at the 2006 NCAA Championships in second place with 136.5 points after taking the second national relay title in school history and setting three new school records.
The team of sophomores Nick Thoman, Ivan Barnes, Albert Subirats and junior Adam Ritter took the 400 medley relay crown setting a new school and pool record with a time of 3:06.08. This is the first national relay title Arizona has seen since 1993 when the Wildcats won the 200 medley relay.
“Everyone had a job to do and we did it tonight,” Ritter said. “I’ve gotten two second (places) tonight and I definitely wanted to come in and get a gold, we were all definitely ready to win it.”
“I feel great about this team’s performance today. We set three school records, almost four, and the guys were all working really hard,” head swimming coach Frank Busch said. “The last relay was fabulous. I didn’t know exactly how we were going to come out; I just know that I felt really good about where we were. After Nick started us off really well and Ivan swam a great leg, I knew were going to be ok because Albert ran the team ahead of us (Northwestern) down in his leg and they didn’t have an anchor like we had to finish the race (Ritter).”
“It was a lot of fun winning the national title,” Thoman said. “When I saw Adam dive in on the last leg and go after that Northwestern guy, I knew we were going to get it.”
“(To get ahead) I was focusing on my own race, Ritter said. “I knew I had the speed and I was hungry for the national championship because I missed it twice today and we have only won one before in our school’s history, so to get another one was pretty big.”
Starting out tonight’s action was the 200 free relay team of seniors Simon Burnett, Lyndon Ferns, Subirats and Ritter, who set a new school record, while finishing second with a time of 1:16.54.
In the consolation finals of the 500 freestyle, senior Tyler DeBerry finished eighth in the heat and 16th overall with a time of 4:23.02.
Ritter, who broke the school record in the 200 individual medley during prelims, finished second in the championship finals of the race with a time of 1:44.20, as senior Dave Rollins finished fifth in the event with a time of 1:44.75.
In the 50 freestyle, Burnett finished third with a time of 19.32, while Ferns tied for fourth-place with George Bovell of Auburn with a time of 19.34.
“For tomorrow we need to keep our eye on the ball,” said Busch. “We need to stay focused on what we are doing; this is only the second session of six. We have to be really good tomorrow morning. If you’re not good in prelims, then finals don’t mean anything.”
Competition will resume tomorrow at the Georgia Tech Aquatic center with preliminary action beginning at 12 p.m. (EST) and finals starting at 7 p.m.
Team Scores Through Event 6
- Auburn 178.5
- Arizona 136.5
- Stanford 132
- Florida 97
- Texas 82
- Cal 72
- USC 63
- Northwestern 60.5
- Georgia 52
- Minnesota 50