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Wildcat Women and Men's Divers Travel to Pac-10 Championships
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 02/25/2003
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Feb. 25, 2003

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What's Happening in the Pool This Week?: All of the Wildcat women's roster and the men's diving squad travel to Federal Way, Wash. for the 2003 Pac-10 Championships. At last year's proceedings, freshman Emily Mason set a meet record in the 500y freestyle and the 'Cats won two different relay events. The Wildcat men divers are hoping to finish similar to last year, when they occupied four of the top five slots in the platform event. Joining the Wildcats in this year's field is Oregon State, UCLA, USC, Stanford, California, Arizona State, Washington and Washington State. Of the nine teams in the competition, seven teams are currently nationally ranked, with five being in the top 10. The championships, which are being hosted by California, are going to be held at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center. This year's championships boast 27 All-Americans, including Arizona's Emily Mason, Jessica Wagner, Beth Botsford, as well as National Swimmer of the Year, California sophomore Natalie Coughlin. 15 NCAA Championships were won last year by the scheduled competitors in this weekend's event. Preliminaries kick off on Thursday at 11 am, with finals commencing at 6 pm.

Last Dip in the Water: Both Arizona men and women's swimming and diving squads defeated intra-state rival Arizona State on Feb. 15 during Senior Day from the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center. The Wildcat women led by three victories from sophomore Emily Mason and two apiece from juniors Jessica Wagner and Claire Febvay and freshman Lisa Pursley, squashed the Sun Devils, 166-131. Arizona's women raised their record to 6-3, 4-1 in the Pac-10.

The 'Cats women have now defeated Arizona State for six consecutive years.

Junior Jessica Wagner dominated Saturday's action with wins in both the 100 and 200y breast. Wagner completed the 100y breast in 1:02.87, and the 200y in 2:17.68.

Elsewhere, Emily Mason continued to leave her competition in the dust as she accrued three victories during the competition. Mason won the second event in the meet, the 1000y free, in a time of 10:16.25. Mason, who is the defending Pac-10 Champ in the 500y free, was victorious in that event as well (5:00.81). She topped off her fantastic day with a win in the 200y IM (2:07.59)

For the Wildcat divers, Febvay continued her string of victories at home with wins in both the 1 and 3-meter platform events. She tallied 181.10 points in the 1-meter and 199 in the 3-meter, en route to multiple victories. For the Wildcat men, junior Josh Anderson placed second in both the 1 and 3-meterwith scores of 206 and 223.05, respectively.

Arizona's men's squad also won their meet, but only after a furious comeback in the final two events, allowing them to edge the Sun Devils, 150-149. Arizona's first dual meet victory was not looking promising with two events remaining in the meet, as the 'Cats trailed 141-121.

However, the trio of freshman Dave Rollins, junior Juan Veloz and senior Jeff Dash claimed the top three spots in the 200y IM with times of 1:52.34, 1:52.38 and 1:52.67, reducing Arizona's deficit to only seven.

Arizona closed the meet by finishing both first and third in the final event to give the team a one-point victory. The Wildcat quartet of freshmen Simon

Burnett and Lyndon Ferns and juniors Luis Rojas and Eric la Fleur posted first with a time of 2:59.27 and Arizona juniors Zack Ferguson, Veloz, sophomore Dan Wimer and Dash placed third by touching the wall in 3:08.54.

Saturday's win avenges last year's defeat at the hands of the Sun Devils for the Wildcat men (1-6, 1-3 in Pac-10), as well as it marks their first dual meet victory of the season.

In total, twelve different Wildcats won events throughout the action on Feb. 15 including junior Luis Rojas, sophomore Jessica Hayes, and senior Beth Botsford, among many others. Freshmen Lyndon Ferns won each of the individual events in which he competed, the 50 and 100y free.

Coach Busch's Latest Accomplishment: Frank Busch has been selected to help coach the United States team at the 200X Fina World Swimming Championships in Barcelona, Spain. This year's championships will take place from July 13-27. Busch will serve as an assistant coach for the women's squad. Busch, who was honored as the NCAA Coach of the Year in 1993, last coached at the World Championships in 1998. In his career, he has made numerous coaching appearances at the international level, six at the World Championships alone.

Busch is no stranger to other international competition. In fact, Busch helmed the 1997 Pan-Pacific Games squad, and he has also been named the 1998 US Olympic Committee National Coach of the Year, among many other honors.

"It's a very prestigious honor. Outside of the Olympics, the World Championships are the most important event in the sport," said Busch.

Coaches for the World Championships are chosen by vote by the athletes who are slated to participate in the games.

International Competitors: Joining Busch at the World Championships is a multitude of Arizona swimmers. Current Arizona swimmer, junior Juan Veloz, a champion at the 2002 Central American Games, will be swimming for Mexico. Sophomore Emily Mason, who earned valuable international experience at the 2002 Pan-Pacific Games, will represent the United States.

Elsewhere, senior Beth Botsford will participate in the forthcoming Pan-American Games.

Arizona alumna, and former NCAA and Olympic Champion, Amanda Beard also intends to swim for the United States in Barcelona. Beard has been training with the Wildcats for the Championships for the balance of the year.

Wildcat Swimmers Nationally: Major swimming websites post a list of the best times accrued nationally in virtually every event, which analyze what teams and individuals have dominated the scene that particular season. Similarly, every year many Arizona swimmers and divers populate this list, and this year is no exception. Leading the way for the Wildcat men is junior Juan Veloz. Veloz's swim at the Texas Invitational in December in the 200y fly of 1:42.78 ranks first among any other time posted this season. The All-American Junior has also posted the 16th best time in the 400y IM (3:53.04). Elsewhere, senior Jeff Dash and junior Luis Rojas both find themselves in the top 75 times in the 100y fly. Dash sits in the 27th position (49.04) while Rojas currently occupies the 39th slot (49.26). Lastly, junior Eric la Fleur's performance in the 100y free at the Texas Invitational accrued him a slot on the list of best times. la Fleur touched the wall in 44.21, good enough for 13th overall.

Senior Beth Bostford leads a multitude of swimmers for the women's squad on this prestigious index. Botsford leads all others in the 200y back (1:54.67) and she ranks second only to National Swimmer of the Year Natalie Coughlin in the 100y back with her time of 53.25. However, Botsford's prowess is not limited to only the backstroke, as evidenced by her sixth-place time in the 100y fly and 22nd rank in the 200y fly with times of 53.94 and 2:00.10, respectively. Joining Botsford on the list of best times in the 200y fly is junior Emily Mason who occupies the sixth position (1:57.85). Mason also ranks 12th in the 200y IM (2:01.48) and ninth in the 400y IM (4:14.17). In the end though, Mason's best placement comes in the 500y freestyle. Her time of 4:39.07 ranks her second to the aforementioned Natalie Coughlin.

Arizona Media Information: For any information regarding either of the Arizona Swimming and Diving Teams, contact Elliot Magruder in the Arizona Media Relations Office at (520) 621-0913. Those interested in obtaining full copies of releases or statistics may do so at www.arizonaathletics.com. For those interested in recieving each Arizona release via e-mail, contact Elliot Magruder at bosox@email.arizona edu, upon addition to the e-mail list, one would recieve each publication dispatched regarding Arizona Swimming upon its initial release

Summarizing the Wildcat Women's Season: To better preview the upcoming Pac-10 Championships, the Pac-10 office has released a brief summary of Arizona's season, to be included in the program. The following is excerpts of the aforementioned synopsis:

Arizona comes to Federal Way as the No. 6 team in the nation, hoping to improve upon last year's third-place finish ... The Wildcats look to capture their second-ever Pac-10 title ... Head coach Frank Busch returns some of the nation's top swimmers in senior Beth Botsford and sophomore Emily Mason ... Both Botsford and Mason have ranked nationally in various events this season ... Botsford ranks second in the 100 back with a time of 53.25, while Mason occupies the sixth position in the 200 fly with a time of 1:57.85 ... As a freshman, Mason set a new Pac-10 record in the 500 free with a time of 4:38.79 ... UA performed well in last year's relay events, capturing the 400 free and 800 free relay titles ... Also look for All-American junior Jessica Wagner to score points for the Wildcats ... Wagner finished seventh in the 100 breast at the 2002 Pac-10 Championships.

All-Time Wildcat Greats: USA Swimming recently released an updated list of both the Top 15 performers and Top 15 performances ever registered on yards courses. Not surprisingly, current Arizona swimmers, as well as numerous alumni, appear quite frequently on both lists. All in all, of the Top 15 all time, Arizona women have sixth of the best performances and 12 of the best performers. Topping the list for the Wildcat women is alumna Christy Ahmann-Leighton who ranks as the fifth best performer ever in the 100y fly. Ahmann-Leighton's record setting swim came at the 1992 NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas, when she touched the wall in 51.75. Dotting the index among current Wildcats are senior Beth Botsford and sophomore Emily Mason. Botsford ranks as the sixth best all time performer in the 200y back with her swim at the 2001 Texas Invitational (1:53.76) and 12th in the 100y back when she touched the wall in 53.25 at the 2002 Texas Invitational. Wildcat Women like alumna Sarah Tolar, Olympic Champion Amanda Beard, Trina Jackson, among others are included in this prestigious register.

The same level of prowess on a historical level is exhibited by the Arizona men's swimmers as well. On the current index, the Wildcat men have lodged 13 of the Top performances and ten of the best performers all time. Topping the list are Arizona alumnus Roland Schoeman and Chad Carvin, who are both former NCAA Champions. Schoeman's championship winning swim at the 2002 NCAA's ranks as the third fastest ever (19.06). Schoeman also currently occupies three slots on the Top 15 for the 50y free. Similar to Schoeman, alumni Chad Carvin's swim of 4:11.59 at the 1994 NCAA Championships in Minneapolis, Minn. is good enough for second all time. In total, the Wildcats occupy 5 slots on this prestigious list, with Carvin owning three spots and former NCAA Champions Ryk Neethling and Mariusz Podkoscieiny each taking up one slot.

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