Dec. 5, 2010
AUSTIN, Texas - During the third and final night of the Texas Hall of Fame Invitational at the Jamail Swimming Center, Arizona turned in arguably its best performance of the weekend, winning eight of the 12 total events while notching five NCAA automatic berths in the process.
Cory Chitwood got the winning ways started in his specialty, the 200 backstroke. The reigning NCAA individual champion in the event, Chitwood outpaced the field for a first-place, "A" cut time of 1:41.07. Freshman Michael Sheppard was second behind Chitwood, recording a 1:42.87 NCAA consideration cut.
Women's team freshman Margo Geer then won the 100 freestyle with a 48.51 first-place NCAA consideration time, currently the fastest time swum thus far in the country in the event. Sophomore Monica Drake placed fifth in the race with a consideration time of 49.46.
In the men's 100 freestyle, Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or took first-place with a time of 42.52. He was followed by four other Wildcats who all placed among the top eight, with four of the five, including Shapira Bar-Or, garnering NCAA consideration cuts.
In one of UA's most dominant events in recent years, the men's 200 breaststroke, head coach Frank Busch's respective group of Carl Mickelson, Austen Thompson and Kevin Munsch went 1-2-3 in the final heat with Mickelson winning the race in 1:55.45. All three achieved NCAA consideration status and rank among the fastest times in the country.
Up next, it was Alyssa Anderson lighting up the pool with an NCAA automatic cut, first-place time of 1:54.91 in the women's 200 butterfly, winning by over two seconds.
Anderson's male counterpart in the 200 butterfly, A.J. Tipton, then followed her performance up with an NCAA automatic cut time of his own as he won the men's race in 1:42.67, outpacing the field by nearly two seconds as well.
In the final relays of the Texas Invite, UA stayed in the "automatic" frame of mind, winning both the women's and men's races with "A" cut standards of 3:14.48 and 2:51.43, respectively.
On the women's relay, the team of Geer, Kait Flederbach, Grace Finnegan and Drake won with each splitting consistent times highlighted by Geer's 48.51 to lead things off and Drake's anchor leg of 48.55.
For the men, Shapira Bar-Or, Cam Owen, Nick Hadinger and Kelley Wyman comprised the UA-winning foursome. Hadinger, a Tucson-native, turned in an impressive third leg of the relay by splitting a 42.78, assuring he'll most likely make Arizona's NCAA roster this spring.
Arizona swimmers accrued 14 "A" cut times and won 18 events over the three-day meet. The team will now commence its winter-training regimen over the holidays before getting back to dual-meet racing the first week of January.