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Swim and Dive Prepare for Season Opener against Wisconsin and UCSB
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 11/01/2006
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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 Women’s Season Preview ?-

            The University of Arizona women’s swimming and diving team is on the prowl again with aspirations of having another successful season in 2006-07. The women will feature a blend of experience and youth, returning eight All-Americans, two redshirts and nine newcomers.

           

            At last year’s NCAA Championships, 15 swimmers and one diver accumulated 40 All-American honors for a third-place finish while tallying two individual titles by senior Whitney Myers and three relay victories. Also in 2006, the women captured their second conference title in school history as they posted a total of four individual champions and three relay champions.        

 

            According to head swimming coach Frank Busch, the women have potential to reach great heights again this season, despite the loss of three NCAA champions and seven seniors who helped lead Arizona to a successful 2005-06 season.

 

            However, Busch indicated that the women still have a great deal of experience and talent returning to the squad, including four NCAA champions and 11 NCAA qualifiers.

 

            “It’s hard to graduate great athletes like we had and expect to have the experience to fill it,” Busch said. “But we have three girls that were on the national team and did great things over the summer, so I would say that our strength is that the (returnees) bring their accomplishments and I believe that they will do a great job of leading the team just through their actions.”

 

            Yet along with returning talent, the Cats will look to the underclassmen to step-up and fill in for the seniors lost.

 

            “I think that we are probably deeper this season than we have been because we have more people that can participate in all events,” Busch said.  “For instance, in certain events that we were not particularly strong in before, we have people to put there now. For example we now have someone to put in the distance freestyle. I think we will be able to score a lot more evenly over three days of championship competition and we will be a lot more competitive throughout the entire meet.”

 

Seniors

            Three swimmers and two divers comprise the five-member senior class that is expected to lead the Wildcats this season. Four-time national champion Whitney Myers will be a focal point for Arizona’s success.

 

            Myers is ready to continue her domination of the IM and butterfly events after setting two school records at the NCAA Championships last year. Myers won both the 200 and 400 IM, and contributed to two first-place relays. At the Pac-10 Championships, she took the title in the 400 IM and was named the Pac-10 Women’s Swimmer of the Year.

 

            Myers also has some impressive international experience, as she recently participated at the Pan-Pacific Games over the summer and won the 200-meter IM, while finishing second in the ?'B’ final of the 100-meter fly (59.35).

 

            “Whitney is in her third year of being a captain and she has been very good,” Busch said. “She is someone that expects effort and performance from her teammates. The fact that she is one of the top swimmers in the world, I think adds to Whitney’s very high confidence level. I know that she has really high aspirations for this season. She is a very hard worker and I think she enjoys the competitive aspect of what we do.”

 

            Also included in the senior mix are Kathryn Elofson, who will contribute to the freestyle events, and Emily Strouse, who placed sixth in the 400 IM at the 2006 Pac-10 Championships and will continue to participate in the IM and butterfly events.

 

Juniors

            The junior class also features a great deal of experience, as three All-Americans, two of whom are NCAA champions, return to help lead the squad.

 

            Captain Lacey Nymeyer, a six-time first-team All-American in 2006, swam in all three of the first-place relays for Arizona, while finishing in the top-eight of the 50, 100 and 200 free.             Nymeyer also had an outstanding summer of international competition as she was a two-time gold medalist for team U.S.A. at the Pan-Pacific Games, including swimming the anchor leg of the 400 free relay that set an American record.

 

            Courtney Cashion is among the returnees that top the list of contenders for the Cats, earning six All-American honors along with two NCAA Championship relay titles in 2006. Cashion also competed for team U.S.A. at the summer Pan-Pacific Games and will continue to help dominate the sprint freestyle events.

 

            “Lacey and Courtney are two of the best freestylers in the country and they both had tremendous summers,” Busch said. “They have been through two NCAA Championships, are multiple NCAA relay champions and both were on the national team, so these two are veterans. These girls bring a lot of talent to this team and they produce.”

 

            Jacquelyn Craft is also a junior expected to boost the breaststroke events after recieving honorable mention All-American honors in the 100 breast with a 15th-place at the NCAA Championships last year.

 

Sophomores

            Seven sophomores made a splash last season as each of them qualified for the NCAA Championships. While only two scored as freshmen, Busch said the meet gave them experience which they can use to their advantage this season.

 

            “The sophomore class is out to prove their worth a little bit. We took a lot of them to NCAAs last year, but I think that was more of an experience builder for them. That’s a real motivational factor for them because now that they know what it’s like to be there, they want to be counted on to perform.”

 

            Anna Turner is among the top swimmers in the freestyle events, posting three All-American honors in 2006, including one NCAA Championship relay title, as well as two Pac-10 relay titles. Lara Jackson is also expected to be competitive in the butterfly and freestyle events, as she swam the third leg of the second-place 200 medley relay at NCAAs, which also finished first at the Pac-10 Championships.

 

            Freestyler Taylor Baughman will add depth to the sprint events as well after an impressive freshman year of contributing to one conference relay title and competing at the summer Senior Nationals where she was part of the 400 free relay championship team. Lindsey Kelly, another 2006 NCAA qualifier, is expected to continue her excellence in the sprint freestyle events. Justine Schluntz is set to return after a medical redshirt freshman year and will primarily swim the distance freestyle events.

 

            Jessica Embick is expected to step up her performance in the breaststroke events after an NCAA appearance where she finished 13th in the 100 breast and a successful summer where she was named to the World University Games team.

           

            Kathryn Thompson and Hailey DeGolia brings versatile experience for the women, as both participated at the NCAA Championships last spring. Thompson will compete in the IM and backstroke events, while DeGolia will contribute to the IM and breaststroke.

 

Freshmen

            According to Coach Busch, the freshmen, though young, have a lot of experience competing at a higher level and will add versatility and depth to the team.

 

            “This is a very talented class, and with that talent we have experience too,” Busch said. “They have been in national meets and swam in some pretty big competitions, so they are going to make an impact on what we do at NCAAs. The more they develop, the better the team will be.”

 

            Among the newcomers are Annie Chandler,  a three-time state champion in the 100 breast, who is expected to excel in the breaststroke events, and Caitlin Iversen who, according to Busch, was a very fast backstroke recruit for the Wildcats after accumulating six Colorado state titles.

 

            Andrea Boritzke will dominate in the IM and butterfly events as she swam her way to 16 state titles and never losing a race during her high school career. Ana Agy, who was a two-time Utah State Senior Female Swimmer of the Year, will contribute to the butterfly events as well. Jenny Forster, who was an Ohio state champion in the 200 IM is expected to be a competitive force for the Wildcats, and Joni Zimmerman will bring talent to the distance freestyle events, as she finished second in the 1000 and 1650 free (SC) at the 2006 Junior Nationals.

 

Diving

            On the diving side, two seniors bring experience to the women’s squad to help bring along two strong underclassmen.

 

            Seniors Megan MacDonald and Holy Kast will lead the team as MacDonald placed in the top-16 of all three diving events at the Pac-10 Championships and Kast finished 14th in the platform competition.

           

            Along with the senior leaders, sophomore Allison Scaife is expected to contribute to all three diving events as well.

 

            Among the newcomers, freshman Kristina Draper was a district qualifier for diving her freshman and sophomore years at Woodinville High School in Washington, while junior Sara Hershman was a two-time Illinois state champion.

 

            “This team has a great dynamic and attitude this season,” head diving coach Michele Mitchell said. “The girls’ confidence is really high and they are really pulling together as a team. We have a great combination of senior leadership and two really strong underclassmen that will have successful seasons.

 

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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