Nov. 2, 2002
TUCSON, Ariz. - The Arizona Men's and Women's swimming and diving teams opened their official season this afternoon in completely different fashions. The Wildcat women justified their ninth place ranking by defeating Wisconsin 94-90. Arizona State and the Mexican National Team also participated in the event, but did not compete against the Cats. Beth Botsford, Emily Mason and Jessica Wagner all claimed victories in their respective events. On the other hand, the Wildcat men, which have been decimated by injuries as of late, fell to defending SEC champion Auburn, Wisconsin and the Mexican National Team. The men only were able to score 24 total points. One of the lone bright spots was junior Juan Veloz who won the 200y butterfly in the time of 1:48.29. All of today's festivities took place at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center on the University of Arizona campus.
The Arizona women's diving team excelled in both the one and three meter platforms. Senior Jennifer Hess won the three-meter event by accruing 300.50 points. Following right behind Hess in the rankings was junior All-American Claire Febvay (283.65 pts).
The most impressive squad of the day was the ninth ranked Arizona women's swimmers. Senior All-American Beth Botsford claimed victory in the 200y backstroke (2:00.34). Also, junior Emily Mason won the 200y fly when she touched the wall in 2:03.09. Garnering second place in this event was superb freshman Lisa Pursley (2:05.76). In the first event of the afternoon, the Wildcat swimmers set the tone with a victory in the 400y medley relay (3:44.67). In addition to winning, the quartet of Botsford, Wagner, Pursley and senior April Beltran achieved an NCAA qualifying time.
While the Wildcat men's squad as a whole was only able to score 24 points, a few swimmers stood out in their individual events. Junior Juan Veloz won the 200y butterfly in a time of 1:48.29. Veloz, already the school record holder in this event, looked very impressive in the season's first meet. Junior All-American Greg Owen finished third in the 200y breaststroke by touching the wall in 2:04.63.
After a few weeks off to rest, both the men's and women's teams return to action on November 22nd and 23rd. Each squad begins Pacific-10 Conference competition, however the men take on USC and the women will battle UCLA.