March 8, 2003
LONG BEACH, Calif. - After failing to win any individual events on Saturday, the No. 16 University of Arizona men's swimming squad slipped one spot to finish fifth in the 2003 Pac-10 Championships with 392.5 pts. Stanford won the event with 879 pts, and California claimed second by accruing 730.5 pts. USC and Arizona State rounded out the top five with 619 and 439 points, respectively.
Despite dropping one place in the standings on Saturday, several Wildcats recorded notable performances. Junior Greg Owen led the way with a fourth-place finish in the 200y breast when he touched the wall in 1:59.37, a time which qualified as an NCAA "B" consideration standard.
Elsewhere, junior Juan Veloz swam exceptionally fast in the 200y fly, en route to a fourth-place finish (1:45.46). Veloz currently holds the fastest time in the nation in this event.
The Wildcats had two swimmers place in the championship final of the 100y free. Junior Eric la Fleur dictated the pace with a seventh place finish (44.03), freshman Lyndon Ferns followed one spot behind when he registered a time of 44.05.
The 'Cats 400y free relay quartet also posted an impressive fashion on Saturday. Ferns opened the race, he was followed by la Fleur, fellow freshman Simon Burnett and then in the anchor leg, junior transfer Luis Rojas. Arizona's four swimmers swam to a third-place mark in a time of 2:55.26.
In other action, USC's Erik Vendt won his third straight 1650y freestyle championship, in a Pac-10 record time. Vendt's Saturday effort of 14:35.97 eclipses former Wildcat Ryk Neethling's previous record time.
Both the Arizona men's and women's squads receive a week off before their respective NCAA Championships begin. After the brief respite, the Wildcat women travel to Auburn, Ala. March 20-23 for the NCAA's. The following week Arizona's men go to Austin, Texas for their final meet, the NCAA Championships.