March 19, 2009
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Arizona women's swimming and diving team began its quest today to repeat as champions. Kicking off the prelims this morning, the Arizona 200 free relay team of Lara Jackson, Justine Schluntz, Emma Darlington and Taylor Baughman turned in the fourth fastest time overall with a 1:27.47 showing. Cal was tops with a time of 1:27.05.
In the 500 freestyle, Alyssa Anderson posted a time of 4:40.57, just missing out on qualifying for the championship heat, but placed thirteenth overall to earn a consolation final bid.
Arizona, who qualified eight swimmers into the 200 individual medley for NCAA's, placed four in the top 16 including Julie Stupp, who swam a fifth place time of 1:55.81. Annie Chandler turned in the 11th fastest time with a 1:57.02 followed by teammates Jenny Forster in 12th with a time of 1:57.16 and Hailey DeGolia's 14th place time of 1:57.18.
In the 50 freestyle, commonly known as the `fastest women in the water event', American record holder Lara Jackson had the fastest heat time with a 21.75. Also placing into the top 16 was Justine Schluntz with a time of 22.25. Just missing the top 16 was Lindsey Kelly whose time of 22.26 was a hundredth of a second slower than Schluntz's.
Closing preliminary action, Arizona won the 400 medley relay prelim with the foursome of Ana Agy, Annie Chandler, Dana Christ and Taylor Baughman posting a time of 3:29.89. Chandler had an impressive split time of 57.73
So far among the top competitors for this year's championship, No. 4 Arizona has two swimmers in championship heats and five swimmers in consolation finals. No. 2 Georgia has five swimmers in championship heats but no participants in any consolation finals. No. 9 Cal will have four swimmers in championship heats and one participant in a consolation. Arizona's seven swimmers competing in tonight's individual events are the most from any one school.
What to watch for tonight:
200 free relay Final - Arizona, the reigning American and NCAA record holder, will try and defend its title. Look for Jackson to possibly break her current American record time of 21.33 on the lead off leg.
200 Individual Medley Consols and Finals - The Wildcats have four swimmers in the top 16 with Julie Stupp in the championship final. In the consolation final, Annie Chandler, Jenny Forster and Hailey DeGolia will all be in action.
50 Freestyle - Will 2008 individual NCAA champion Lara Jackson repeat as champion in 2009? We'll find out tonight.
400 Medley Relay Final - Relay wins were the driving force behind last year's national championship, will the same be true in 2009?
Finals begin tonight at 7 p.m. CST