March 23, 2011
What: No. 6 Arizona swimming and diving closes its 2010-11 season with the 2011 NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships.
When: Thursday, March 24 through Saturday, March 26
Where: University Aquatic Center – Minneapolis, Minn.
Live Results: http://www.star-meets.org/results/NCAA/2011%20Men/
Live Blog: Access the Arizona interactive “CoverItLive” blog by clicking the first article on the men’s swimming and diving page tomorrow.
Live Video: Live free video for all preliminary sessions and Thursday’s finals is available here. Streaming video for Friday and Saturday evenings finals will be available at ESPN3.com
--Final Meet with Frank
This weekend’s championships will mark six-time NCAA Coach of the Year Frank Busch’s final competition with Arizona. In 22 seasons in Tucson, Busch has transformed Arizona into a national swimming powerhouse and won the program’s first NCAA Championship on both the men’s and women’s sides in 2008. Busch will begin work with USA Swimming as the National Team Director in May.
--A Year Later, Healthy
Last season, the Arizona men’s team entered the NCAA Championships as the top-ranked team looking to win its second championship in three seasons. The team was unfortunately stricken with a gastrointestinal virus but overcame it to finish third overall. Although the team lost eight seniors to graduation, the Wildcats are very eager to compete with a healthy body at NCAA’s.
--They’re Young Too
Like their female counterparts who featured eight underclassmen at last week’s women’s NCAA Championships including an all-freshmen 200 freestyle relay runner-up foursome, the Arizona men’s team only has one senior and a bevy of fast freshmen. Combined with a talented junior class with the likes of Cory Chitwood, Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or and Austen Thompson, the future is bright for Arizona Swimming and Diving.
--Who To Keep Your Eyes On Tomorrow
With three individual events and two relays, the Wildcats will be looking to score a plethora of points on Thursday.
In the 500 freestyle, freshman Matt Barber will be up against some experienced veterans in his heat in the likes of defending champion Conor Dwyer of Florida, Texas’ Jackson Wilcox and Stanford’s Chad La Tourette. But Barber’s a fighter and he’ll be looking to score in his first season at NCAA’s.
If there was one event at last year’s NCAA’s in Columbus where Arizona earmarked more points than it scored due to illness, it was the 200 individual medley. This year, the Wildcats will be looking to get it back with five swimmers in the event all capable of scoring points. In addition to Cory Chitwood and Austen Thompson in heat five, don’t be surprised if usual freestyler Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or puts up a fast time in the I.M. that earns a night swim in heat four. It won’t be easy though as the field is loaded with an abundance of talented I.M.’ers.
Arizona’s fastest sprinter, Adam Small, will be looking to earn All-America honors again in the splash and dash. Can he catch Roland Schoeman’s school record time of 19.06? Also watch out for Indian River JC transfer Kelley Wyman in this event as well. Wyman, a breaststroker by trade, has excellent speed and won’t fade under the bright lights. Freshman Mitchell Friedemann, a Wisconsin native, will be looking to use his expertise of Minnesota’s pool to his advantage. California’s Nathan Adrian has thrown down the fast sprint time of 18.91 this season.
Typical of Arizona, they’ve held as many swimmers back from shaving and tapering as possible for the NCAA Championships, so don’t let the psyche sheet fool you. The Cats will again be gunning for spots in the championship heats in both the 200 free and 400 medley relays. As for the lineup, check out the live interactive blog tomorrow for lineups.