Jan. 22, 2009
Date: Friday/Saturday, Jan. 23/24, 2009
Time: 2 p.m/12. MST
Location: Hillenbrand Aquatic Center, Tucson, Ariz.
The Wildcats continue its spring schedule when it hosts Bay Area rivals California and Stanford. The Cats will face California on Friday, Jan. 23 beginning at 2 p.m. On Saturday, Arizona will swim against Stanford beginning at noon. Both meets will be at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center.
Last Time Out
The Wildcats swam quite the eclectic race, mixing up lengths as well as swimmers in the respective events. When it was all said and done, the women won 168-128 while the men won 183.5-140.5.
Scouting the Golden Bears
The California men enter today's dual meet ranked fifth in the country, just behind Arizona. Over the winter break, the team took to Colorado Springs to train at the USA Swimming facilites. Prior to winter break, the men won the Husky Invitational. The women from Berkeley are ranked No. 4 and spent the break training in Hawaii. So far on the season, 17 Cal women has achieved personal bests.
Scouting the Cardinal
The Stanford men are currently No. 2 in the latest poll and will be looking for revenge when they make the trip to Tucson. The Wildcats gave the Cardinal its only loss in 2008 and beat them out for the NCAA crown. On the women's side, Stanford has beaten Arizona five straight dual meets dating back to the 2004 season. Although Arizona lost the dual meet though, they went onto to take the Pac-10 and NCAA titles. Like their male counterparts, the Stanford women are ranked second overall.
Freshman sensation Alyssa Anderson has been impressive to say the least thus far in her collegiate career. Anderson just missed keeping her streak of winning at least one event in each dual meet alive when her time in the 150 free was exhibitioned due to Arizona's overall lead in points.
Record Breaking Agy
Ana Agy has put a stranglehold on the Arizona women's backstroke competition's this season. The Park City, Utah native set new school records in the 100 and 200 backstroke during the Texas Invite, in the process breaking Beth Botsford's time that stood for eight years. Agy also showed she is not limited to just the backstroke, turning in the third fastest time in the 100 fly in the country at 51.74.
Long Distance Jean
Junior Jean Basson has established himself as the Arizona men's team top long distance swimmer. During the Texas Invite, Basson won the 500 freestyle with an "A" cut time of 4:13.10 (currently second fastest in the country this year) and finished runner-up in the 1650 freestyle. Basson is also the men's top performer in the 200 free, 500 free, 1000 free and 1650 free.
Depth, Depth and More Depth
It speaks to the quality of the Arizona swimming program to be able to have the type of depth the women's team displays this season. The women currently have at least one swimmer with a top five time in the country in 17 of the 18 events they have competed in this season. Moreover, Arizona currently holds the top times in the country in seven events including three of the relays.
23 Automatic Berths
During the Texas Invitational, Arizona earned 23 NCAA Automatic Qualifying berths. Those earning "A" cut times include: Jean Basson, Bryan O'Connor, Jack Brown, men's 200y free relay, Lara Jackson, Justine Schluntz, Ana Agy, Andrea Boritzke, Jenny Forster, Annie Chandler, Julie Stupp, and four of the five relay teams for the women. For the complete list, reference the 2008-09 Top Performers list.
The men's team has 14 true freshmen on the roster for the 2008-09 and even though they are inexperienced, the youngsters are certainly living up to the high expectations so far. Freshman AJ Tipton is UA's top performer in both the 100 and 200 fly with times of 46.74 and 1:42.48, respectively. Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or looks to challenge in the freestyle competitions and Austen Thompson is holding his own in the individual medley events.
Top Sports Figure of 2008
Head Coach Frank Busch was recognized last week as the Arizona Daily Star's top sports figure of 2008. Last season Busch won his first two NCAA titles in the span of a week, served as an assistant coach on the U.S. Olympic swimming team and was inducted into the American Swim Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Still Work To Do
Although Arizona has 23 NCAA "A" cut times, the men only account for six of the 23 berths. Of the six berths for the men, Jean Basson and Bryan O'Connor each have two for Arizona, Jack Brown has one "A" cut time in the 400 IM and the men's 200 free relay team has secured a berth. Look for the spring additions of Olympians Nicolas Nilo and Joel Greenshields to boost the team overall.
Swimmer of the Month
Lara Jackson was named the Pac-10's Swimmer of the Month for the month of December. Jackson put on quite a performance during the first day of the Texas Invitational. The El Paso, Texas native began the day by swimming the first leg of the women's 200 free relay in which Arizona placed first and turned in an "A" cut time of 1:27.72. Next Jackson took to the 100 fly, setting a new school record, establishing an "A" cut time and finishing first. But LJ would save her best for last in the women's 50 free, setting a new American and NCAA record and blowing away the competition with a time of 21.33. Not a bad day.
Through the fall season and first event of the spring, Ben Grado, Andres Guerra and Ainsley Oliver look to be leading the diving team. Grado won the Wildcat Invitational one meter competition, the first event held at the new Kasser Family Diving Well, with an overall score of 392.65 to top divers from 14 various universities. Guerra, a freshman from Sugarland, Texas, won the Jan. 2 multi team one meter event against the likes of Washington, Air Force and Colorado School of the Mines. Oliver has led the women’s team with several zone standard clearing scores. Against West Virginia, Grado swept the men’s one and three meter events with scores of 389.40 and 403.28, respectively.
The women's relay teams were simply automatic during the Texas Invitational, that is in terms of NCAA Qualifying Standards. The women competed in four of the five relays, won three of the events including the 200 free relay, 200 medley relay and 400 medley relay and set NCAA Automatic Qualifying times in all four.
Cats in the Rankings: The Arizona men are currently ranked at No. 4 in the latest edition of the collegeswimming.com poll. The Arizona women are slotted at No. 7 with 249 points. Although the women won the prestigious Texas Invite, they still remain outside the top-five.
Head Coach Frank Busch
Entering his 20th year as head coach, Frank Busch has transformed the University of Arizona swimming and diving into one of the nation's most powerful programs.
The 2007-08 season was a breakthrough for Busch and his charges, as both the men's and women's swim teams captured NCAA championship, the first two in school history. Over the course of seven days the Wildcats used a team-first mantra to rise to the top of the collegiate swimming world in dominating fashion - the men prevailed by 94 points and the women triumphed by 136. The squads combined to win two individual national championships, eight relay national championships and earn a total of 57 All-America accolades.
For his efforts, Busch earned both the men's and women's NCAA Coach-of-the-Year accolades, an honor he has earned six times in his career. Busch's 2008 campaign was capped by a successful Olympic experience. He was named an assistant coach for the United States swim team, where a total of 15 of his current or former swimmers participated and represented seven different nations at the Beijing Games.
Hillenbrand Aquatic Center
The new state-of-the-art diving structure and pool features two 1-meter and three 3-meter Maxiflex Model "B" springboards on concrete short stands. The structure has platform heights of 3, 5, 7.5, and 10 meters, each with Rough-Tex surfacing. The pool has built-in spray surface agitation and an air-sparging system under all platforms and two of the 3-meter springboards.
New equipment such as the digital video replay systems for both the springboards and platforms are sure to be a welcomed addition to both divers and fans alike. Another amenity fans are sure to enjoy is the expandable seating made to accommodate over 800 fans, as well as the Colorado Timing Systems full-color, high-resolution scoreboard. In between dives, the competitors will have access to the new walk-in hot tub and on-deck hot showers so they can prepare for their next event.
The new diving pool is 25 meters across by 33 meters long, 17 feet deep, and holds 1.2 million gallons of water. It contains a fully recessed gutter system that is 12 inches from water line up to deck level. The pool was built to meet all NCAA and Olympic specifications for Swimming, Diving and Water Polo. This world class facility will surely be a key asset for the Wildcats in their quest for another NCAA championship.
Arizona will next be in action Jan. 30 when the team travels to Austin, Texas to face SMU and Texas in a dual meet.