Jan. 24, 2013
TUCSON, Ariz. – The Arizona swimming and diving team returns to the pool for perhaps its most difficult dual challenges to date with a pair of nationally ranked Pac-12 foes coming to town. The Wildcats will host Cal on Friday at 2 p.m. and Stanford on Saturday at noon at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center.
Friday’s meet against Cal will be televised on the Pac-12 Network with Ted Robinson and Summer Sanders on the call. The event will be shown on tape delay, Feb. 2.
The Arizona (3-1, 0-1 Pac-12) men, ranked No. 1 in the latest CSCAA top-25 poll, will open the weekend against No. 3 and two-time defending national champion, Cal (2-0). Meanwhile, the Stanford men enter the weekend ranked No. 9 nationally with a 2-0 dual record.
On the women’s side, Arizona (8-2, 2-2 Pac-12) comes into the weekend ranked No. 6 after sweeping a quad meet in its last competition on January 4. The Wildcats defeated Oregon State, Northern Arizona and New Mexico State in that meet. Cal, ranked No. 3 nationally, enters the weekend with a perfect 4-0 overall dual record on the season. The Bears are the two-time defending NCAA champions. Stanford comes in ranked No. 8 with a 3-1 overall dual record.
Arizona features sophomore Kevin Cordes, with the nation's top times in the 100 (51.10) and 200 breast (1:50.73). Both of those times are American records. The Wildcats also have the nation's top times in the 400 free (2:51.21), 200 medley (1:24.84) and 400 medley (3:05.69) relays. Last season, Arizona defeated Cal, 191-109, Jan. 20 at Spieker Aquatics Complex, and went on to finish fourth in the 2012 NCAA team standings with 396 points. The Wildcats also defeated Stanford in head to head competition last season.
The Wildcats are also led by Mitchell Friedemann, who owns the top 100 back time in the nation up to this point with a time of 45.93 and Giles Smith, who has the nation’s top time in the 100 fly with a time of 45.81.
On the diving side, freshman Rafael Quintero has been incredible so far this season. He is coming off a sweep of all three events (1m, 3m, platform) at the highly competitive UCLA Bruin Diving Invitational. Quintero has eight victories on the season up to this point.
Meanwhile, junior Margo Geer owns the top 50 free (21.82) and 100 free (47.16) in the country so far this season. In addition, her top 200 free time of 1.44.43 ranks fourth nationally. Senior Ellyn Baumgardner has the third fastest 100 breast time in the NCAA so far this year with a time of 58.86, while Lauren Smart has top-10 times in both the 100 back (52.57) and the 100 butterfly (52.49). Freshman Bonnie Brandon broke the school record in the 200 back earlier this season with a time of 1:51.49. The time currently ranks second in the country behind Elizabeth Pelton of Cal. Last season, Arizona was defeated by Cal but defeated Stanford in dual competition.
Junior Samantha Pickens just recently returned from an injury to win the 1m dive at the UCLA Bruin Invitational. Pickens finished third in the 3m and fourth in the 1m at last year’s NCAA Championships.
Following this weekend’s competition, Arizona will travel to Austin, Texas for a two-day meet against Texas and SMU, beginning on Feb. 1.
Cal returns 12 members from its 2012 national championship squad, including last year's individual NCAA champs Tom Shields (100 fly and 100 back), Will Hamilton (200 fly) and Marcin Tarczynski (200 IM). Josh Prenot owns the fastest 400 IM time in the country this season with a time of 3:41.36. Another standout freshman for the Bears is Jacob Pebley, who has the country's best mark in the 200 backstroke (1:41.62). Defending 200 fly national champion Will Hamilton owns the nation's top time in the 200 fly this season at 1:42.75, while Marcin Tarczynski, defending national champion in the 200 IM, is currently third nationally in that event at 1:44.36.
The Cal women are led by Tucson native Caitlin Leverenz, who won the Honda Sports Award winner for Swimming, while also claiming NCAA and Pac-12 Swimmer of the Meet and Pac-12 Swimmer of the Year in 2012. The two-time defending NCAA champ in the 100-yard backstroke, junior Cindy Tran brings the nation's fastest time in the 100 back (50.42, NCAA A). Freshman Elizabeth Pelton also holds the nation's fastest times in the 200 back (1:48.90, NCAA A) and 200 IM (1:53.39, NCAA A).
The Cardinal, who finished in third at last year’s NCAA Championships, feature 14-time All-Americans David Mosko and Bobby Bollier, 13-time All-American Curtis Lovelace and eight-time All-American Chad La Tourette. Stanford has several members with current top-10 times in the country including Matthew Swanston, who owns the fourth fastest time in the 200 back (1:42.54).
The Stanford women finished fourth in last year’s NCAA Championship, but had to replace several key seniors off last year’s squad. Stanford currently has eight individual top-10 times nationally including Maddy Schaefer’s third best time in the 50 free (22.18). The Cardinal also feature the third fastest 800 free relay team and the fourth fastest 400 free relay team.
For continued coverage of Arizona Wildcat swimming and diving, visit ArizonaWildcats.com and be sure to follow the team on Twitter @ArizonaSwimming.