Feb. 28, 2013
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. – After an opening night victory in the 200 medley relay, the Arizona swimming and diving team followed that up with a pair of first place and a pair of second place finishes on day two of the Pac-12 Championships at Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center on Thursday.
The Cats opened the evening with second place finishes by Bonnie Brandon in the 500 free and by Samantha Pickens in the 3m diving competition. Arizona closed out the night with some excitement as Margo Geer claimed first place in the 50 free and the Wildcats claimed the 200 free relay title.
“The highlights tonight were Bonnie taking an Olympic silver medalist to the finish and coming in second as a freshman in the 500, Margo winning the 50, the 200 free relay team winning and the “B” team really stepping up too,” head coach Eric Hansen said. “For Samantha to miss winning the 3m by six tenths of a point shows what we are capable of in March. We are happy with the meet so far but we still have a lot of work left to do.”
The finals on Thursday got off to a good start for the Cats as Bonnie Brandon, who qualified first in the 500 freestyle prelims, took second place in the finals with a time of 4:38.93. Brandon came on strong in the last 50 yards but she finished just behind Olympic silver medalist Haley Anderson of USC, who won the event in 4:38.79.
Meanwhile, in the diving competition, Stephanie Phipps of Stanford just edged out Samantha Pickens of Arizona in the 3m finals. Phipps finished with 345.20 points to narrowly defeat Pickens, who came in second with 344.60 points.
Arizona junior Margo Geer finished first in the 50 free prelims and she did not disappoint in the finals as she posted a winning time of 21.78 to claim Arizona’s first individual gold medal of the meet. Geer became the first Arizona swimmer to win the 50 free at Pac-12s since Lara Jackson claimed the title in both 2008 and 2009. Kait Flederbach finished in sixth with a time of 22.31, while Alana Pazevic (22.54), Megan Lafferty (22.66), Grace Finnegan (22.68) and Briana Wilford (22.70) also earned valuable points for the Cats in the event.
To conclude the night, the team of Geer, Flederbach, Megan Lafferty and Alana Pazevic took gold in the 200 free relay with a time of 1:27.93 to give the Wildcats their second relay victory in two nights. It was the first time the Wildcats won the 200 free relay at the Pac-12s since 2009, when they won the event for the fifth straight season. The time is currently the third fastest in the country. The Wildcats also got a strong effort from their “B” team with Wilford, Finnegan, Lauren Smart and Taylor Schick touching in 1:30.08 to win the “B” flight.
The Wildcats currently sit in third place in the team standings with 407.5 points. Stanford leads the way with 491.5 points followed by USC with 454.5 points. Cal (384.5) and UCLA (313) round out the top five.
Friday’s competition will get underway at 11 a.m. (PT) and will feature the 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast and 100 back along with men’s and women’s diving. Tomorrow night’s action will conclude with the 400 medley relay.
For continued coverage of Arizona Wildcat swimming and diving, visit ArizonaWildcats.com and be sure to follow the team on Twitter @ArizonaSwimming.