Swim teams sink ASU

Brian Kimball

They were nearly flawless.

The No. 1 Arizona men’s and No. 4 women’s swim teams both dispatched of ASU (4-6 men, 10-3 women) with ease Saturday in Tempe as neither Wildcat team lost a single event.

The UA men won 199-85 to finish the season undefeated in dual meets (9-0) for the first time in program history while the women (10-1) won 177-111.

As usual, both teams’ victories were paced by stellar relay performances. The men won both the 200-yard freestyle and 200-yard medley relays and the women won the 200-yard medley and tied for first in the 200-yard freestyle relay.

“”When you’re swimming with three other guys and representing all of your other teammates, it puts a lot of pressure and emphasis on the relays,”” said senior Darian Townsend. “”You just have to concentrate on your own race and not focus on what the other teams are doing.””

UA head swimming coach Frank Busch was pleased with both squads’ performances overall, but knows neither has accomplished the goals set at the beginning of the year.

“”Our depth has been good enough to do something out of the ordinary for our program and we appear to be a national force,”” Busch said. “”I feel good about these teams. They’ve done everything we’ve asked them and I’m excited about their prospects.

“”The women want to win the conference again and all of the sudden the men look like possible conference contenders,”” Busch added. “”The men haven’t even been in the ballpark of sniffing a conference title before, but that seems to be a possibility at this point.””

The women’s team has a week to rest before defending its back-to-back Pacific 10 Conference Championship in Long Beach, Calif., and the men have two weeks off before their conference title tilt. The much needed rest will give both squads a chance to recover physically before gearing up for more intense competition.

Although the intensity of the training will drop off slightly, as will the amount of training, each swimmer will try to fine tune small aspects of their game to maximize their chances of success, Busch said.

“”We need to keep trying to sharpen people up and the best way to do that is to get the body rested and focus on very specific things you want to do in racing,”” Busch added.

Into the diving well

Both diving teams also had great performances over the weekend, with UA divers finishing 1-2 in both men’s events and in the women’s 1-meter event.

ASU’s star men’s diver Michele “”Micky”” Benedetti didn’t compete because of a pre-Olympic meet, but ASU dive coach Mark
Bradshaw said UA diver Ben Grado – who won both the 3m (348.38 points) and 1m (356.03) events – would have given Benedetti a run for his money.

UA head diving coach Michelle Mitchell was “”bummed out”” that the men didn’t have the chance to compete against such a quality opponent, but was still pleased with the performance.

UA senior Matt Bisordi finished just behind Grado in both events and senior Holly Kast won the 1m event (262.5) with junior Allison Scaife placing second. Kast and Scaife took third and fourth, respectively, in the 3m event.

Both diving teams have a week off before the Pac-10 Championships in Seattle, and reached the most important part of the season as the zone diving championships – the NCAA Championships qualification meet for diving – are two weeks later.

“”(This time of year) is completely nerve racking,”” Mitchell said. “”We want to try and score points (at Pac-10’s) toward a conference title for our team, but zones is do or die. You can have a good year and then something could happen at zones and it can all go by the wayside.””