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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Swim squads have Texas two-step on deck

    UA simmer Jack Brown powers through a stroke during a Wildcat dual-meet win against California on Jan. 23 at the Hillenbrand Aquatics Center. The swim teams head to Texas this weekend for a dual meet against Texas and Southern Methodist University.
    UA simmer Jack Brown powers through a stroke during a Wildcat dual-meet win against California on Jan. 23 at the Hillenbrand Aquatics Center. The swim teams head to Texas this weekend for a dual meet against Texas and Southern Methodist University.

    The Wildcats’ swim and dive schedule looks like a minefield, and nothing about that will change in Austin, when the men take on No. 1 Texas today and tomorrow while the women race against a third-ranked Longhorns’ squad.

    Arizona’s men will also compete against a top-20 Southern Methodist University team in a meet of three teams which already have a good feel for each other. All three were in Austin for December’s Texas Invitational, where Arizona’s women left with a victory and the men came in second to the very same Longhorns.

    Yet UA head coach Frank Busch did not put any more emphasis on the upcoming meet as compared to the last weekend’s difficult races against the Bay Area schools.

    “”(We’re going to) just race like we did this past weekend,”” he said. “”I don’t think we’ll be qualifying anyone (for NCAAs) this meet.””

    With that said, veteran returnees Nicolas Nilo and Joel Greenshields may go with their full-body suits to qualify for the NCAA championships. Neither has had the opportunity to qualify since returning to Arizona just this semester and if they do not qualify this weekend, would have another shot in the Pacific 10 Conference Championships.

    To Nilo’s surprise, Busch requested he pack his full suit for the trip to Austin after Tuesday’s practice.

    Clearing up Nilo’s confusion, Busch quipped, “”Full suit, like you’re swimming in front of the president of Brazil and you’re going to get a date with Ms. Brazil if you swim fast. That kind of suit.””

    If that isn’t enough motivation, Nilo and Co. will be in a very fast pool – the same pool in which they automatically qualified in 23 events.

    Futhermore, both men and women will be pushed by another pack of elite swimmers.

    Texas’ Dave Walters owns a gold medal for swimming the 800-meter freestyle relay in the Beijing Games and also claimed the 2008 NCAA 200-yard freestyle title. His teammate, Ricky Berens, was part of that 800m freestyle relay team and joined with Michael Phelps in the finals to win gold in a world-record time.

    The Longhorn women are led by a group of youngsters, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less of a threat. They came in a close second to Arizona in the Texas Invite despite Arizona setting an astounding eight school records.

    Freshman Kathleen Hersey accounted for five of those school records. She also finished eighth in the 200m butterfly during her recent Olympic campaign.

    Meanwhile, teammate and fellow freshman Karlee Bispo is a threat in the freestyle events as she holds the Texas school record in the 200y freestyle with a time of 1:43.84.

    In the diving pool, sophomore Ben Grado will again be tested by Longhorn freshman Drew Livingston who, like Grado, swept all of his events in his past meet.

    Freshman Ainsley Oliver will face off against Livingston’s sister, senior Jessica Livingston. Jessica is an All-American in the 3m event and an NCAA national champion for the platform event in 2007. However, the platform event will only be an exhibition, meaning it will not be scored.

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