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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Men’s swim takes control of USC rivalry

Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat

UA swim and dive had a bittersweet weekend in Los Angeles. The teams began Pacific 10 Conference play on Friday against major rival Southern California with the No. 5 men’s team winning 190-110 and the No. 7 women’s team losing by that same score. The women rebounded by defeating the UCLA Bruins 168-132 on Saturday.

For the men’s team, it was the first time in a long time they defeated the Trojans in their pool, in spite of the Trojans’ best efforts to make the environment as challenging as possible. According to junior captain Cory Chitwood, there was some trash talking on Facebook prior to the meet.

“”USC doesn’t particularly like our team,”” Chitwood said. “”I don’t think we do that. I think our team has a lot more class than that. I honestly like it because I always swim better when I’m a little ticked off, and it just adds more fuel to the fire for the guys. I like that they do that and get us fired up and ready to go.””

Chitwood was indeed on fire, along with fellow juniors Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or, Kevin Munsch and A.J. Tipton, who all won two events for Arizona.

“”That was one of the fastest dual meets the team has probably ever had this early in the season,”” Chitwood said. “”It was really exciting to see a lot of people step up and have some of the best swims they’ve had this season.””

Chitwood continued to prove the backstroke as his specialty by winning both the 100-yard and 200y events in 48.18 and 1:44.58.  

“”Individually, I was really happy. It’s definitely the fastest I’ve ever been this time in the season,”” Chitwood said.

While Chitwood handled the backstroke, Bar-Or took charge with the freestyle events, also winning the 100y and 200y with the respective times of 43.81 and 1:35.96. He also came in second for the 100y fly in 47.91.

Munsch claimed the 100y and 200y breaststroke events with the winning times of 55.01 and 1:58.33. Furthermore, Tipton ruled the butterfly, winning the 100y and 200y in 47.78 and 1:45.81.

“”I haven’t honestly seen a dual meet from top to bottom like the one on Friday,”” said volunteer assistant coach Eliot Dash. “”I thought we had some stellar swims, and we are moving in the right direction for Texas in three weeks.””

In addition to the trash talking, in an effort to recruit more fans, USC requested to move the meet back to 4 p.m. as opposed to the usual time of 2 p.m.

“”USC called and asked us if we wanted to move it back later and do it under the lights,”” Dash said. “”We hadn’t swum a dual meet at night in a long time. The problem was just the cold — it was pretty chilly. I thought our teams were prepared for it and did a pretty good job staying warm.””

A later dual meet meant less recovery time for the women’s team, who also had to compete against the Bruins the following day.

As predicted, the USC women’s team was a tough opponent. Despite Arizona’s loss, freshman Margo Geer posted some prominent scores.

“”I think Margo Geer had an awesome meet, the freshman standout,”” Dash said. “”Overall, I think the girls’ team learns on the fly, but they’ve got so much talent. They’re going to be great at Texas.””

The “”freshman standout”” won the 50y and 100y freestyle events and placed second in the 200y free. Not only did she bring in two wins, but she also had a personal record for the 100y with a time of 49 seconds flat.  Geer also contributed to the 200y freestyle win along with fellow freshmen Grace Finnegan, Sarah Denninghoff and Kait Flederbach.

After a disappointing meet on Friday, the women were hungry for a win and satiated their appetite by beating the Bruins on Saturday.

“”On the girls side, I think they rebounded really well at UCLA on Saturday,”” Dash said, “”winning after having a rough night on Friday.””

UA DIVE

Arizona’s men’s and women’s diving squads didn’t hold up against USC’s. However, junior Ainsley Oliver, freshman Samantha Pickens and junior Andres Guerra were all runner-ups.

On Saturday, Oliver and Pickens didn’t settle for second. Oliver won the 3-meter event with an overall score of 292.28, making it her first win of the season. Pickens took first in the 1-meter with a final score of 282.98.

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