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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Swim heads to Texas

Swim heads to Texas

Generally before an important dual meet, specifically one against the defending national champions, the swimmers might expect a reprieve from difficult drills. For Arizona swim, that would be wishful thinking.

Walking into Hillenbrand Aquatic Center on Tuesday, one would see head coach Frank Busch shouting at his swimmers to kick harder, go faster and keep going. After a grueling pool session, he would then order a group of those same swimmers to run stadium steps — no break in sight.

According to Busch, the swimmer’s break will come today, when both squads travel to Austin, Texas to take on the Longhorns.

The highlight of the weekend will be when the No. 2 Arizona men’s team dukes it out with the NCAA reigning champions, and currently No. 1, Texas, tomorrow at Jamail Texas Swim Center.

“”Usually, when you go away, you swim a little bit better. For us, we do regular training all the way through Thursday,”” Busch said. “”When we go to Texas, we won’t train Thursday, so that’ll give us an extra day of rest.””

Busch’s swim theory certainly held true last weekend, when both Stanford and Cal swept Arizona in their home pool. In addition to being away, perhaps the times will be affected by the pool itself.

“”It’ll be fun going to Texas, it’ll be fun being on the road with the whole team, knowing they’re in a position to swim in a great tank,”” Busch said. “”It’s where the women’s NCAA championships are, so the kids know that pool very well. It will also be nice for our kids to swim indoors. Anytime you’re in the elements it’s different.””

With an ideal location set, it then comes down to the swimmers themselves and their physical and mental states. They’ll have their day of rest, but coming off of two big losses can be discouraging.

Women’s junior captain Alyssa Anderson realizes the circumstances of last weekend and this week, and how it can be physically and emotionally draining. The women will be taking on No. 3 Texas.

“”Having tough weeks and being in season, it’s kind of easy to roll over and die,”” Anderson said. “”These are really hard teams, really tough competitions — Cal, Stanford, and then Texas. So it’s a pretty brutal two weeks.””

After acknowledging the current level of difficulty, Anderson explained the importance of not only focusing on individual races, but also not losing sight of the team.

“”I think one of the things we were talking about last weekend was digging deep,”” Anderson said. “”So, going out there and fighting hard is something we’re going to really work on this week. Our big thing is unity and if we are all together and on the same board, I think we’re pretty hard to beat.””

On the men’s side, fellow junior Kevin Munsch also talked about picking up the pace.

“”I hope everyone can step up their game a little bit more, go a little bit faster, and take it to the next level — give Texas and SMU some real good competition,”” Munsch said. “”Carry on from what we did last weekend, but do a little bit better.””

Munsch mentioned Southern Methodist University, who they’ll also be swimming against this weekend to fulfill their dual season quota. The primary focus, though, is on the reigning champs, whose lofty title evokes even more enthusiasm. Arizona swept Texas last year in dual season, having the same rankings on the men’s side.  

“”Definitely motivating. I just want to take them down. We took them down last year, but they won. So at this point in the season everyone’s tired. It’s a crapshoot, and we just go for it.””

Texas is led by head coach Eddie Reese. USA Swimming recently announced Reese and Busch as head coaches for the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai, China.

“”We’ve known each other for a long time. He’s probably been my mentor in coaching,”” Busch said. “”I’ve never been an assistant coach in my life, and that’s not a good thing, that’s not a bragging statement. You would wish you could learn from people, so as a young college coach, I remember going to meets and watching Eddie, and not even talking to him, just watching him. I’ve learned a lot from him.

“”And since then, we’ve become wonderful friends. He’s a super human being and he’s done a lot for the sport.””

As Busch’s comments shifted from his respect for Reese to the upcoming weekend, a huge grin began to form on his face. Smiling, he said, “”there will be some great racing this weekend, we have great meets with Texas. It will be fun.””

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