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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Swim sweeps in Texas

Despite new, slower swimsuits and faster automatic qualifying times, the Arizona swim and dive team showed exactly why they should once again be up for consideration for a pair of national championships at the Texas Hall of Fame Swimming and Diving Invitational this weekend.

“”This is one of the best mid-tournament meets we have ever had,”” said head coach Frank Busch. “”We did pretty much everything we could do at this meet.””

The UA men’s team came away with the victory, scoring 1125.5 points and beating second-place University of Texas by almost 200 points. The women’s team followed suit, only in a closer battle, besting UT by 63.5 points.

Times were fast and the win was important, but from day one the mission was to qualify as many swimmers for the NCAA Championships in March as possible. After the Texas Invitational: mission accomplished.

“”This will definitely give us an advantage at NCAAs because we only need to taper our bodies once,”” said senior Ana Agy. “”I think that (qualifying early) is why we’re so successful at NCAAs.””

Busch estimates that each team qualified 12 to 15 swimmers for the NCAA Championships, five of whom reached the absurdly fast

“”A”” standards.

Due to the ban on high-tech, full-body suits, the men and women had to revert back to the dress code that was implemented in 1999. 

“”It’s harder to swim faster because now it’s truly only what your body can do, and you’re not getting any aid from any suits or anything like that,”” said senior Jean Basson.

Because last year’s qualifying standard times were a byproduct of the high-tech suits that made swimmers faster, the goal of reaching an “”A”” standard became almost insurmountable.

But the UA swimmers adjusted to the new suits, and even swam fast enough to meet some automatic NCAA qualifying times.

“”I think our team showed that we’re probably going to be able to adjust to (the new suits) the best out of all the teams in the country because of all the time we put into being fit and using our bodies as our vehicle,”” said Agy, who captured one of those five automatic qualifying times. “”We don’t have to rely on some fancy suit.””

Agy, the school record holder in the 100- and 200-yard backstroke, garnered an automatic qualifying time in the 100y backstroke with a time of 52.64.

Joining Agy in the “”A”” cut crowd were fellow seniors Jack Brown and Basson, who both double-dipped in the “”A”” cut department.

Brown automatically qualified for NCAAs in the 200y individual medley with a time of 1:44.05 and the 400y individual medley in 3:44.41.

Basson, last year’s individual 500y freestyle champion, continued his dominance in the event by reaching an automatic qualifying time of 4:15.22.

These three swimmers have guaranteed spots in the NCAA Championships, despite the extremely fast qualifying times and new suits. Only one non-Arizona athlete reached the automatic qualifying time.

“”I think it says that we obviously have a lot of really, really good individual swimmers on our team, but that also says that it’s a really good team this year,”” Basson said. “”We’re going to have a good shot on both sides of hopefully winning another national championship.””

The Arizona swim and dive team was stellar in Austin, and blew some of its top competition, Texas and Auburn, out of the water. Behind the leadership of the historically strong senior classes, this team will be a force to be reckoned with come March.

“”We probably have the best senior classes that these teams have ever had in terms of talent and experience, and also in terms of desire,”” Basson said. “”We want to go out on a really high note. There’s no room for failure this year.””

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