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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Pressure’s on

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

The Arizona swim team’s countless hours in and out of the water will hopefully pay off this week in the Texas Invitational, the season’s most important meet to date.

The invitational, which kicks off today in Austin, Texas, will run through Saturday.

This is the meet the team has been training for, the one head coach Frank Busch encourages his swimmers to go all out in order to qualify for the NCAA tournament this spring.

“”I think up to this point training has gone well, and that they’re prepared to swim fast,”” Busch said. “”There’s a lot of pressure on them, and some of them will put a lot more pressure on themselves than they need to.””

Meets like this could potentially avert swimmers’ focus to themselves, because many of the races are individualized. However, Busch explained that despite the numerous solo swims, the team is on the forefront of all the swimmers’ minds.

“”I think they draw energy from each other,”” Busch said. “”What can this team do to ignite everyone and see everyone be successful? So, with that being said, I would say most of them are thinking of it from a team standard.””

Individual wins would not only be a personal accomplishment, but also an act of pulling weight for the team.

“”They all want to go to the NCAAs, that’s how they grade themselves as swimmers,”” Busch said. “”If they don’t make it to the NCAAs, they don’t see themselves as contributors to the team.””

Both the No. 5 men’s and No. 7 women’s teams have had NCAA qualifying times in dual meets, leaving Busch with high expectations for this week.

“”It’s not realistic to think everyone’s going to qualify, but I would say our expectations are pretty high for a lot of kids,”” Busch said. “”I would think that we should have well over a half of kids on each team qualify. I would be kind of disappointed if we didn’t get a lot more than that.””

Half of each team is made up of freshmen, which means this will be their first pivotal meet of their collegiate swimming careers.

“”I would imagine the captains have spent some time talking and telling them what to expect,”” Busch said. “”I know the captains have been on it, it’s something that’s really important to them. They anticipate making their marks.””

As for competition, Arizona will undoubtedly be facing its toughest opponents thus far. According to Busch, No. 1 Texas is the team to beat.

“”Texas is the best team, besides Arizona, for men and women,”” Busch said. “”A lot of Texas and Arizona kids should be in the finals.””

The recently released rankings by Avidasports and CollegeSwimming.com are also contrary to NCAA’s, putting the Arizona men’s team as No. 1 — Busch feels differently.

“”We’re not the best team in the country, I think Texas’ men are the best team,”” Busch said. “”Toss up on Texas and Cal, both of those teams have the most firepower. We haven’t seen either of them yet, but we’ll see them this week.””

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