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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA Swim and Dive finish third at Pac-10s

In its debut as the top-ranked team in the nation, the Arizona men’s swim and dive team finished third at the Pacific 10 Conference Championships in Long Beach, Calif., this past weekend. This was the fourth consecutive year the Wildcats have finished in third-place at the Pac-10 Championships.

“”Our team did really well this weekend,”” said senior Jack Brown. “”We did what we needed to do here and have really set ourselves up for something spectacular in a few weeks.””

Despite the third-place finish, the team viewed the experience at the Pac-10s as a positive one.

“”We fought together as a team as hard as we could and ended up beating USC which was a fully shaved and rested team,”” said senior Jean Basson. “”Also we now have a full team qualified for the NCAAs for the first time ever so I would say it was very successful.””

No. 3 Stanford won the Pac-10 title for the 29th straight year, while No. 4 California placed runner-up for the seventh straight season.

The UA was never able to move past third in the standings during the championships, mostly due to only one swimmer winning an ‘A’ heat. That win came on the last day of competitions when freshman Carl Mickelson won the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:54.96. 

The win was the first postseason victory of Mickelson’s young collegiate career. The only other win for the UA came in the 200y fly where sophomore A.J. Tipton won the ‘B’ heat with a time of 1:44.19. Fellow sophomore Jordan Slaughter qualified for the ‘A’ heat and finished sixth.

Brown was also a standout for the team despite being unable to get into the winner’s circle. He placed third in the 200y individual medley and second in the 400y individual medley. 

“”I’m a little disappointed that I wasn’t able to defend my title in the 400 I.M., but overall I’m pleased with what happened and where I am,”” Brown said. “”I think I’m at a really good place going into nationals to contend for a title in all of my events.”” 

Finishing second in the ‘B’ heat of the 500y freestyle was Basson. He also placed eighth in the 1650y freestyle. While most swimmers were happy with their performances, Basson wasn’t. 

“”Obviously, I’m disappointed with how I swam,”” Basson said. “”I wanted to defend my two Pac-10 titles in the 800 relay and the 500 freestyle, but I have to keep the entire season in perspective. My focus is nationals and I think that in three weeks time I will be at my peak.””

The Wildcats, who are usually strong in relay races, were unable to get better than third in any of the relay events. Arizona placed third in the 400y free relay, 200y medley relay, 200y free relay and the 400y medley relay.

Not winning the Pac-10s this year has no affect on the Wildcats’ national title hopes. When the team won the national championship in 2008 it also finished third in the Pac-10. 

“”We’ve never won a conference title in the history of our program and have still won a national championship,”” Brown said. “”Our priorities are different from other teams in our conference, and even considering that, we still swam extraordinarily well.””

The UA came into this tournament not with the purpose of winning, but to improve its national title hopes.

While the season-long goal has been a national championship the team can now officially turn its attention to that goal. The swimmers will begin to fully rest now. 

“”We will just get as much rest as possible,”” Basson said. “”(We will) watch film from the weekend and fix any mistakes that we have made and then fine-tune our races to be as fast as possible in three weeks.””

The UA will go into the NCAAs as the number one team in the nation, but many of the swimmers don’t think they should be considered an obvious favorite.  “”I don’t think you can look at it as clear favorites,”” Brown said. “”We have the potential to win the meet, but we’re all going to have to swim well and come together as a team.””

While it’s unclear if they are favorites, the Wildcats will be a team to reckon with when the NCAA Championships get underway March 25.

“”I think we’re in a good spot to make great things happen,”” Brown said.

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