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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Swim and dive to kick off season today

    With a combination of eight All-Americans and NCAA champions, 11 NCAA qualifiers, and 14 letterwinners, the No. 4 Arizona women’s and No. 5 men’s swimming and diving teams will take their accomplishments up against No. 13 Wisconsin and for the men only UC Santa Barbara today at 2 p.m. at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center.

    Since 2001, the teams kick off their seasons with meets against the Badger men (3-0) and women (3-0), which has become somewhat of a friendly rivalry.

    UA assistant coach Augie Busch, who has been with the team for four years, said the team is “”good friends with the coaching staff,”” as Wisconsin head coach Eric Hansen spent three years at Arizona as an assistant coach.

    Despite their friendly history, Wisconsin has been defeated each year by the UA women and has only won once against the men.

    “”I expect us to win both meets pretty handedly,”” Busch said. “”It’s just about taking advantage of the opportunity to race.””

    The men, who finished second at the NCAA Championships last season and will be the only team to compete against Santa Barbara (0-2), will need to be confident as they have nine freshmen joining the team this year.

    But the experience of their captains, seniors Adam Ritter and Denton Taylor and junior Ivan Barnes, will set the standard for their younger teammates.

    “”We’ve got to figure out a way to get the young people to go (to the NCAAs) and realize that, even though we’re young, we can still be a contender for the title,”” Busch said.

    The defending Pacific 10 Conference champion women, also have a young team, including eight freshmen.

    According to Busch, the son of UA head coach Frank Busch who was out of town this week, the newcomers to the team bring valuable skills to the table.

    “”Both of these freshman classes are very talented, and I think on both sides you see them come in and light a fire under the class in front of them,”” he said, “”even the upperclassmen because all the sudden they’re fighting for their event.””

    Senior Whitney Myers and junior Lacey Nymeyer, who share captain dutites, hope to lead the team to its sixth consecutive win over Wisconsin.

    Busch said the women’s team is “”tighter than they were-than they ever have been in my four years.””

    In diving, the men look to junior Matt Bisordi and incoming freshman Mike Guilfoil, while seniors Megan MacDonald and Holly Kast return as leaders for the two underclassmen on the women’s squad, sophomore Allison Scaife and freshman Kristina Draper.

    Overall, the coaching staff is anxious to begin competition.

    “”It doesn’t matter who we’re racing…we asked our team to step up and give max effort,”” Busch said, “”and never skip out on an opportunity to race.””

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