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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona swimming to use weekend meets to prepare for Texas trip

Tyler Baker
Tyler Baker / The Daily Wildcat Bonnie D Brandon swims the 200 yard Backstroke against UNLV on Oct. 25 at home.

Having gone two weeks since their last meet, the Wildcats are diving back into competition.

Arizona swimming and diving hosts the UCLA women’s team on Friday and the USC men’s and women’s teams on Saturday.

The Wildcats’ last competition resulted in a sweep of UNLV on Oct. 25, but they haven’t been taking time off.

“These guys have been working hard, so there hasn’t been any downtime; they’ve been hammering hard workouts,” said interim head coach Rick “Rocket” DeMont. “We are actually in the most intense training cycle right now.”

Sophomore backstroker Bonnie Brandon said the Wildcats have been hitting the weight room hard since UNLV and just started easing up on the weights Monday.

The teams are focused on the Texas Invite in Austin, Dec. 5-7. DeMont said he expects them to use these two dual meets as a means of working out the kinks before the team travels to Texas.

The women face back-to-back meets against UCLA and USC, while the men take on one of the strongest freestyle teams in the nation without freestyler Giles Smith, who is ineligible this week.

DeMont wouldn’t specify why Smith won’t be competing.

“We don’t match up great with [USC] in some events, and we match up really well with them in others,” DeMont said. “Our best freestyler won’t be in the meet, which hurts us a little bit, so we are just doing the best we can on that.”

Senior freestylist Matt Barber said he plans to approach USC just like any other meet.

“I don’t really compare myself to other people,” Barber said, “but I do keep it in the back of my head what other people are doing, and just go out there and race on that day.”

The women’s team has some time to warm up for USC with its dual meet against UCLA on Friday, but that doesn’t mean they are taking either competition lightly. According to Brandon, the women are ready to see how close they are to where they need to be in December.

“I think the last two weeks have been really amazing; a lot of people have been working on their strokes and improving,” Brandon said, “so hopefully we won’t be terribly sore this weekend, and it will show us how we are in relation to Texas in a month.”

Brandon said she is especially excited to compete this weekend, but she doesn’t want the Homecoming weekend hype to distract her from her racing.

“A lot of the alumni will be here, including fast swimmers from past years — people that we look up to,” Brandon said. “It will be nice to have them back. You just want to swim fast to show them that they didn’t leave the team in a bad place — that they left it in a better place.”

Brandon will reunite this weekend with former Wildcat Ellyn Baumgardner. The two roomed together at a majority of their meets last year and even traveled to Turkey together.

“Even though [Baumgardner] was a breaststroker, I looked up to her a lot and we were always paired together,” Brandon said. “We worked well together even though [we were] doing different things, so I’m excited to see her.”

The women kick off Homecoming weekend swimming and diving events against UCLA on at 2 p.m on Friday. Both teams face USC at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

— Follow Nicole Cousins @cousinnicole

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