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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Winter break cut short for swim and dive

    It was the day after Christmas and all through the campus, not a creature was stirring, that is except for the No. 2 Arizona women’s and No. 6 men’s swimming and diving teams.

    It is a long-standing holiday tradition for the team to come back to the UA campus Dec. 26 for their annual “”Christmas training,”” which lasts until Jan. 9, the day before school resumes.

    “”The nice thing about it is the kids don’t have school, so all they do is pretty much train, eat and sleep,”” said UA head coach Frank Busch. “”So it’s not a whole lot of fun.””

    Fun is not how most of the team members would describe it.

    Senior Adam Ritter described the training period as “”torture of the mind, body and soul,”” while fellow senior Whitney Myers said it is the “”hell week of eat, sleep and swim.””

    “”Probably every program goes through something like this,”” Busch said. “”I don’t know if ours is bigger, better, different than everybody else’s, but it’s just what we do.””

    The team will also go back to work early in the pool, too, as the women (3-0, 2-0 Pacific 10 Conference) take on Oregon State and NAU and the men (2-1, 0-1 Pac-10) face off against No. 4 California and No. 12 Michigan on Jan. 5 at Hillenbrand Aquatic Center.

    “”The men’s competition will be a lot different from the women’s,”” Busch said, adding that the programs at Cal and Michigan are of a higher caliber than those of OSU and NAU.

    Busch said he wants to see the teams benefit from the extra time they will spend in the pool over the break.

    “”We try to sharpen ourselves back up to be faster when we go to (the) NCAA (Championships) in March,”” he said.

    In terms of the championships, the team came closer to reaching its goal at the Texas Invitational in Austin, Texas, over the weekend, as both the men and women combined to set eight new school records and met 27 NCAA time standards to automatically qualify for the national meet in March.

    Both teams also won the meet for the second straight season and for the second time in school history.

    Since returning to Arizona, the teams had Monday and yesterday to relax and catch up on the schoolwork they missed, Busch said.

    The teams will resume practice today and tomorrow before having only three more days of practice before the break.

    Busch said he encourages his squads to work out while on break in order to stay sharp and in shape.

    “”We try and make sure they do something when they’re at home, but sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t,”” he said. “”Hopefully this is a pretty motivated group.””

    He also said he is anticipating that the teams will be a little rough around the edges after spending time with their families away from the pool.

    “”It’s real important that we get back in the swing of things quickly,”” he said.

    He also added that the extra work they do now will be to their advantage next semester, and not just in the physical realm of things.

    “”It’s a physical and psychological challenge for them,”” he said. “”We do what we think is important for them to be the best they can be.””

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