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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Swim blasts Bears, edged by Cardinal”

    UA junior Jean Basson comes up for air during the 1,000-yard backstroke during a dual meet against California on Friday afternoon at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center. Both the Arizona mens and womens teams beat the Golden Bears, but both Wildcat squads lost to Stanford on Saturday.
    UA junior Jean Basson comes up for air during the 1,000-yard backstroke during a dual meet against California on Friday afternoon at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center. Both the Arizona men’s and women’s teams beat the Golden Bears, but both Wildcat squads lost to Stanford on Saturday.

    The Arizona swim and dive teams started a weekend homestand by defeating California on Friday afternoon but couldn’t hang on against an even more talented Stanford team on Saturday.

    After losing to the Cardinal, UA head coach Frank Busch pulled his stopwatch out of his pocket.

    “”This should not dictate our happiness,”” he said to the team.

    Busch’s message came after Arizona lost several events in the final 50 yards, something that cost the Wildcats against Stanford with the men losing 191-107 and the women an agonizingly close 150.5-147.5.

    “”Nearly”” and “”almost”” were words used all too often in Saturday’s meet.

    With the women’s chances of victory coming down to the last race – the 400-yard freestyle relay – the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center sounded more like Arizona Stadium.

    The Wildcats jumped out, leading through the first three legs with Lara Jackson, Justine Schluntz and Anna Turner. Despite swimming a very fast 48.70 split, senior Taylor Baughman could not hold off 12-time All-American Julia Smit from rallying and winning the race in the final leg.

    In the women’s 50-yard freestyle, American record-holder Lara Jackson won in a lighting-fast 22.49 seconds. Anna Turner and Lindsey Kelly also broke 23.00 seconds to finish second and third, respectively.

    “”I think we were just going against really good talent,”” Busch said. “”I don’t think it has anything to do with fatigue.””

    And after the meet was finished, Busch told his team he was proud of the way his team swam. The close losses, he said, were simply due to technique on the final turns – something the swimmers could correct.

    Just as Stanford had Arizona on its heels, Arizona did the same to the Golden Bears. The men won 171.5-128.5 while the women similarly defeated California 178-120.

    “”I just felt like our kids started well and made sure that that stayed all the way through (the meet),”” Busch said. “”What I’ve seen in our pool, I know our kids are pretty tired and for them to step up and swim that well is pretty exciting.””

    The meet began in the 200-yard medley relay with Hailey DeGolia and Annie Chandler spotting the Wildcats a large lead and Jackson and Turner finishing for a time of 1:39.73.

    But the most exciting races came when Olympians Joel Greenshields, Nicolas Nilo and California’s Nathan Adrian went up against each other.

    With Nilo and Greenshields on each side of Adrian in the 200y freestyle, Adrian pulled away from Nilo on the last 25 yards to win the race in 1:35.57 to Nilo’s 1:35.80. The same arrangement of swimmers made the 100-yard freestyle equally entertaining, but Adrian again came out on top.

    “”I can’t control what other people are doing, I just have control over what I’m doing,”” Nilo said of racing Adrian. “”Just to see how fast he’s going this time of the year gives me a heads up on what I have to do and the kind of competition I’ll have at NCAA’s.””

    Though the weekend was not perfect, Busch used the opportunity to teach a lesson. He asked the swimmers to make the necessary changes to reach their ultimate goal – a national title repeat.

    Into the diving well

    UA men’s diver Ben Grado had one of his best weekends yet, winning each of his 1-meter and 3-meter events against California and Stanford.

    The sophomore’s average margin of victory was 54.09 points while his closest margin of victory was 33.3 points. He also defeated Pac-10 Diver of the Month Tom Henninger.

    For the women, Ainsley Oliver won both the 1m and 3m events against the Golden Bears. Against Stanford, Oliver placed second in both events, losing to Carmen Stellar in the 1m and by just 3.15 points to Meg Hostage in the 3m.

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