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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    M-swim finishes in 3rd

    The Arizona men’s swim and dive team ended the Pacific 10 Conference Championships with 647 points and in third place, behind winner Stanford (918.5) and runner-up California (866).

    The same philosophy heard throughout the season was echoed afterwards – wait until the NCAA Championships before making judgments.

    While one would think red flags would go up for the Wildcats after being soundly defeated by California and Stanford, team members and coaches believe their finish only shows how much improvement they will make once they are fully rested.

    “”It’s always a little bit rough in the Pac-10s, swimming with these guys that are setting records,”” said UA junior Jordan Smith. “”I always look forward to NCAAs, and to see these guys with a look on their face that (says) it wasn’t worth it to go fast at the Pac-10s and not save it for the big show.””

    Smith and his elder teammates have seen those looks for the past few years, for all of which they have finished third in the Pac-10. Last year’s Arizona swim and dive team validates that way of thinking – they finished third in the conference meet, and then took the NCAA crown.

    “”It’s kind of funny how this season cycles through in similar fashion year to year,”” said assistant coach Augie Busch, the son of head coach Frank Busch. “”We go into this meet not really sharp, kind of unrested and pretty tired. Usually, Cal and Stanford are at the top of their game.””

    This year’s team has as good a chance as any previous team to swim well in three weeks. While most of the NCAA-caliber swimmers had previously qualified, the Pac-10 meet may have helped in adding to the total.

    “”We probably added one, maybe two more,”” Augie said. “”I think our total is going to be 15 swimmers and a diver. That’s going to be tied for the most ever.””

    As for the top performances in the meet, Jean Basson finished as a runner-up in the 200-yard freestyle, fifth in the 500y freestyle and first in the 500y freestyle. Basson was also the lead-off leg in the winning 800y freestyle team and was joined by three Olympian teammates in Nicolas Nilo, Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or and Joel Greenshields.

    In the backstroke events, Jake Tapp took third in the 100y and second in the 200y, finishing in 1:40.72, just 0.2 seconds after the winner from Stanford.

    Such close defeats were common throughout the meet, with opposing swimmers catching Wildcats in the last 50 yards of many races.

    “”That’s a tell-tale sign that other teams were more rested than our guys,”” Augie Busch said.

    Setting a new school record in the 400y individual medley, veteran Jack Brown became the Pac-10 champion after touching the wall in 3:43.22.

    Freshman A.J. Tipton was the runner-up in the 200y butterfly. and also placed sixth in the 100y butterfly. He was one of many Arizona freshmen to step up in their first conference championship.

    “”They showed that every single one of them had the desire to swim,”” Smith said of his young teammates. “”That’s important for this whole team.””

    For most teams, a third-place finish would cast a cloud of doubt over its own abilities. Instead, the Wildcats smell blood.

    “”I’ve seen it three years now,”” Smith said. “”I know that we’ll be ready and be right up there with (the likes of California and Stanford). That gives me more confidence because I feel like we have so much more, and they’re just trying to hold onto those times.””

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