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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    M-swim finishes in 6th place at NCAAs

    It finished just how it started.

    The Arizona men’s swim and dive team ended the first day in sixth place and didn’t have the firepower to move up in the standings during the 2009 NCAA Championship meet, finishing in sixth place with 309 points.

    “”We were expecting it would be easier to do better, obviously,”” said junior Jake Tapp. “”Once we figured out we weren’t going to win it, we were a bit down.

    “”We started off and the coaches said that we are beating us right now,”” he added. “”It took us about the first half of the meet (to get going), but after that it was too late.””

    Auburn (526 points) won the title in dominant fashion, followed by Texas (487 points) and Pacific 10 Conference powers Stanford (460.5 points) and California (350 points). Florida placed just ahead of the Wildcats, as the Gators scored 324 points.

    “”Just like the women’s meet, it was highly competitive to say the least,”” said UA head coach Frank Busch. “”When you get in a situation like that, you have to be on your game every single time.

    “”I felt for the most part, we did everything we could do,”” he added. “”Just a few circumstances, a few relays where we could have finished a place or two higher.””

    It was the first time in the past five years that Arizona didn’t finish in the top four positions, but it still managed to set eight school records during the three-day NCAA meet.

    On the first day of competition, the Wildcats came out flat in a few races – something they couldn’t afford to do against the deep Texas and Auburn teams. But on Friday and Saturday, Tapp said Arizona found what had made it successful all season – a little more passion.

    Nicolas Nilo, Jordan Smith, Joel Greenshields and Tapp swam into fifth place in a time of 2:49.80 during the 400-yard freestyle relay, which was the final event.

    Meanwhile, junior Jean Basson continued to fight for his team throughout. After winning the 500y freestyle on Thursday, Basson took fourth in the 200y freestyle and 13th in the 1650y freestyle. He also helped his 800y freestyle relay team of Nilo, Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or and Greenshields to second place in 6:11.82, falling to Texas which set a new American record of 6:10.16.

    Two of the other junior J’s, Jack Brown and Tapp, were the only other Wildcats to finish in the top five of their respective events. Brown took fourth in the 400y individual medley in 3:41.49, and Tapp was the runner-up in the 200y backstroke, touching the wall in 1:38.67.

    Tapp also opened for the fourth-place 200y medley relay team and was joined by Marcus Titus, Bryan O’Connor and Smith to finish in 1:23.93.

    Although the finish was less than desired, Arizona just didn’t have enough “”big-time swims,”” as Busch put it, to compete with other teams that had more swimmers in each event. Putting it in perspective, Arizona was within 41 points of a California team that Busch thought would challenge for the title.

    “”When I looked at Cal in the conference, I thought they could be competitive, but they didn’t finish much higher than we did,”” he said.

    And when it was over, the coaches all relayed the same message to their team.

    There’s no reason to get down on themselves. They’ll be back in the hunt next year.

    “”Our kids did a great job, they fought hard,”” Busch said. “”We just didn’t have as many of the great athletes that the other teams did.””

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