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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Wildcats finish fifth

Arizona’s No. 7 women’s swim and dive team placed fifth at the 2011 Pacific 10 Conference Championships on Saturday at the Weyerhaeuser King Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Wash.

Stanford was the champion of the four-day meet, followed by California, Southern California and UCLA. Head coach Frank Busch went into the meet knowing these would likely be the results.

“”I didn’t expect a whole lot, maybe fourth would have been the best we finished,”” Busch said. “”It’s not a meet we put all of our eggs in, the next one is. If we don’t do well at the NCAA’s, then I’ll be very disappointed.””

Despite mentioning room for improvement in some races, Busch said he is optimistic about the next meet.  

Day one

On the first night of the championships, Arizona got off to a shaky start when it was disqualified in one of the first two events. In the 200-yard medley relay, sophomore Ellyn Baumgardner showed her eagerness to win by leaving too early from the blocks.

“”It should never happen,”” Busch said. “”It cost us probably fifty some points, you don’t make those mistakes. We lost the national championships two years ago because of that mistake.””

Redemption came on the 800y medley team comprised of junior Alyssa Anderson, freshman Margo Geer, sophomore Monica Drake and freshman Sarah Denninghoff took fourth in the event. It was the first time the four swimmers raced in this event all season.

Day two

After strong performances in the preliminaries, Anderson, Geer and freshman Samantha Pickens had standout times on the second night of championship racing and diving.

It was battle of the siblings for Anderson, who had qualified earlier that day in the 500y freestyle by beating out her younger sister, Haley Anderson, of USC.

However, Haley Anderson took the reins in the championship race, making her older sister the runner-up.

“”It’s not a spoken rivalry, it’s just kind of understood,”” Alyssa Anderson said. “”I’m happy for her and excited, but of course it stings when you lose, especially to your sister. Of course the goal is to win, but if it had to be someone, I’m glad it was her — keep it in the family.””

Alyssa Anderson said regarding her mother choosing sides, “”My mom hates going to the meets, she’s like ‘I just cant do it, it’s too hard.””

Day three and four

On the final night of racing, the Pac-10 honored Busch with a video montage showing other conference coaches’ admiration, praise and well wishes. Busch will be leaving Arizona at the end of the season to take over as USA Swimming’s national team director position.

“”I had no idea about it, it was really nice,”” Busch said. “”I’ve known most of those coaches for a long time.””

After his standing ovation, the racing began. Senior Susana Helms brought in Arizona’s first points of the night by placing sixth in the 1,650y freestyle.

Following Helms, Denninghoff placed third in the 200y backstroke, while freshman Aubrey Peacock took fifth.

Alyssa Anderson, who brought in the most points for the Wildcats over the course of the meet, placed fifth in the 200y butterfly championship heat. The women’s team is now back at Hillenbrand Aquatic Center, preparing for the national championships later this month.

 

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