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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA swim and dive proud of showing

Two words summarize the feelings of the UA swim and dive team on its season: Not disappointed.

On the surface, it seems like there could be a feeling of great disappointment. Coming off a disheartening season, the team had hopes of returning to the glory that it achieved in 2008 when it won the national championship. 

Throughout the dual meet season, it looked like both the men and women might just do that. The women were consistently a top-5 team all season. After a big home win over Texas, they looked primed to make a title run, but it wasn’t to be. 

The women’s team finished fourth at national championships in what ended up being the one of the closest finishes ever. The UA was only 23 points out of first and had a chance to win going into the final event.

“”I don’t think anyone on our team has the right to be disappointed, because I think everyone put it on the line,”” said senior Annie Chandler, who won an individual national championship in the 100-yard breaststroke. “”Nobody can be disappointed, it wasn’t like last year where we had a disqualification that cost us the title,”” she added. “”There really wasn’t anything that we can regret. Everybody fought hard.””

The men found even more success, with an undefeated dual meet season that earned them the No. 1 ranking in the nation. The team captured big wins, including sweeps of Stanford and Cal in California.

“”I would say probably after we won the Stanford and Cal dual meets in California, having been down both times at the halfway point, I think that is when our team really came together and realized how good we really were,”” said senior Jean Basson.

After the team dominated powerhouse Texas, it seemed that it would be tough for anyone to deny the UA another national championship. No one was able to take the team down until the Norovirus just a day before the nationals were to begin. 

Half of the 18 qualifying swimmers caught the illness and the team’s championship hopes seemed to be dashed, but the Wildcats persevered through and pulled off third place.

That just days after nine swimmers were hospitalized the team could place so high was something to be excited about.

“”I was just proud of the whole team for just how we handled it,”” said redshirt sophomore Cory Chitwood. “”We never gave up, and each person just came back each day, each session stronger and ready to go, ready to race, so I was happy with it.””

While the team was unable to win the national championship, it did have Chitwood and senior Clark Burckle win individual national championships.

Despite the incredible performance from the men’s team, many of the swimmers couldn’t help but think what could have been.

“”I would say the low point is that we will never quite know how good we could have been at nationals if we hadn’t been sick,”” Basson said. “”I would say it was a great season with hardly any low points, but there is always that ‘what if.'””

Considering the adversity the team faced at the end of the season, the men are holding their heads high about the way they battled through.

“”This year has been really special to me regardless of the final result,”” said senior Jordan Smith.

The end has now come for the largest and most decorated senior class in the program’s history. The seniors will leave with a national title from 2008 and many with individual titles and multiple All-American honors.

“”When I cooled down and took my goggles off, (head coach) Frank (Busch) did one of his speeches about how unique the insignia on the caps we wear is,”” Chandler said. “”He said how it stood for greatness. When I was putting the cap in my bag, it seemed weird that it was my last time ‘repping’ the Arizona cap.””

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