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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Successful weekend for Arizona swimming and diving

Lili Steffen
Lili Steffen / The Daily Wildcat Eve Sarris swims breakstroke in the 200 Yard Medley Relay against Boise State, Saturday.

Arizona swimming and diving made a huge splash at Hillenbrand Aquatic Center this weekend, winning the women’s dual meet against Boise State and claiming five of six titles at the Arizona Diving Invitational.

The inclement weather on Friday and Saturday didn’t stop senior diver Samantha Pickens from having a standout performance, claiming the 1-meter and 3m diving championships.

“It was definitely not ideal weather at all; it was freezing and raining,” Pickens said. “But there are going to be those meets where the weather is bad or you don’t feel well and you just have to push through it.”

Pickens, who won the NCAA championship in the 1m dive last season, recorded a score of 347.80 in the 3m dive, defeating second place finisher En-tien Huang of Nevada by more than 20 points on Friday. Pickens scored 294.25 to win the 1m dive on Saturday.

Pickens said she was proud of her overall performance and that she thinks she dove really well the first day. She added that she was happy she pulled off the victory on day two.

“[Pickens’ performance] speaks a lot about her work ethic and desire to be good,” said head diving coach Omar Ojeda. “A lot of the team looks up to her because of that.”

Men’s diving swept its side of the invitational, with junior Carter Craft winning the 1m dive on Friday and sophomore Rafael Quintero placing first in both the 3m and platform dives on Saturday and Sunday. Quintero was also a top-three finisher in the 1m dive, placing third behind USC’s Collin Pollard.

Quintero, who said before the invitational started that he wasn’t sure about how he would perform this year after winning the platform dive at last year’s invite, proved that he still has it in him.

“I didn’t practice that much during the summer, and so I’m not as confident as I was last year,” Quintero said before the invitational.

But his actual performance spoke otherwise on Sunday, as he finished the platform event with a total of 404.30 points, 79.95 points ahead of USC’s Pollard, who came in second.

“I think that he just realized that he’s going in the right direction and is capable of doing really great things,” Ojeda said.

The women’s swim team also defeated Boise State in its dual sprint meet on Saturday.

Sophomore Emma Schoettmer continued to prove that she is an asset to the dynamic Arizona team, as she placed first in the 50y and 100y breaststroke. Freshman Sara Borendame and redshirt senior Eve Sarris placed second and third in the 50y breaststroke, respectively, to complete Arizona’s solo sweep of the meet.

Schoettmer also swam the breaststroke leg in the 200y medley relay, where she and fellow sophomores Bonnie Brandon, Katja Hajdinjak and Taylor Schick placed first with a time of 1:42.00.

In addition to winning the 200y medley relay, Brandon finished almost three seconds ahead of junior teammate Shannyn Hultin in the 200y IM, and also won the 100y backstroke.

Senior Alana Pazevic won the 50y backstroke in 26.42 and helped Schick, Hajdinjak and junior Elizabeth Pepper win the 200y freestyle relay.

Arizona women’s swimming improves to 4-1 on the season. The Wildcats have a break until the both the men’s and women’s teams compete in the Texas Invitational in Austin, starting Dec. 5. The diving team will be back in action starting Dec. 15 at the USA Diving Nationals, also to be hosted in Austin.

—Follow Nicole Cousins @cousinnicole

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