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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


‘Cats move toward life after Busch

Even though the Arizona swimming and diving teams’ season recently came to an end, it’s never too early to look ahead to next season.

The Wildcats’ youth was a hot topic throughout the season, with 20 underclassmen out of 26 swimmers on the women’s side, and 14 underclassmen out of 30 swimmers on the men’s.

As a whole, the teams will only lose seven seniors this year. The small fraction bodes well for next season, especially after looking at this season’s success.     

And even though head coach Frank Busch will be gone, there still will be Arizona swimming. Here’s a look at what 2011-12 might hold.

The freestyler

Alyssa Anderson was not only a strong force in the water, but also on the deck, proving to be a leader for the youthful team.

In February, she was named the Counsilman-Hunsaker National Collegiate Swimmer of the Week. On top of that, as a previous U.S. National team member, Anderson will swim in the World University Games this summer in Shenzhen, China.  

At this year’s national championships, Anderson came in third in 500-yard freestyle, third in the 200y butterfly and was a part of the third place 800y freestyle relay team.

Along with the above races, Anderson also swims the 200y freestyle.

Anderson is a versatile swimmer who will undoubtedly stand out again next year.

The sprinter

There were high expectations for Margo Geer this season, and she didn’t succumb to the pressure.

Even with setbacks like minor injuries and lack of collegiate experience, the freshman trained to become one of the fastest sprinters in the nation in the 50y, 100y and 200y freestyle events. Geer was also a huge contributor in the sprint relays.

In the national championships last month, Geer earned six All-America honors and placed in the top three for both the 50y and 100y freestyle events.

And, back in November, she was named the Pacific 10 Conference Swimmer of the Month.

Geer’s 50y and 100y freestyle times are ranked second on the Arizona all-time school records list. Next season, Geer will most likely take the top spots.

The strokes

At the men’s NCAAs, Cory Chitwood became the national champion in the 200y backstroke for the second consecutive year — the team’s only first place finish in the meet.  

He consistently won the 200y back all season and also raced in the 100y back, 200y individual medley and sprint relays.

With his national title, seniority and experience, he will assuredly be one of Arizona’s top swimmers.

Though, when it comes to the 100y backstroke, the national champion has some younger competition.

Mitchell Friedemann, the freshman standing at 6-foot-5, has been progressively catching up to Chitwood all season.

At the NCAAs, Chitwood took sixth in the 100y back, while Mitchell was right behind in eighth place. Their respective times were 46.10 and 46.32 — only 22 tenths of a second difference. Friedemann was awarded one of his two All-America honors for the event.

He was also a huge contributor on the 200y freestyle, 200y-medley and 400y-freestyle relay teams.

The missing factor

After 22 seasons as Arizona’s head coach, Frank Busch will step down from his position next month.

Busch’s unique, yet tried and true, training coaching philosophies have unarguably set Arizona’s program apart from the majority of schools in the nation. When he leaves, so will his master plan.

Whether or not the new coach will carry on Busch’s philosophies remains to be seen. Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne said on Wednesday that he hopes to hire Busch’s replacement within the next week.

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