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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Athletes of the Week

    Adam Ritter
    Adam Ritter

    Editor’s Note: The Wildcat caught up with senior swimmers Whitney Myers of the women’s team and Adam Ritter of the men’s team, who are the first student-athlete duo in Arizona history selected in the final Homecoming court. Last week against Wisconsin and UC-Santa Barbara, Ritter won the 100- and 200-yard individual freestyle events and Myers took the 200y butterfly event. The duo discussed being senior leaders, missing this weekend’s meet for Homecoming and what they’ll do if they become king and queen.

    Wildcat: You both did really well at the NCAA Championships last year. What are you looking to improve on personally and as a team?

    Adam Ritter: As a team, at least on the guys’ side, we lost four seniors that contributed so much to the team that we’ll have to replace those guys. We have a large, talented freshman class, so I guess if there’s one thing in particular that we want to work on throughout the season, it’s bringing these guys along.

    Whitney Myers: For the women, we lost a lot of girls also, but again, we’ve got a really strong class and the women’s team at the University of Arizona, the highest we’ve ever finished is second; the past three years we’ve gotten third. We’re really looking for a best finish, either second, or hopefully, maybe a national title.

    W: The win against Wisconsin and UCSB last weekend, that was obviously a step in the right direction, but how do you think that helped your team along?

    R: Well, Wisconsin and UCSB, they’re not necessarily our primary competition, but it just gave the team the chance – especially young guys – to race. We haven’t raced, most of us, since August, so I know a lot of people were chomping at the bit just to get a chance to race people other than their teammates in practice. I guess it just kind of got people in the mood, getting their killer instinct back a little bit just to race and stuff.

    M: Going along with that, just it was kind of a meet to let us see where we’re at. We’ve been training really hard, and we’re all exhausted. But (UA head coach) Frank (Busch) always tells us that racing in the most not ideal situations is what makes you a great athlete. That’s kind of our focus so that we can just race no matter what the circumstances were.

    W: What advice have you given to the freshmen, since you’re both captains?

    R: The primary thing that I’ve tried to convey to the freshmen is that most of them come from a club where they’re the top swimmer, maybe, and when they come to Arizona, that’s – I mean there’s so many great athletes here, that they’re not necessarily the best. This is a team atmosphere. It takes a team to do what we want to do. Just to get the guys to engage in that kind of stuff and to get them to understand if you draw energy from the team, if you give energy to the team, your performance individually will be better.

    M: You would steal mine.

    R: Yep.

    M: Teamwork is huge ’cause you don’t win the team title as an individual, and it takes everybody pulling their weight and being involved and holding each other accountable to accomplish a team goal.

    R: And not many people see that in swimming, especially with how individual it is.

    M: Yeah, you don’t catch the ball or you don’t shoot anything. You just do your own race, but your points contribute to the team total points.

    R: That happens every day – practice, everything we do in the weight room. We could talk for a couple of hours on this.

    W: You both made the finals for the homecoming court. What’s the process for that, or how does that work?

    M: I was really surprised at how intense and how pretty serious it is. There was an application and an interview. I don’t know about Adam, but that was my first interview situation ever. I was pretty nervous about it. There were a couple mixers where we just mixed and mingled with the senior honorary clubs, either Mortar Board or Bobcats. There was a cut to semifinals, for women I think it was top 15, for men I think it was top 10, and then there was a final cut that cut it down to five. Now, the school. It’s up to the school to vote.

    W: Did you first get nominated and then go through this process?

    M: We obviously got nominated by the athletics department, but any club across campus could nominate.

    W: Will you be in town this weekend, or will you be with the team in Los Angeles?

    M: We will be in town. We have meets against USC and UCLA this weekend, but we’re missing it to join in on the homecoming festivities.

    W: And how do you feel about that?

    M: It’s a big opportunity.

    R: It is. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but this is also our last year, so this will be our last go around with USC. Plus, leaving the team for a personal pursuit also kind of doesn’t feel right. But I know it means a lot to some of the people in the department, and we got the blessing from (Busch).

    M: I think it means a lot to kids on the team to have a representative from their team represent not only in the athletics department but maybe represent the entire senior class if we’re chosen. They’re behind us. They’re very supportive. They’re not mad or bitter.

    R: I haven’t received any negative comment, but still you want to be there with your team. In this circumstance, we’ll see. As long as we win there, I don’t think it will matter.

    W: How do you feel about the entire experience?

    M: I think it’s been really fun. It’s kind of been hectic. There’s a lot going on right now since our season just started, and we’re still training five hours a day and going to class full time. But, I think it’s been a very positive experience, and I’ve met a ton of awesome people. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

    R: That’s a Homecoming queen response. I like it. I’ve met a lot of people. I was intimidated at first by this whole process just because I didn’t know what to expect, and I didn’t know anyone doing this. I just walked in there, tried to have fun, but I’ve come out with a lot of friends and a lot of – I don’t know if experience is the word. It’s definitely been fun and interesting, especially with this week – it’s been crazy. We have stuff to do out on the (UA) Mall every afternoon, but it’s – it’s fun.

    W: If you do win, what are your plans?

    R: Move into a castle.

    M: Frank, our coach, keeps teasing that if the team gets behind us and gets everyone to vote for us then he gets to go on vacation to Cabo and get a new car. So maybe we’ll talk him into a practice off? We’re going to Disneyland.

    R: We’re going to Disneyland!

    – As told to Melissa Krueger

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