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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Wildcat swimming to be well represented in Beijing

    Wildcat swimming to be well represented in Beijing

    With all that Arizona swim coach Frank Busch has accomplished this year, a spot on the United States swim team’s coaching staff was almost expected.

    “”It’s like the icing on the cake,”” Frank’s son and assistant Arizona coach Augie Busch said of his father being named an assistant to the 2008 Men’s U.S. team.

    Frank, who will be making his second go-around with the U.S. team after a stint with the women’s team in the 2004 Summer Olympic Games, earned the trip to Beijing after leading both the men’s and women’s Arizona teams to national titles this past season.

    “”In 2004 (earning the position) kind of meant more from a significant standpoint just in that point of (Frank’s) career,”” Augie said. “”This year, with all he’s accomplished here at Arizona, for him not to be on the Olympic staff would have meant the (U.S.) team was missing one of the top coaches in the nation.””

    While the two national championships surely aided in the Olympic Committee’s decision to hire Frank, his stellar record at the collegiate level throughout his career also played a significant role.

    Since taking over the Wildcats’ program in 1989, Busch has produced 13 top-10 men’s teams and has put together a current streak of 16-straight women’s teams to be ranked in the nation’s top-10.

    For his efforts, Busch attracted floods of accolades including coach of the year honors eight times in the Pacific 10 Conference and was given the title four times for the entire NCAA.

    Busch has also earned recognition from the national swimming world being named the USA coach of the year in 1998.

    But possibly the most desirable characteristic about Busch is one that is visible away from the public eye.

    “”He’s an incredible motivator,”” Augie said of his father. “”He gets people fired up and into the mindset of sacrificing for the good of the team.

    “”Just looking at his hotel room speeches, he can really get people wanting that next level and that’s probably his biggest strength.

    With an already full resume as well as the respect from the swimming world, Frank said he is just excited to once again get a chance to not only coach a great team, but compete for his country.

    “”Anytime you get a chance to represent your country it is an unbelievable honor,”” Busch said. “”There are eight coaches on this staff. That means only eight coaches out of all the coaches in the country get the honor to do this and I’m just fortunate enough to be one of them.””

    Busch won’t be the only Arizona representative for the American team in Beijing. Senior Lacey Nymeyer qualified herself in the 400-meter freestyle relay during the Olympic Trials this past week in Omaha, Neb.

    The Tucson native and former NCAA champion in the 200m freestyle also earned herself a chance to compete in the 100m freestyle despite finishing third at the trials. The winner of the event, 41-year-old sensation Dara Torres, chose not to compete in the event after having already qualified in two events prior.

    “”I’m very proud of (Lacey),”” Busch said. “”She’s a very determined young lady.

    “”Her attention to detail and her ability to focus on the task at hand along with the time she has spent in preparation, those things are her strengths.””

    Nymeyer joins former Wildcat Amanda Beard as the lone Arizona swimmer to make the women’s team.

    The only other familiar face Busch will see from Tucson on the U.S. team will be that of Arizona-adopted swimmer Matt Grevers.

    Grevers, originally a graduate of Northwestern University, has since trained with the Wildcats and according to Busch has become “”just another member of the team.””

    The 23-year-old Illinois native will compete in two events in August, the 100m backstroke and 400m relay.

    Although the two swimmers will be the lone Wildcats competing for the American side as Arizona hopefuls Whitney Myers, Laura Jackson, and Adam Ritter all fell short, the Wildcats will still be well represented in Beijing as 12 other current and former Arizona swimmers have qualified for their respective countries.

    Most notable is senior Darian Townsend, who earned a second trip to the Summer Games after helping set a world record while a member of the South Africa 400m freestyle relay team in 2004.

    Townsend will join Arizona teammate Jean Basson and former Wildcats Lyndon Ferns, Ryk Neethling and Roland Schoeman in representing South Africa in early August.

    With a healthy number of Wildcats headed to Beijing, Augie said he feels confident Arizona should be well represented in the medal count.

    “”There should be a lot of medals,”” Busch said of the Arizona swimmers’ chances in the Olympics. “”Lacey (Nymeyer) is gonna get a couple medals being on the relay and Matt Grevers should get something and the South Africans should win tons of metals.

    “”(Arizona) should end up with more than eight which is what we had in ’04. I’m pretty confident of that.””

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