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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Swim falls to third at Pac-10 Championships

    Heading into its meet Saturday night, the No. 5 Arizona swimming and diving team was in second place, leading third-place California by four points.

    But after the final night of competition, the men (6-3, 3-2) saw hopes of their best finish at the Pacific 10 Conference Championships since 1996 dashed as they slipped back into third place, where they ultimately finished with 625 points.

    “”Well, we really didn’t care what place we got,”” UA head coach Frank Busch said. “”So to us, it wasn’t a matter of looking at how many points we could score – and the fact that we did as well as we did and scored as many points as we did is fine – but our sole venture was to pick up some additional swimmers for the (NCAA Championships).””

    The team did just that, adding at least one additional member of the team to the 10 men that will make the trip to Minneapolis on March 15-17,with possibly another addition.

    Junior Bart Steninger tallied a NCAA automatic-qualifying time, the first of his career, in the 200-yard breaststroke Saturday night, finishing in third with a time of 1:56.40.

    Busch categorized Steninger’s finish as “”one of the great swims in the history of our program.””

    The team is still waiting to hear whether freshman Bryan O’Connor, who posted a sixth-place finish in the 200y backstroke Saturday night, will be added to its NCAA roster, Busch said.

    Over the four-day conference meet in Seattle, the Wildcats had two Pac-10 champions, including senior Adam Ritter in the 200y individual medley – his first individual title of his collegiate career – and the 800y freestyle relay team of Ritter, junior Darian Townsend, sophomore Nicolas Nilo and freshman Jean Basson.

    “”It was maybe the best conference meet we’ve ever had, just had some pretty amazing swims,”” Busch said. “”I’m pretty happy right now. We’re in a really good place going into the (NCAAs) right now.””

    The men continued to see success in the relays, finishing second in the 400y medley relay Friday night with the team of Ritter, Nilo and juniors Albert Subirats and Ivan Barnes.

    Then, the following night, in the 400y freestyle relay, Ritter, Townsend, Subirats and freshman Joel Greenshields came in third place.

    Also successful at the meet was junior Matt Biel, who finished fifth in the 1,650y freestyle Saturday.

    The Wildcats showed the most promise Friday night, accumulating seven top-eight individual finishes, including one NCAA automatic qualifying time posted by Nilo in the 200y freestyle.

    Another notable swim Friday was Subirats’ in the 100y butterfly, a fourth-place finish.

    “”You always want to see something bigger and better than you get, but we did a lot of really good things,”” Busch said.

    With the NCAAs only a couple weeks away, Busch said he would like to see the team repeat the cycle it performed last year when it finished fourth at the conference meet and second in the nation.

    “”That shows you the value that we put on the Pac-10 meet, so we beat all the teams that beat us at conference (last year),”” he said. “”I think that’s what we’re looking for this year. “”We want to be the best in the Pac-10 at the NCAAs.””

    In the diving well

    For the men’s diving team, freshman Mike Guilfoil tallied the best finish during Friday and Saturday’s competitions, as he came in sixth in the platform event Saturday.

    Junior Craig Sheedy finished 11th in the same event.

    In the 3-meter springboard competition Friday night, junior Matt Bisordi came in seventh place followed by Guilfoil in 12th place and Sheedy in 13th place.

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