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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Swim, dive capture Pac-10 title”

    The No. 7 Arizona women’s swimming and diving team won the Pacific 10 Conference Championships for the second time in school history this weekend in Long Beach, Calif.

    The Wildcats (9-2, 5-2 Pacific 10 Conference) left the event with four individual titles, three relay championships and 17 NCAA automatic qualifying times, not to mention a confidence boost, after beating top contenders No. 3 California (11-0, 7-0) and No. 6 Stanford (13-2, 4-2) for the title.

    “”I was very surprised about it, and I am very excited about the next three weeks,”” said Arizona swimming head coach Frank Busch.

    “”It was great – the whole team was just glowing,”” senior swimmer Marshi Smith said. “”It feels really good to win when you are not at 100 percent.””

    Smith said that while she knows Busch was shocked, the team felt they had a good chance to win even before the meet started. Smith credited the first relay the Wildcats won for the momentum to win the rest of the races.

    “”We started to realize that we could pull it off in the third day,”” said Arizona assistant coach Augie Busch, who said he knew the freestyle events were the team’s strength.

    Sophomore Courtney Cashion took the 100-yard freestyle event with a time of 48.59. The 400y free relay team set a new record for the event with the team of Cashion, senior Jenna Gresdal, sophomore Lacey Nymeyer and freshman Taylor Baughman, swimming in a time of 3:16.60.

    The Wildcats defended their title in the 200y freestyle relay. With Cashion again leading the team, Gresdal, freshman Anna Turner and Nymeyer clocked in a winning time of 1:30.22.

    “”Titles are the furthest thing from our mind,”” Augie Busch said. “”We are hoping to be tough. We were the least rested of any of the teams.””

    He said that the other teams gear up more for the Pac-10 Championships, whereas the Wildcats usually save their strategy for the upcoming NCAA Championships.

    Smith said that the team’s celebration was unconventional compared to previous years.

    Usually the winning team throws its coaches in the pool. Instead, the Wildcats just stood behind the blocks and sang “”Bear Down, Arizona.””

    “”Our coaches said that they are not ready to go swimming yet. … They wanted to go swimming at (the) NCAAs,”” Smith said. “”We are celebrating with a lot of rest now.””

    Junior Whitney Myers won the title in the 400y individual medley with a time of 4:14.18. Gresdal also claimed an individual Pac-10 title in the 100y backstroke in 53.05, which also automatically qualified her for the National Championships.

    The women took the Pac-10 title in the 200y medley relay as well. The team of seniors Smith, Erin Sieper and freshmen Turner and Lara Jackson swam a title-winning time of 1:39.60.

    Smith said that it is a feat just to finish this Pac-10 meet with the six women she started out with her freshman year.

    “”It’s so amazing to end senior year with such a victory and to do it with five of my sisters,”” she said. “”It’s so special. It doesn’t happen often.””

    Rest is next on the docket for the team before the event the swimmers train for all year, the NCAA Championships, which take place March 16-18 in Athens, Ga.

    “”We are a quarter rested right now,”” Augie Busch said. “”These races will carry us over.””

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