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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Men’s swimming set for NCAAs

A week after the women’s swim team took fifth at the NCAA tournament, it’s the men’s turn.

The No.6 Arizona men’s swimming and diving team is in its second day of competition at the 2011 NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships in Minneapolis, Minne., at University Aquatic Center.

For the three-day meet, the Wildcats took 15 of their top swimmers, all of whom qualified throughout the season. Of those 15, eight have had previous All-American distinction.

A promising competitor amongst the group is junior captain Cory Chitwood, who is the reigning 200-yard backstroke champion. Chitwood will be aiming to defend his title and bring in points for the 100y back, 200y back and 200y individual medley.  

Another standout swimmer is fellow junior Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or, who has the potential to compete in six different events.

For head coach Frank Busch, this tournament marks his final meet with Arizona. Busch, who has been head coach for the past 22 years, will resign in May to take on his new role as USA Swimming’s national team director.

Unlike last year, the Wildcats’ odds of winning are greater, because the team is actually healthy.

Going into the championships last season, Arizona was ranked No. 1 and looking to win its second championship in three seasons.

However, the team found themselves in troubled waters when they were suddenly infected with a gastrointestinal virus just days before the meet. The team managed to claim third place, but knew poor health inevitably hindered its performance.

The team lost eight seniors to graduation last year, but this year, health seems to be on its side.

Going into the meet, California is ranked No. 1, followed by Stanford, Auburn, Texas and then Florida.

Though this is the second year the Cardinal took the Pacific 10 Conference title, Arizona finished ahead of Stanford last year.

If the Wildcats do well, it could be the men’s sixth top-four finish within the last seven seasons.

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