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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Swimming shows firepower in Texas

    The saying “”don’t mess with Texas”” is well known, and when it comes to swimming, the same message holds true.

    But Arizona did mess with Texas, and in a large field of competitors, was the only team able to hang onto the Longhorns. The women upended Texas 1,153.5 to 985 while the men finished second to the Longhorns, 938.5 to 1424.5.

    “”It’s sort of fun to see where we are after first semester,”” said UA senior Taylor Baughman. “”We still are going to put a lot more time into it and see what we can get out of it second semester.””

    Friday and Saturday’s success came just as it had on Thursday, when Lara Jackson smashed the American record in the 50-yard freestyle, setting a new record of 21.37 in the preliminaries, then bettering the time to 21.33 in the finals.

    “”It was definitely one of my goals and I’ve been working at it for a long time,”” Jackson said. “”When I looked up and saw the record I was very happy.””

    Jackson added another win in the opening event Friday, helping the 200y medley team to a qualifying time of 1:36.02. She also took part in the 2nd-place 400y freestyle relay team, which qualified her in yet another NCAA event.

    Junior Ana Agy broke records of her own, setting school records in the 100y and 200y backstroke on consecutive days.

    Agy led a mob of Arizona backstrokers in the 100y event: sophomore Andrea Boritzke, senior Hailey DeGolia and Jackson. In the 200y, Agy nipped teammate Jenny Forster 1:52.47 to 1:52.50.

    Of more than 30 swimmers in the women’s 400y individual medley, Arizona swept the No. 2 through No. 7 spots. Led by Jenny Forster – who finished in 4:07.20 – the Wildcats were only outdone by Longhorn freshman Kathleen Hersey, a 2008 Beijing Olympic finalist in the 200m butterfly.

    The overall success of both men’s and women’s teams comes from a simple concept – teamwork and unity.

    “”It’s easy to swim fast when your teammates are doing so well,”” Baughman said. “”We just feed off each others’ energy. Someone takes the lead and you kind of follow.””

    And even though they placed second, the men’s performance is nothing to scoff at. Furthering their cause were Jack Brown and Marcus Titus.

    The juniors took first and second in the 200y breaststroke and were followed by sophomore teammate Thomas Cole in third. Titus won the 100y breaststroke in 52.97, more than one second faster than the runner-up. Brown came out on top in the 400y individual medley, receiving an automatic invite to the NCAAs.

    Also impacting the men’s success were Jake Tapp and Bryan O’Connor, who were the the first two swimmers to touch the wall in the 200y backstroke, coming in at 1:41.54 and a painfully close 1:41.55.

    Meanwhile, A.J. Tipton added another victory to his young collegiate career. The freshman swam a 1:42.48 in the 200y butterfly while swimming against a talented field, which included 10 swimmers who will be considered for the NCAA championships.

    In the distance events, junior Jean Basson took second in the 1650y freestyle while sophomore Susanna Helms finished fourth in the women’s event.

    As for his thoughts on the weekend, UA head coach Frank Busch was content with his team’s showing, especially considering the circumstances and importance of the invitational.

    “”It was a real long weekend,”” Busch said of the three days of swimming combined with hauling over 50 team members around Texas. “”We know it’s not the perfect setting, but to do as well as they did, I couldn’t be more proud.””

    At a Glance: How the swim teams fared in Austin

    Women’s team 1st place, 168.5 points ahead of Texas
    Men’s team 2nd place, 486 points behind Texas

    Top Performers
    ? Lara Jackson, senior – Won the 50-yard freestyle in an American-record time of 21.33 seconds, helped the 200y medley relay team to a first-place finish and the 400y freestyle take second
    ? Ana Agy, junior – Won the 100y and 200y backstroke, setting school records in each event

    ? Jack Brown, junior – Won the 200y breaststroke and 400y individual medley events
    ? Marcus Titus, junior – Won the 100y and took second in the 200y breaststroke events

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