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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Next few weeks vital for swim, dive teams”

    The majority of Arizona’s student body will look toward winter break as a relaxation period, but the same cannot be said for the swim and dive teams.

    Before suiting up for a pair of dual meets on Jan. 2 and Jan. 8, the teams will hit the water in some of the most brutal training sessions of the season.

    “”We’ll pick our training up again and do that all through (break) and all the way until school starts,”” said UA head swim coach Frank Busch. “”The next six weeks will be really important in our training.””

    The men’s and women’s teams will take slightly more than a week off beginning on Dec. 20, but Busch expects them to return to practice for the remaining portion of the break. Then the team will get a little taste of competition.

    In the first of the two upcoming dual meets – both at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center – the men’s only competition will come against Pacific 10 Conference rival Washington. Meanwhile, the women will also take on Washington, but will get an additional visit from the Oregon State Beavers and the NAU Lumberjacks.

    Six days later, both squads will go head-to-head against West Virginia.

    And while they are heavily favored against all of their upcoming opponents, it is important that the Wildcats keep their competitive juices flowing and improve as much as possible before the second semester begins.

    Even senior Lara Jackson, who set a new American and NCAA record in the 50-yard freestyle, Thursday, said there is room for her own improvement.

    “”My coach and I will sit down sometime this week and discuss getting better,”” Jackson said.

    Busch, too, will use the next few weeks to not only push his swimmers, but to make adjustments that could take the team from being just dominant to the best in the country.

    “”In January we’ll be training quite a bit with no school to interrupt us,”” Busch said. “”We’ll really start focusing in, honing in on some specific things.””

    After training was geared toward allowing the swimmers to peak at last week’s Texas Invitational – a meet primarily used to meet time standards for the NCAA championships – the Wildcats will take advantage of not having classes and ramp up their practices.

    “”This is the most intense training of the year,”” said senior Taylor Baughman. “”It’s really hard and pretty stressful.””

    But at the same time, the level of commitment is an expected part for a member of the Arizona swim and dive team. Ask any athlete in Baughman and Jackson’s positions: standing atop the podium during the NCAAs can make these next few weeks all worthwhile.

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