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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Seniors prepping for rivalry, last regular-season meet

Arizona swimming closes out its regular season on Saturday with a meet against rival ASU in Tempe. Seniors Austen Thompson and Emma Darlington said the significance of the meet isn’t due to the rivalry, but rather what it means to the big picture.

“I’m excited, not really for the fact they’re our rivals,” Darlington said. “Just to get some more racing in before we head off to Pac-12 and NCAA because that’s really our main focus this year.”

Darlington redshirted last season due to a shoulder injury, but her presence has been felt this season on the 400 and 200 free relay team, recording the first and second fastest times in the country. Recently, Darlington played a role in the first-place finish in the 400-medley relay against No. 4 Texas.

Thompson, who is from the Phoenix area, never considered attending ASU, which he said was a reason the Sun Devils never heavily recruited him. Thompson said he has always received a lot of support when taking on ASU, but, on occasion, he has heard some heckling about attending the UA.

“Sometimes friends will say things like, ‘ASU is better,’” Thompson said. “But I don’t like to say anything, I let my swimming do the talking.”

Thompson had a standout junior season and his final year at Arizona has been no different — recording a second-place finish in the 200-individual medley against No. 2 Texas, second place for the 400-individual medley against No. 3 Stanford, and third place in the 400-individual medley against No. 6 Cal.

“If you want to race, you are going to have to be bleeding by the end of this race to beat me,” Thompson said of his mindset in the pool.

The Pac-12 Diving Championships will be held on Feb. 23 in Seattle, and the Pac-12 Swimming Championships are slated for Feb. 29 in Long Beach, Calif. The NCAA championships begin March 8.

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