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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    NCAAs cap great year for program

    Whitney Myers
    Whitney Myers

    swim and dive season recap

    The Arizona men’s and women’s swim and dive teams started out their seasons with many new faces, so Arizona head coach Frank Busch was unsure if the freshmen could live up to the teams’ past success. But he had no reason to worry. The team came together better than magnets to make this season one of the best in the history of the program.

    The season was capped off for Busch with a record-shattering performance by the men’s team at the NCAA Championships in Atlanta. The men finished second, their highest finish in school history, winning four of the five relay events along the way.

    “”To break as many records as we did, it’s a coach’s dream and a team’s determination,”” Busch said.

    The women also faired well at the NCAA Championships, coming in third for the third year in a row. Junior Whitney Myers left the championships with two individual crowns, and the team came away with three relay titles, the most ever for the program.

    “”These relays, records – second for the men, third for women,”” Busch said. “”It was a commitment form every single person.””

    This was not something that Busch saw in the stars from the beginning, although he said he knew his teams were capable of great things. He said he credits all of the seniors for holding the teams together.

    “”For some reason, because we had so many seniors, it was different; their athletic skill was driven by their desire,”” he said. “”When you get that combination, something out of the ordinary will take place.””

    He said the seniors will leave huge holes that will not be easily filled.

    “”This group has been very special,”” Busch said. “”This is not a group that will be replaced.””

    Busch said the team came together better than he expected. Prior to the NCAA Championships, the team had not won many relay events.

    “”You start every season, and you hope that you can realize your full potential, but you don’t know how it will work out,”” Busch said.

    Work out it did, and Busch said he could not be more proud of the teams for finishing how they did.

    Because we had so many seniors, it was different; their athletic skill was driven by their desire. When you get that combination, something out of the ordinary takes place.

    – Frank Busch,
    head coach

    Senior Marshi Smith, a captain on the women’s team this season who was sidelined by a shoulder injury, said this season was the best she has seen at Arizona.

    “”With new people coming in, the team dynamic changes with all the incoming freshmen this year,”” Smith said. “”But we worked really hard, as always. I’ve worked harder than ever this year.””

    Smith said the NCAAs meshed the men’s and women’s teams together, making them hard to beat.

    Despite not having her season go as well as she had hoped, Smith said it was important to her to not draw the focus on herself and her injury.

    “”Even though I was going through a difficult time, during the (NCAAs) I still wanted to be there for my team,”” Smith said.

    She said she still feels like she made an impact on the team.

    “”I know that at Arizona, it’s not all about points,”” Smith said.

    Senior swimmer and NCAA 100-yard butterfly individual champion Lyndon Ferns said the team had a great season.

    “”The season was great – the results speak for themselves,”” Ferns said.

    The men only having 10 athletes qualify for the NCAA Championships, and their second-place performance was unprecedented. Busch said he has never seen a team with so few athletes do so well.

    The seniors took the glory for the diving team as well.

    Senior diver Tiffany Manning, who came back from injury this year to compete, said she is happy with how her season went. She placed well at dual meets throughout the season.

    “”Pac-10s was the best for me all-around on three boards because I was consistent,”” Manning said.

    Arizona diving head coach Michele Mitchell-Rocha said she thought the women’s team had a terrific year. She said the men’s team was plagued by strange injuries and things happening beyond their control.

    “”Now it’s time to look forward and recap,”” Mitchell-Rocha said.

    In recapping a season of record-breaking and history-making, there must be something in the water.

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