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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Busch completes final NCAA meet

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Frank Busch is a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Swimming team. (USOC/MCT)

For Arizona’s swimming and diving head coach Frank Busch, the men’s 2011 NCAA Championships last week marked his very last meet for Arizona.

After a remarkable 22 seasons as the Wildcats’ head coach, Busch is stepping down from his position in May to become USA Swimming’s national team director — a prestigious role in the swimming world.

Busch certainly has the credentials for his future role. He is a six-time NCAA Coach of the Year, an 11-time Pacific 10 Conference Coach of the Year and has been named Coach of the Year by both USA Swimming and the United States Olympic Committee — just to name a few.

For his Wildcat career, a major milestone was winning Arizona’s first NCAA Championships for both the men’s and women’s teams in 2008.

When the men’s team placed fourth last week at the NCAA championships, it became the team’s seventh top-four finish within the last eight seasons.

“”It was a very good meet for us, our guys did a great job and to get fourth in the country and have another national title,”” Busch said. “”We had a great meet.””

There has been talk that Arizona’s second day of competition was a setback for the team. Busch refutes the notion, saying that the performance of the top-three teams was just too much to overcome.

“”I think there’s always some flow when you go into a three-day meet like this,”” Busch said. “”You can have some great sessions, sessions that aren’t so good and then come back again and have some great ones, so it’s just the nature of the beast. It happens to all teams.””

California took the ultimate title, followed by Texas and then Stanford. Unlike the Wildcats, the top three teams came to the championships bearing more upperclassmen than the Wildcats. Arizona’s youth was also speculated to be a hindrance.

“”The winner is arguably the best senior class ever in the history of NCAA swimming. They were very top-heavy with talent and senior leadership,”” Busch said. “”Texas had some key seniors, as did Stanford. We certainly weren’t in a position with only one senior there with us. So, it looks good for us for years to come.””

When Busch walked off the deck last week knowing it was his last meet as Arizona’s swimming and diving head coach, he left with a smile.

“”I was happy, I was happy because of the way we performed, that made it easier,”” Busch said. “”I was happy, because the main people there wished me good luck and people I’ve known for a long time and have seen for a long time.

“”It’s always difficult when you’re around a place for a long period of time. I’ve been around the deck of the pool for 31 years, at this level, and then seeing people for the last time on a pool deck doing the same thing. All the friendships I’ve made will continue to blossom over time, but it will be different, that’s for sure.””

2011 men’s NCAA highlights

Along with junior captain Cory Chitwood’s national title in the 200-yard backstroke, he was also awarded All-America honors for the 100y backstroke.

Like Chitwood, freshman Mitchell Friedemann earned All-America honors for the 100y backstroke. Chitwood placed sixth, while Friedemann came in eighth place.

Other individual All-America honors were awarded to junior Austen Thompson after he came in fourth in the 400y individual medley, as well as junior Kevin Munsch, who placed seventh overall in the 100y breaststroke.

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