1999-2000 Men's Swimming & Diving Year-In-Review
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - Five Pac-10 teams finished in the top-ten at the 2000 NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships in Minneapolis, Minn. ARIZONA (360.5) led the way for the Conference finishing in third, followed by STANFORD (4th, 279.5), CALIFORNIA (5th, 279), USC (6th, 249), and ARIZONA STATE (10th, 152.5).
At the NCAA Championships, Pac-10 institutions won seven individual titles. Arizona's Ryk Neethling won titles in the 200 and 400-meter freestyle events, both U.S. Open records, while finishing third in the 1,650-yard freestyle. His two wins give him nine NCAA individual titles for his four-year career, third-best in NCAA history. Only John Naber of USC (10) and Pablo Morales of Stanford (11) have more. He racked up a remarkable 56 points, second-best among individuals.
At the Pac-10's in Federal Way, Wash., Stanford (794) won its 19th consecutive Pac-10 Championship, defeating California by 32 points. California finished second (762), followed by USC (699.5), Arizona (468), Arizona State (420), and Washington (209.5). Neethling successfully defended his Conference title in the 1,650 freestyle. It was the fourth consecutive year that he won the 1,650 free.
Neethling, a 6-3 senior from Bloemfontein, South Africa, was named Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year for the fourth year in a row. The feat matches Dave Wharton of USC who is the only other swimmer to ever garner the honor four times (1988-91). At the Pac-10 Swimming Championships in Federal Way, Wash., Neethling successfully defended his Conference titles in the 500 and 1,650 freestyle. It was the fourth consecutive year that he won the 1,650 free and third consecutive year winning the 500 free.
CALIFORNIA's Anthony Ervin, a 6-2 freshman from Valenica, Calif., was named Freshman of the Year. He won two individual NCAA titles in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle events, as well as swimming a leg on the winning 400-meter freestyle relay team at this year's NCAA Championships. Ervin became the first Bear to win more than one individual title since 1997. He broke the World Record in the 50 free with a time of 21.21 seconds. He also set a U.S. Open record in the 100 free with a time of 47.36. At the Pac-10 Championships, Ervin swam on the winning 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams. He had two second place markings in the 50 and 100 free.
ARIZONA's Frank Busch, has been named Coach of the Year for the second time (1993) in his 11-year career and fifth time overall (men's and women's swimming combined). Busch was also named the Women's Swimming Coach of the Year for 2000. It is the first time in Pac-10 history that a swimming coach has earned both honors in the same season. The women's award has been given since 1987 and the men's began in 1976. Busch's Wildcats finished third at the NCAA Championships, marking the best finish in school history for the men's program. Arizona placed fourth at the Pac-10 Championships.
On the diving side, Ruben Vaca of ARIZONA was named Diver and Newcomer of the Year, as he claimed two of the three individual diving events at the Pac-10 Diving Championships in Los Angeles, California. Vaca, a member of the Mexican National Team from 1997-99, won the 1-meter springboard and the platform event. Vaca also finished third in the 3-meter springboard. At the 2000 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, Vaca placed 9th, 17th, and 18th in the 1-meter, platform, and 3-meter events.
ARIZONA's Michelle Mitchell-Rocha, in her fourth year at the helm of the Arizona diving program, helped direct not only Vaca and the men's team, but also the women's team. Besides Vaca, Mitchell-Rocha also claimed three other top-seven finishers among the three events at the Conference Championships. She also helped the UA men's team to a third place finish at the NCAA Championships, the school's best finish ever. The Men's Coach of the Year award is the second of Mitchell-Rocha's career.
SWIMMER OF THE YEAR: Ryk Neethling, ARIZ
SWIMMING FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Anthony Ervin, CAL
DIVER OF THE YEAR: Ruben Vaca, ARIZ
DIVING NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: Ruben Vaca, ARIZ
SWIMMING COACH OFTHE YEAR: Frank Busch, ARIZ
DIVING COACH OF THE YEAR: Michelle Mitchell-Rocha, ARIZ