Wildcats travel to Long Island for NCAA Championships

March 23, 2004

This Week in the Pool - The No. 9 Arizona men's swimming and diving team will travel to Long Island, N.Y., to compete in the 2004 NCAA Championships on March 25-27. The action takes place at the Nassau County Aquatic Center and will bring the best in college swimming under one roof to compete for the national championship. Preliminaries begin at 12 p.m. (EST) each day and finals will start at 7 p.m. (EST)

Who's Qualified? - The Wildcats will bring 10 swimmers and one diver to the NCAA Championships. The eleven athletes will be participating in 28 individual events, five relays and three diving events.

Name/Event(s)

Simon Burnett/ 100 and 200 free
Tyler DeBerry/ 200, 500, and 1650 free
Lyndon Ferns/ 50 and 100 free/100 fly
Eric La Fleur/ 50 and 100 free
Greg Owen/ 100 and 200 breast
Dave Rollins/ 200 IM/100 and 200 breast
Juan Veloz/ 200 and 400 IM/200 fly
Byron Jeffers/ 200 IM/100 and 200 free
Adam Ritter/ 100 and 200 free
Nate Stevens/ 100 and 200 breast
Josh Anderson/ 1-meter/3-meter/platform

Last Dip in the Water - The Arizona men's swimming and diving team competed at the 2004 Pac-10 Championships in Long Beach. The Wildcats finished in third place with a total of 522.5 points. Arizona posted a total of 24 NCAA consideration times and three NCAA automatic times. The Arizona men's and women's diving teams traveled to Federal Way, Wash., to compete in the Pac-10 Diving Championships.

The Wildcats started off competition at the league championships in third place (201 points) after two relays and four individual events. Sophomore Lyndon Ferns took second place in the 50y freestyle, setting an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 19.62. Sophomore Tyler DeBerry was fourth in the 500y freestyle with a personal-best time of 4:22.94, which also marked the first NCAA consideration time of the evening. In the 200y IM, sophomore Dave Rollins finished in fifth place (1:48.07).

The 200y free relay team of Ferns, senior Eric La Fleur, junior Byron Jeffers, and Rollins placed third with an NCAA consideration time of 1:19.36.

After three days of competition, the Wildcats maintained the third-place position with 371.5 points and nine NCAA consideration times. Senior Juan Veloz placed seventh in the 400y IM, posting the first NCAA consideration time of 3:52.98. DeBerry finished fifth in the 200y freestyle (1:37.95), and Jeffers finished seventh (1:38.57), with both posting NCAA consideration times. In the 100y breaststroke, junior Nate Stevens finished in fifth place (54.22), while senior Greg Owen finished sixth (54.35).

In the 400ymedley relay, the team of Rollins, Stevens, Ferns and La Fleur took third place with an NCAA consideration time of 3:12.84In the 1650-yard freestyle, DeBerry finished in eighth place with an NCAA consideration time of 15:22.42. Posting another NCAA consideration time in the 100-yard freestyle, Ferns finished fourth with a time of 43.67. In the 100-yard freestyle consolation finals, La Fleur and Burnett both finished with NCAA consideration times.

Owen finished fifth in the 200-yard breaststroke (1:57.78) Stevens finished eighth (2:00.37) both posting NCAA consideration times. Veloz took second place in the 200-yard butterfly (1:44.37) posting an NCAA automatic qualifying time.To end the Pac-10 Championships, the 400-yard free relay team of Ferns, la Fleur, Jeffers, and Burnett finished in second place posting the second NCAA automatic qualifying time of the evening (2:52.39).

What's up in the Well? - The Arizona men's and women's diving teams completed the 2004 Zone E Diving Championships in Oklahoma City, Okla., qualifying three divers for the NCAA championships. Freshman Mary Yarrison qualified for all three diving events by winning the 3-meter competition, finishing second on the platform and third on the 1-meter board. Senior Daniela Bemme finished third on the 10-meter platform, automatically qualifying for NCAAs.

Senior Josh Anderson was the only male diver to qualify for the NCAA Championships. Anderson won the 10-meter platform competition and placed second on both the 1-and 3-meter boards, which gives him an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships next week.

The women's NCAA Championships- The Arizona women's swimming and diving team traveled to College Station, TX for the 2004 NCAA Championships on March 18-20. The Wildcats finished in third place with 369 points.

Junior Emily Mason was crowned the 2004 NCAA Champion in the 400-meter freestyle setting an NCAA record with a time of 4:01.58. Mason now holds the second fastest time in the world for the 400 free and is currently the only NCAA Champion in the entire UA athletics department for the 2003-04 season.

Mason quotes, 'I can't believe that I won, I am so excited. First of all, this was my first time to actually make the finals in the 400 free and I was incredibly late to the start of the race. That got my adrenalin running pretty good and it didn't give me time to settle down and think about the race too much. So maybe I should be late every time!'

Freshman Whitney Myers made her debut at the NCAA Championships finishing third in the 200-meter individual medley with a time of 2:10.23. The 400-meter medley relay team of sophomore Marshi Smith, senior Jessica Wagner, Myers, and junior Jessica Hayes also finished third with a time of 3:59.18.The 200-meter freestyle relay team of Smith, sophomore Jenna Gresdal, Hayes, and sophomore Ryann Hackett finished ninth overall and first in the consolation finals with a time of 1:40.31.

In the diving well, senior Daniela Bemme finished 20th in the prelims of the 1-meter competition and freshman Mary Yarrison was 32nd.After the second day of competition, the Wildcats maintained the third place position with 261 points. The Wildcats qualified seven individual swimmers and two relay teams in the championship finals.

Starting things off for the women was Mason who finished third in the 400-meter IM with a time of 4:35.38.Three individuals qualified for the championship finals of the 100-meter backstroke including Hayes who finished fifth (1:00.38), Gresdal in sixth (1:00.44) and Smith in seventh (1:00.54).

The 200-meter medley relay team of Smith, senior Jessica Wagner, Myers, and Gresdal finished fourth with a time of 1:50.07. Myers also finished fourth in the 100-meter butterfly with a time of 58.06.

Hayes and freshman Melissa Johnson qualified for the championship finals of the 200-meter freestyle where Hayes finished sixth (1:58.30) and Johnson finished eighth (2:00.42). In the consolation finals of the 100-meter breaststroke, sophomore Erin Sieper finished first (1:07.76) and Wagner finished not far behind in second (1:08.22).The 800-meter free relay team of Mason, Hayes, Myers and Johnson ended the action with a third place finish in a time of 7:54.27.

In the diving well, Yarrison finished 14th in the 3-meter competition with 479.55 points.To complete the NCAA Championships, the Wildcats broke a total of ten school records and one NCAA record over the course of the three day competition. 'It was a fantastic team effort,' said head coach Frank Busch, 'We had eleven All-Americans contributing to our third place finish, I'd say that is pretty awesome. We came here ranked sixth and left in third place, this is the highest we have finished at the NCAA Championships since 2000.'

Hayes started things off for the Wildcats in the 200-meter backstroke where she finished fourth with a time of 2:07.84. Sieper finished sixth in the championship finals of the 200-meter breaststroke with a time of 2:26.75.

Myers and Mason both qualified for the championship finals of the 200-meter butterfly. Myers entered the race with the top-seed after swimming a time of 2:07.30 in prelims and finished third in the finals with a time of 2:06.33. Mason finished in fifth place (2:07.77).

Bemme qualified for the 10-meter platform diving finals after finishing seventh in prelims with 260.70 points. Bemme finished sixth in finals with 423.15 points. Yarrison finished tenth overall contributing ten points to the Wildcat's third place finish.To end the Championships, the 200-meter free relay team of Hayes, Gresdal, Myers, and Smith finished fourth with a time of 3:40.33.

Records Broken:

Event Name
50 Free- Marshi Smith
100 Free- Jessica Hayes
200 Free- Emily Mason
400 Free- Emily Mason
100 Fly- Whitney Myers
200 Fly- Whitney Myers
200 IM- Whitney Myers
400 IM- Emily Mason
200 Free Relay
800 Free Relay

Head Coach Frank Busch- Busch was named the 2004 NCAA Coach of the Year at the women's NCAA Championships last week. This is the second year Busch has received the award since he was last honored in 1993.

Head Diving Coach Michele Mitchell-Rocha - Head coach Michele Mitchell-Rocha is in her eighth year with the Wildcat diving program. Mitchell-Rocha is a four-time recipient of the men's Pac-10 Diving Coach of the Year.

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