Pac-10 Swimming and Diving Season Wrap-Up

April 20, 2006

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Two Pac-10 teams finished in the Top-10 and three teams finished in the Top-20 at the 2006 NCAA Championship in Atlanta, Ga. ARIZONA led the group, finishing second (440.5), followed by third-place STANFORD (362.5), sixth-place CALIFORNIA (250.5), and seventh-place USC (223.0).

At the NCAA Championships, Pac-10 institutions won four individual titles, as well as four of the five relay events. Arizona's Simon Burnett defended his three-time 200-freestyle crown, while breaking his own NCAA school records, and setting new U.S. Open and pool records with a time of 1:31.20. California's Henrique Barbosa swept both breaststroke events, setting two pool records.

At the Pac-10's in Federal Way, Wash., Stanford (880.0) won its 25th-consecutive Pac-10 Championship, defeating runner-up California (796.0). USC placed third (530.0), followed by Arizona (519.0), ARIZONA STATE (352.0), and WASHINGTON (188.0).

Arizona's Burnett was named the Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year, while Stanford's Nate Cass received Newcomer of the Year honors. Stanford coach Skip Kenney picked up his sixth-straight Coach of the Year award.

Burnett, a senior from Tetsworth, U.K., won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:33.26 at the Pac-10 Championships, setting a new Pac-10 meet record and marking one of the first individual Pac-10 championships for Arizona since 2002. He also swam with Arizona's first-place 800-freestyle relay team, which set a new Pac-10 meet record and a new school record in 6:18.70. At the NCAA Championships, Burnett defended his 200-freestyle crown, while breaking his own NCAA and school records, and setting new U.S. Open and pool records with a time of 1:31.20. Burnett also contributed to Wildcat record-breaking victories in the 200-yard medley relay, the 400-yard freestyle relay, and the 800-yard freestyle relay.

Cass, a freshman from Columbus, Ohio, placed second in the 200-yard individual medley, fifth in the 100-yard backstroke, and seventh in the 200-yard backstroke at the Pac-10 Championships. At the NCAA Championships, Cass finished seventh in the 200 IM, eighth in the 100-yard breaststroke, and 10th in the 200-yard breaststroke.

Kenney coached his swimmers to seven individual and two relay titles at the Conference Championships. Kenney coached Stanford to a third-place finish at the NCAA Championships in Atlanta, Ga., after the Cardinal were voted champion of the 2005-06 dual meet season in the S.R. Smith - College Swim Coaches Association (CSCAA) Top-25 Poll. The men's swimming Coach of the Year award is the 18th of Kenney's career.

For diving awards, Arizona State's Joona Puhakka, a senior from Helsinki, Finland, was named Diver of the Year for the fourth consecutive year. Puhakka is is the first diver in Conference history to earn eight Pac-10 diving championships. Stanford's Dwight Dumais, from Ventura, Calif., was named the Newcomer of the Year. Dumais finished second in both springboard events at the 2006 Pac-10 Diving Championships. He also took third on the platform. Arizona State's Mark Bradshaw won his fourth consecutive Diving Coach of the Year award. He led the Sun Devils to an 14th place finish at the NCAA Championships.


Four Pac-10 teams finished in the Top-10 at the NCAA Championships in Athens, Ga. ARIZONA led the group with a third-place finish (415), followed by fourth-place CALIFORNIA (291), fifth-place STANFORD (209), and sixth-place USC (193). The Pac-10 collected five individual national titles and three relay championships at the event.

Arizona's Whitney Myers, a junior from Oxford, Ohio, was named Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year after she won the 400-yard individual medley at the 2006 Pac-10 Championships, touching in 4:14.18. At the NCAA Championships, Myers won both the 200 and 400 IM events, and was a member of Arizona's 400-yard freestyle relay team that finished in 3:12.77, setting U.S. Open, NCAA, pool and school records at the meet. The junior also contributed to Arizona's win in the 400-yard medley relay that finished in 3:31.70. Myers was a finalist for the 2005-06 Swimming and Diving Honda Sports Award to determine the top woman collegiate athlete in the sport.

USC's Rebecca Soni, a freshman from Plainsboro, N.J., won Newcomer of the Year honors and was named Swimmer of the Meet at the 2006 Pac-10 Championships, after swimming the fastest 200-yard breaststroke in the country this season (2:08.16). Soni earned two Pac-10 individual titles in the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststrokes and finished third in the 200-yard IM. She also contributed to a USC victory in the 400-yard medley relay. At the NCAA Championships, Soni won the Trojans' first NCAA title in the 200-yard breaststroke since 1997. Soni, who touched in 2:09.37, is the first USC freshman to win an NCAA title since 2004 and finished the season undefeated in the event.

Arizona's Frank Busch earned Pac-10 Coach of the Year, leading the Wildcats to a third place finish at the NCAA Championships for the third straight year. The Wildcats finished the meet with 415 points, the most ever accumulated at the meet in school history, while winning two individual and three relay events. Busch coached his Arizona team to the school's second Pac-10 championship in school history. The women's swimming Coach of the Year award is the sixth of Busch's career.

USC's Blythe Hartley, a senior from North Vancouver, B.C., earned this year's Diver of the Year Award. Hartley rounded out her collegiate career by winning both the one-meter and three-meter springboard titles at the 2006 NCAA Championships. By winning both events in the same meet, she became just the fourth diver in NCAA history to accomplish the feat and was named the 2006 NCAA Women's Diver of the Year, her third such honor. Hartley came into this year's national championship meet as the only diver in NCAA history to own national titles in all three diving events. In addition to this year's springboard success, she took seventh in the final round of the platform event, marking her 12th NCAA final appearance in 12 attempts, and making her a career 12-time All-American. At the Pac-10 Championships, Hartley won both the one and three-meter springboards and was named Diver of the Meet. Hartley joined Myers as a finalist for the 2005-06 Swimming and Diving Honda Sports Award.

UCLA's Marisa Samaneigo, a freshman from Altadena, Calif., was named Newcomer of the Year. Samaniego finished fifth in the one-meter and ninth in the three-meter springboard event at the 2006 Pac-10 Diving Championships, qualifying for the Zone E Diving Championships, where she was UCLA's highest finisher, placing eighth with a total score of 521.40. At the NCAA Championships, she placed 38th in the one-meter and 32nd in the three-meter springboard.

In his seventh year at USC, Pac-10 Diving Coach of the Year Hongping Li helped lead the Trojans to two Pac-10 individual titles and four top-eight finishes. The USC swimming and diving team took sixth overall at the NCAA Championships. The Women's Coach of the Year award is Li's fifth in the last six years. Li ws also named the 2006 NCAA Women's Diving Coach of the Year, his second such honor.

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