Arizona Wins 2008 NCAA Swimming Championships

March 22, 2008

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The University of Arizona won the 2008 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships held in Ohio State's McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion. The Wildcats totaled 484 team points during the three-day competition. Auburn (348) finished second and Stanford (343) finished third.

Swimmer of the meet was Florida's Caroline Burckle, while Chelsea Davis (Ohio State), Emma Friesen (Hawaii) and Brittany Viola (Miami) shared the diver of the meet award. Arizona coach Frank Busch was named swimming coach of the meet, and Ohio State's Vince Panzano was diving coach of the meet.

'I just think it was a terrible disappointment to lose the title last year on the last day,' said Busch. 'This team has had a lot of time to think about that. They've been talking about winning this championship for a year. They have been thinking about this meet for a long time.'

'This is awesome. It doesn't get any better than this. The team was awesome. They relayed up. I've never experienced anything like this. This group is determined; they are fun to be around. I'm going to really enjoy this championship.'

Michigan junior Emily Brunemann was the winner of the 1650 freestyle in a time of 15:53.69. Whitney Sprague of North Carolina (15:57.77) placed second and Kelsey Ditto of Georgia (15:59.01) finished third. 'I knew it was going to take guts to win this race,' Brunemann said. 'I've raced Sprague a bunch of times and she's a great competitor.'

After winning the 100-yard backstroke last night, Florida sophomore Gemma Spofforth repeated as NCAA champion in the 200 backstroke, finishing in a time of 1:50.70. Indiana's Kateryna Zubkova (1:53.17) took second and Kristen Heiss of Texas A&M (1:53.52) placed third.

'It feels very good to win both the 100 and the 200; this double was for Mom,' an emotional Spofforth said.

In the 100 freestyle, the winner was Arizona senior Lacey Nymeyer, in a pool record 47.50. Second was Julia Wilkinson of Texas A&M (47.56), while Tennessee's Christine Magnuson (48.15) took third.

'I just knew I had to go out fast and hit it hard,' said Nymeyer, who was a part of three record-setting Arizona relay teams this weekend. 'It's so great to be able to contribute as a senior to our team.'

The winner of the 200 breaststroke was Rebecca Soni of Southern California; the junior posted an NCAA meet record time of 2:06.32 in winning her third straight title in this event. Second was Elizabeth Smith of Stanford (2:08.73) and Alia Atkinson of Texas A&M (2:09.48) was third. 'I'm really proud of the way I swam because everyone in this field swam really fast,' Soni said.

Saori Haruguchi won the 200 butterfly; the Oregon State junior posted an NCAA meet record time of 1:52.39. Stanford's Elaine Breeden (1:53.27) placed second and Auburn's Ava Ohlgren (1:54.64) place d third.

'I knew if I gave it my all I could do it,' Haruguchi said. 'I trusted my strokes and I had fun.'

In platform diving, the winner was Miami sophomore Brittany Viola (362.60), followed by Stanford's Margaret Hostage (347.20) and Purdue's Kara Cook (311.00).

In the final event of the competition, Arizona completed its relay sweep, winning the 400 freestyle relay in a U.S. and NCAA record time of 3:11.34. California (3:13.03) was second and Texas A&M (3:13.08) placed third.

Women's Swimming and Diving NCAA Championships

Top 10 Team Standings: 1) Arizona 484; 2) Auburn 348; 3) Stanford 343; 4) Texas A&M 315; 5) California 291; 6) Florida 277.5; 7) Georgia 198; 8) Tennessee 179.5; 9) Michigan 130; 10) Indiana.

Saturday Event Winners: 1650 freestyle - Emily Brunemann (Michigan) 15:53.69; 200 backstroke - Gemma Spofforth (Florida) 1:50.70; 100 freestyle - Lacey Nymeyer (Arizona) 47.50; 200 breaststroke - Rebecca Soni (Southern Cal) 2:06.32; 200 butterfly - Saori Haruguchi (Oregon State) 1:52.39; Platform diving - Brittany Viola (Miami) 362.60; 400 freestyle relay - Arizona 3:11.34.

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