Men's Swimming Finishes Fifth, Breaks 13 School Records

March 7, 2009

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LONG BEACH, Calif. - The Washington men's swim team finished fifth in the Pac-10 Championships for the first time since 1995-96 and just the second time ever, capping the meet Saturday with four more school records to give them 13 in the four-day championships.

The Huskies saw eight individual records and all five relay records fall during the week, capped by the 400 free relay record falling in the final event of the competition. Evan Bernier, David Bai, Anthony Falaniko and Ben Aaberg finished sixth in 2:54.96, nearly three seconds faster than the previous record. Bernier's leadoff 100 free split of 42.83 also broke his own 100 free school record. It marked Bernier's third school record in four days.

Senior Jon Banker capped an outstanding meet by breaking his third school record of the week, finishing sixth in the finals of the 200 back while breaking his own record in the event in the prelims. He qualified third in 1:42.85, nearly three seconds under his own previous school-record time. He went on to finish sixth in the finals in 1:43.81.

Andre Blyth picked up his first school record of the meet, finishing fifth in the 200 fly in 1:43.74 to break his own record, which he set earlier in the day in the prelims. Blyth qualified for the A final in fourth with a prelim time of 1:44.15, which was nearly two seconds better than the school-record time he held coming into the meet.

Erez Fern also qualified for the 200 fly A final, finishing eighth overall with a finals time of 1:46.99. He also went under Blyth's previous school-record time in the prelims, qualifying seventh in 1:45.74, the second-fastest in UW history.

Jonny Muir added a personal best in the 200 fly, finishing 14th overall with a 1:47.95, which ranks sixth all time.

Scott Spansail just missed becoming UW's first individual Pac-10 champion since 2004, finishing second in the 1650 free. His time of 14:44.24 was just behind Stanford's Chad La Tourette, who won the race in 14:39.01.

Anthony Falaniko was the highest finisher in the 100 free prelims, qualifying 17th in 44.20 which is the third-fastest time in UW history. David Bai and Ben Aaberg, meanwhile, both touched the wall in 44.31 to tie for the fifth-fastest time for a Husky. Niko Micin also jumped into the top-10 with his 44.53 to move into seventh.

Bai went on to finish 18th overall in the event, improving his time in the bonus final to 44.27.

In the 200 breast, Yonatan Cohen qualified with the 10th fastest time of 1:57.28 which also moved him into No. 3 all time at UW. Cohen touched the wall in 1:58.76 in the B final to place 15th.

The Huskies broke records this week in the 200, 400 and 800 free relays, the 200 and 400 medley relays, the 500 free (Spansail), 200 IM, 100 back and 200 back (Banker), the 100 free, 200 free and 100 fly (Bernier) and 200 fly (Blyth).

'Unfortunately, they combine swimming and diving, but we came away as the fourth-best swim team even though the results don't reflect it. We had a hell of a meet,' Washington head coach Whitney Hite said. 'We struggled a little today but still got a couple of school records. To get 13 school records out of 18 events is pretty damn good and we have seven guys going to NCAAs. We've come a long way in a very short amount if time so I'm proud of the guys. These guys are pretty tired so we'll rest them and then we'll be ready to go climb the mountain and see how high we can go.'

Both the UW men's and women's swim teams now turn their attention to the NCAA Championships, which each take place in College, Station, Texas. The women will hit the pool, March 19-21, while the men compete March 26-28.

Team Standings
1. Stanford, 918.5
2. California, 866
3. Arizona, 647
4. USC, 396
5. Washington, 309
6. Arizona State, 238.5

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