Men's Swimming Wraps Up Season At NCAA Championships
March 25, 2009
The Washington men's swim team wraps up its highly-successful 2008-09 season this week when they travel to College Station, Texas, for the 2009 NCAA Men's Swimming & Diving Championships, March 26-28, at the Student Rec Center Natatorium.
The Huskies are coming off a fifth-place finish at the Pac-10 Championships two weeks ago, their strongest finish in the conference meet since 1995-96. With eight swimmers competing this week, UW will look to score for the first time at NCAAs since 2005-06 and just the fourth time since 1990-91. UW finished 45th in the 2005-06, 25th in 2003-04 and 30th in 2001-02. They finished as high as fourth in the 1970s under Earl Ellis, who guided the men to five consecutive top-10 finishes in one stretch.
After a two year absence at NCAAs, head coach Whitney Hite has the men's program competing nationally once again. Led by their three senior superstars, Jon Banker, Evan Bernier and Scott Spansail, the Huskies will compete in all five relays and have individuals competing in 12 different events.
Banker, Bernier and Spansail will each compete in three events, with Spansail ranked the highest in his events, giving the Huskies the best chance to score. The San Clemente, Calif., native will compete in the 200 free, 500 free and 1650 free and goes into the meet seeded No. 4 in the 1650 free and No. 13 in the 500 free. He will look to become Washington's second-ever NCAA individual champion and its first since 1975.
Bernier, meanwhile, will compete in the 50 and 100 free along with the 100 fly. He ranks No. 21 in the 100 free, No. 24 in the 100 fly and No. 29 in the 50 free. Banker competes in the 100 and 200 back along with the 200 IM. He ranks No. 25 in the 200 back and No. 26 in the 100 back.
Two other Huskies will compete in multiple races - Andre Blyth in the 100 and 200 fly and Yonatan Cohen in the 100 and 200 breast. Russ Mahan will also compete individually in the 100 breast. Cohen ranks 24th and Mahan 30th in the 100 breast while Cohen is 43rd in the 200 breast. Blyth goes in seeded 27th in the 200 fly.
UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON PARTICIPANTS - 2009 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
Ben Aaberg, Relays
David Bai, Relays
Jon Banker, 100/200 Back, 200 IM
Andre Blyth, 100/200 Fly
Evan Bernier, 50/100 Free, 100 fly
Yonatan Cohen, 100/200 Breast
Russ Mahan, 100 Breast
Scott Spansail, 200/500/1650 Free