Pac-12 Men Travel To Federal Way
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - Swimmers and divers from five Pac-12 men's teams are headed to the 2012 NCAA Championships this week at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Wash. The meet runs from March 22-24. Five Pac-12 schools have combined for 22 NCAA titles, with CALIFORNIA capturing its first title since 1980 and third overall in 2011.
USC has claimed nine crowns in its history while STANFORD holds eight. ARIZONA won in 2008, and UCLA won the 1982 national championship.
ESPN3 will carry a live broadcast of the finals sessions on Friday and Saturday. ESPNU will air a delayed championship broadcast on April 1 at 9:30 a.m. PT.
Stanford, which won its 31st consecutive conference title at the Pac-12 Championships two weeks ago, sends 17 swimmers and freshman star diver Kristian Ipsen to Federal Way. Ipsen is undefeated on the 1-meter and 3-meter in collegiate competition this season. After missing the Pac-12 meet to compete in the World Cup in London, he won both springboard events at the Zone E Championships. Senior Chad La Tourette holds the nation's top time in the 1,650 free, which he won in 2010 and was the runner-up as a freshman and junior. Freshman David Nolan was named Pac-12 Swimmer of the Meet after winning three events and also swimming on three champion relays. Nolan is the top seed in the 100 back and second in the 200 IM and 200 back.
Defending NCAA champion California is led by junior Tom Shields, the 2011 NCAA champion in the 100 back and 2010 winner in the 100 fly. Shields won both the 100 and 200 fly events at this year's Pac-12 Championships. He holds the nation's top times in both fly events. Senior Mathias Gydesen has the fourth-best time in the 100 fly this season while fellow All-American and senior Martin Liivamagi will contend in the 200 IM and breaststroke events. The Golden Bears are also seeded first in the 400 free relay and are seeking their third consecutive NCAA title in the event. Cal has claimed the last 200 and 400 medley relays as well.
Arizona, the top-ranked team since early December, completed an undefeated regular season before finishing third at the Pac-12 Championships. Senior Cory Chitwood, an 11-time All-American and U.S. National Team member, anchors the Wildcats. Chitwood seeks his third straight NCAA title in the 200 back. He heads to Federal Way with the nation's fastest times in the 200 back and 200 IM. Junior Carl Mickelson, senior Austen Thompson and freshman Kevin Cordes are seeded first through third in the 200 breast. Senior divers Ben Grado and Andres Guerra also qualified for NCAAs. Grado won all three events at the Pac-12 Championships.
USC looks to improve on last year's seventh-place finish at NCAAs, which was the Trojans' best team result since 2007. Sophomore All-Americans Vladimir Morozov and Dimitri Colupaev lead USC. Morozov, who earned four All-America honors at the 2011 NCAA Championships, won both the 50 and 100 free events at this year's Pac-12 meet. He holds the top seed in the 100 free and is ranked fourth in the 50 free. Colupaev, a two-time Conference champion in the 200 free, has the second-fastest time in the event.
ARIZONA STATE sends senior divers Constantin Blaha and Cameron Bradshaw. Blaha qualified with a third-place finish on the three-meter at the Zone E Championships while Bradshaw placed third on the one-meter. Blaha was third on the three-meter and sixth on the one-meter at last year's NCAA Championships. He also finished fourth on the platform at the 2010 meet. This is Bradshaw's second consecutive national championships.
For more information on the 2012 NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships, visit http://www.ncaa.com/championships/swimming-men/d1.