Arizona Swimming Looks Strong Heading into Winter Break

Dec. 14, 2001

TUCSON, Ariz. - The Arizona men's and women's swimming teams returned from the University of Texas Invitational with 13 swimmers qualified for the 2002 NCAA Championships in March. Both teams participated in the Texas Invitational from Nov. 30-Dec. 2, which took place at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center in Austin.

On the men's side of the event, All-American sophomore Juan Veloz had an outstanding showing in the 200y butterfly. Not only did Veloz swim to an automatic qualifying time of 1:44.50, but also broke both the meet record and the Arizona school record in the event. Joining Veloz in making the 'A' cut for this season in individual events were senior All-Americans Roland Schoeman and Kristopher Souther. Schoeman led off the 200y freestyle relay event by clocking a 19.33 in the first 50yards. Schoeman also made a qualifying time in the 100y free (in the 400y freestyle relay) at 43.10. Souther made his cut by touching the wall at 1:43.51 in the 200y backstroke.

The men's 400y freestyle relay team, made up of Schoeman, All-American sophomore Eric la Fleur, freshman Max Leassner and sophomore Byron Jeffers qualified for NCAAs with the time of 2:55.05. This brings the men's total to six swimmers qualified for the NCAA Championships this spring.

For the Wildcat women, there are a total of seven swimmers going to this year's Championships. Leading the pack is junior All-American Beth Botsford. Botsford has made qualifying times in three individual events and two relays. Individually, she has made the 'A' cut in both the 100y (53.32) and 200y (1:53.76) backstroke events, as well as the 100y butterfly (54.03). In making her 200y backstroke cut, she also broke a meet record. Sophomore All-American Jessica Wagner made two individual qualifying times as well as two relay times. Individually, she made qualifying times in the 100y (1:00.65) and 200y (2:13.16) breaststroke events. Freshman Emily Mason qualified for NCAAs in three events, the 500y freestyle, the 200y butterfly and the 400y IM. In the 200y butterfly, Mason broke the Arizona school record when she touched the wall at 1:55.91. In the 500y free Mason swam to a time of 4:41.08 and in the 400y IM she recorded a time of 4:16.23.

NCAA Champion and senior All-American Sarah Tolar looks to defend her title in the 200y freestyle. Tolar qualified for this year's NCAAs with the time of 1:47.27. Along with her performance in the 200y freestyle event, she also made a qualifying time in the 200y IM (2:00.27).

The women's relay helped to qualify three more swimmers in seniors Amy Bouta, Maria Papadopoulou and Jenny Vanker. The 200y medley relay team consisted of Botsford, Wagner, Bouta and Vanker and touched the wall at 1:39.97. The second relay to qualify was the 400y medley relay (3:37.33) in which Botsford, Wagner, Papadopoulou and Tolar competed.

The Cats will now head to Mexico for a meet against the Mexican National Team, Dec. 14-17. Look for Arizona to be back in action at home when it hosts the Michigan men and the Northern Arizona women on Jan. 4, 2002.

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