Wildcat swim and dive open Pac-10 season on the road against USC and UCLA

Nov. 19, 2002

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This Week: After a few weeks of much needed rest, especially for the men's squad, both Arizona swimming and diving teams return to the pool on November 22nd and 23rd. Both teams begin Pacific-10 Conference competition, with the men and women take on USC on both dayswhile only the women will battle UCLA on Nov. 23. Action begins at 1 pm PST on Nov. 22 and at 9 am PST on Nov. 23.

Last Week: The ninth ranked Arizona women opened their season on Nov. 2 with a 94-90 victory over 18th ranked Wisconsin and the Mexican National Team. On the other hand, the men's squad scored only 24 points en route to a loss to second-ranked Auburn and Wisconsin. Eleventh-ranked Arizona State competed in the meet, but not against the Cats. Arizona State will face Arizona in a dual meet on Feb. 15. For the women swimmers, senior All-American and former NCAA Champion Beth Botsford claimed the victory in the 200y backstroke (2:00.34). Also, junior Emily Mason won the 200y fly when she touched the wall in 2:03.09. Garnering second place in this event, with a superb swim, was freshman Lisa Pursley (2:05.76). In the first event of the afternoon the Wildcat quartet of Botsford, Pursley, junior Jessica Wagner and senior April Beltran set the tone by winning the 400y medley relay in a time of 3:44.67. This time was also good enough to qualify the squad for the NCAA Championships. The Wildcat women's diving squad also excelled in both the one and three-meter platform events. Senior Jennifer Hess won the three meter event by accruing 300.50 points. Following right behind Hess in this event was junior All-American Claire Febvay, who accrued 283.65 points. While the Wildcat men's squad as a whole was only able to score 24 points, a few swimmers stood out in their individual events. Junior Juan Veloz won the 200y butterfly in a time of 1:48.29. Veloz, already the school record holder in this event, looked very impressive in the season's initial meet. Junior All-American Greg Owen finished third in the 200y breast by touching the wall in 2:04.63.

Rankings: The women enter the meet ranked ninth and the men enter ranked tenth in the first edition of the College Swim Coaches Association of America poll. Defending NCAA Champion Texas tops the men's poll , while defending NCAA champion Auburn reigns supreme in the women's.

Coach Busch's Corner: On Season-opening meet: 'It's probably not fair as a coach to thik that both teams should always be competitive, especially when the men are so devastated by injuries. On performance of women's squad: ' The women really did a great job. We had six young girls who stepped up as freshman and excelled.' On All-Americans Beth Botsford and Jessica Wagner: 'These two stood out to me in particular. Beth's automatic qualifying time for the NCAA's was amazing. Also, Jessica Wagner swimming as fast as she did in the in the 100 breast was great as well.' Injury status for men's squad: ' Jeff Dash is out now, and I don't know if he will be able to compete against USC. (Dash) has just been back in the water in the last week or so. Byron Jeffers has healed, and he will most likely be back this weekend.' Coach's Busch's reaction to men's performance two weeks ago: 'The bottom line is that we didn't compete very well. It was hard for our guys to compete because of how the injuries affected our team. I have never seen that lack of competition, but at the same time, our squad has never endured a time when we had so many injuries at the same time.' On the squad's preparation for USC and UCLA: ' For the meet this weekend, we will continue to train hard to really get our team, especially the guys, in shape. The last two weeks have been rigorous, and our preparation has been intense.'

Excerpts from the 2002-03 Season Outlook

Women's Returnees: Senior All-American Beth Botsford returns from her third-place finish in the 100y backstroke and a fifth place finish in the 200y backstroke at last year's NCAA's. She will anchor the Wildcats in the 100y and 200y breaststroke and various butterfly events. Other returners to watch will be seniors Jennifer Hess, Lindsey Highstrom and April Beltran. This trio of seniors will add depth and much welcomed experience to the pool for the Cats. Perhaps the keys to the success of this year's squad will be the continued improvement of the Wildcat sophomores. All-American Emily Mason was a member of the NCAA Champion 800y free style relay. Mason was also honored as the 2002 Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year. Artemis Daphnis, a participant in the 2002 Olympic games in Sydney, excelled in the distance free events for the Cats last season and will be counted on to do the same in 2002-03. All-American Jessica Hayes finished eighth in the 200y backstroke at the 2002 NCAA's and is eager to return this year.

Women's Newcomers: This year's squad will feature nine newcomers, including eight freshman. Yet, since this squad is a young one, each freshman is expected to have an immediate impact. Coach Busch has put even more emphasis this year on the development of his younger swimmers. Included in this promising group are Marshi Smith, a six- time Virginia state champion, and 2002 National Public High School champion Erin Sieper.

Men's Returnees: One of the most important returnees for this year's team will be senior All-American Jeff Dash. Dash will be the leader of the 200 fly and IM events and also will contribute in the 500 free. Junior All-American Eric la Fleur had a breakout season in 2001-02 and he is certain to lead the Cats in the 50y and 100y free. Junior Juan Veloz, who topped his own school record in the 200y butterfly last season will be a force in both the 100y and 200y butterfly events. All-American sophomore Max Leassner will be a major factor in the freestyle events this season. Leassner was one of the four fastest swimmers on last year's squad in three events: the 50y, 100y and 200y freestyle. Junior All-American Byron Jeffers figures to contribute in a multitude of events for the Cats this season. Jeffers will swim in the backstroke and individual medley events. Honorable mention All-American sophomore Josh Anderson will lead the diving squad along with senior captain, Scott Koenig. Anderson placed ninth in the one meter at the NCAA Championships by scoring 312.10 points.

Men's Newcomers: Freshman Dave Rollins won two events in the intrasquad pentathlon and he figures to do the same once the season officially starts. Rollins will be expected to contend in various events, including the individual medley and backstroke events. Zach Zucker will make an impact in the breaststroke events. Finally, Ryan Karlson and Ed Switaj will add valuable depth to the butterfly squad. On the diving side, Adding well needed Division 1 experience will be University of Kentucky transfer, John Collier. Collier competed in the three meter at the 2002 SEC Championships.Arizona Media Information: For any information regarding either of the Arizona Swimming or Diving teams, contact Elliot Magruder in the Arizona Media Relations office at (520) 621-4163. Those interested in obtaining full copies of releases or statistics may do so at www.arizonaathletics.com.

Wildcats on the Web: For any of the latest news, notes or results on not only the swimming and diving squads, but also the 17 other collegiate sports that the University of Arizona offers, log on to the official athletic website at http://www.arizonaathletics.com.

RankingsReleased 10/25/02(First-place votes are in parenetheses)Men						Women1. Texas 170 (4)				1. Auburn 173 (5)2. Auburn 167 (2)				2. Georgia 165 (2)   Stanford 167 (1)				   Stanford 1654. California 154				4. California 1525. Southern California 145			5. Florida 1436. Florida 133					6. SMU 1377. Michigan 130			        	7. Texas 1348. Minnesota 121				8. USC 132   Tennessee 121				9. Arizona 12110. Arizona 120				        10. Virginia 10911. Arizona State 106				11. Arizona State 10712. Georgia 98					12. UCLA 8913. Virginia 97				        13. Indiana 8414. Penn State 77				14. Notre Dame 8115. Harvard 62			        	15. North Carolina 7916. North Carolina 55				16. Penn State 7617. Texas A&M 52				17. Alabama 6918. Alabama 48			        	18. Wisconsin 54     Wisconsin 48				19. Miami (FL) 4220. Northwestern 43				20. Maryland 3821. Kentucky 39				        21. Missouri 3422. Southern Methodist 33			22. Pacific 1923. Georgia Tech 28				23. Texas A&M 1524. Brigham Young 19		        	24. Rutgers 1325. Pittsbugh 15				25. South Carolina 10     Washington 15

Others Receiving Votes: Others Receiving Votes:Purdue Michigan, Purdue, Tennessee, Washington, Kansas, Houston LSU

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