Wildcats Take Week Off to Prepare for Pac-10 Opener Against USC Trojans

Nov. 4, 2003

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This Week in the Pool - The seventh-ranked Arizona women's swimming and diving team and the 14th-ranked Arizona men's team will take a week off to prepare for their first Pac-10 meet against the USC Trojans. The teams will compete on Fri., Nov. 14 at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center at 2 p.m. MST. The Wildcat women then will compete again on Sat., Nov. 15 against UCLA at 1 p.m., in the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center.

A Look at the Opponents -The fifth-ranked USC men's team finished the 2002-03 season with a 5-3 overall record and a 2-2 mark in the Pac-10 Conference after a fifth-place finish at NCAAs. The Trojans started off their 2003-04 season with a 102-65 loss to Texas on Oct. 24, and another loss (193-160) on Oct. 25. The USC women, also ranked fifth, finished the 2002-03 season 5-3 overall and 3-2 in the Pac-10 with a third-place finish at the Pac-10 Championships. The Trojan women began their 2003-04 season on Oct. 24 with an 84-83 loss to Texas, but they came back the next day to beat the Longhorns, 169-165. The UCLA women come to Tucson ranked 11th in the nation. UCLA finished the 2002-03 season 5-4 overall and 2-4 in the Pac-10. The Bruins were the 2003 Pac-10 Champions and placed 11th at NCAAs. The Bruin women started the 2003-04 season on Oct. 10 with a pair of victories over UC Santa Barbara and Oregon State.

Last Week's Results - The University of Arizona men's and women's swimming and diving teams began their 2003-04 season with victories over the Wisconsin Badgers. The men topped Wisconsin, 175-121, while the women defeated the Badgers, 172.5-128.5.

The Arizona men started off with a first-place finish in the 400-medley relay. Sophomore Dave Rollins, senior Greg Owen, senior Luis Rojas and senior Eric La Fleur finished with a time of 3:22.28, beating teammates Nate Rothman, Nate Stevens, Daniel Wimer and Adam Ritter by almost seven seconds.

Sophomore Tyler DeBerry earned 18 points for the Wildcats by winning the 1000 and 500 freestyle events. He also finished seventh in the 200 freestyle and fifth in the 400 freestyle relay. Senior Juan Veloz had a successful day in the pool by finishing first in the 200 butterfly and third in the 200 backstroke.

On the diving boards, Arizona laid claim to the top-three spots in the 1-meter and 3-meter events. Senior Alex Vollelunga won the one-meter competition, while sophomore John Collier took first in the three-meter competition. Freshman Dustin Watson earned six points in his Wildcat debut by taking third place in both events.

Starting things off for the women's team, sophomore Marshi Smith, senior Jessica Wagner, sophomore Lisa Pursley and freshman Lauren Preyss dominated Wisconsin, winning the 400-medley relay in a time of 3:45.41. Freshman Whitney Myers stood out, earning 22 points for the Wildcats by placing first in the 100 and 200 butterfly, and taking second in the 100 freestyle. Junior Emily Mason placed second in the 1000 freestyle, 500 freestyle and 400 individual medley, adding 12 points to the Wildcat score.

On the diving side, senior Daniela Bemme and freshman Mary Yarrison stood out amongst everyone, taking first and second places in both events. Bemme finished first in the 1-meter competition, while Yarrison was first in the 3-meter.

Flying Ferns - Sophomore Lyndon Ferns led the men's team against Wisconsin, placing first in three events - the 200 freestyle in a time of 1:39.83, the 50 freestyle in a time of 20.26, and the 100 freestyle in a time of 44.50. Ferns qualified for an NCAA B cut time in the 100 freestyle on Sat., Nov. 11 in the exhibition meet with Wisconsin.

Winning Wagner - Senior Jessica Wagner stood out for the women's team against the Badgers, swimming her way to first place in both the 100 breaststroke in a time of 1:01.78 and the 200 breaststroke in a time of 2:15.51.

Best of the Boards - Freshman Mary Yarrison will be an outstanding addition to the Arizona women's diving team. Yarrison was the 2003 Gold medalist in both the 1-meter and the 3-meter events in the 16-18 age group at the Junior Pan American Diving Championships in Brazil. She also was the champion in the 1-meter (16-18) at the Speedo National Junior Diving Championships in Coral Springs, Fla.

Head Coach Frank Busch - Head coach Frank Busch is in his 15th year at the helm of the UA swimming and diving program. Busch has transformed University of Arizona swimming into one of the nation's most powerful programs. Busch enters the new season with a continued commitment to bringing honor to the University of Arizona through the success of its swimming and diving program. Busch has been named Pac-10 Women's Coach of the Year three times, Pac-10 Men's Coach of the Year two times, and he earned NCAA Division I-A Coach of the Year honors in 1993.

Head Diving Coach Michele Mitchell-Rocha - Head diving coach Michele Mitchell-Rocha enters her eighth year with the Wildcat diving program. Mitchell-Rocha is a four-time recipient of the men's Pac-10 Diving Coach of the Year.

A Quick Look at the 2003-04 Arizona Men's Squad - The Arizona men's team returns 14 letterwinners from the 2002-03 season, including sophomore sensation Simon Burnett, who took home the NCAA title in the 200 freestyle as a freshman, with a time of 1:33.69. Burnett will remain in Britain to train for the 2004 Olympics and will miss UA's fall semester, but he will rejoin the Wildcats in January. Other returnees to watch will be senior Luis Rojas, who finished as the NCAA runner-up in the 100 butterfly with a school record time of 46:01. Rojas returns for his final season listed as one of Arizona's top sprinters. Senior Juan Veloz, the 2003 NCAA runner-up in the 200 butterfly, is expected to be one of Arizona's top swimmers in the butterfly and individual medley events this season. Senior Eric La Fleur will contribute much experience for the Cats in the freestyle sprints, along with fellow senior Greg Owen, one of the top returnees in the breaststroke. Teammate Chad Ainsworth will be heavily relied upon to carry the Wildcats in the distance freestyle events. On the diving side, senior captain Alex Vollelunga and sophomore John Collier return with solid experience in both springboard events. Arizona's top diver, senior Josh Anderson, is redshirting this year in preparation for the 2004 Olympics. Six newcomers join the men's team this season. Sophomore transfer Tyler DeBerry competed at the University of Michigan last year as a part of the 800 freestyle relay that finished third at the 2003 NCAA Championships. Freshmen Nate Rothman and Adam Ritter also are expected to contribute to the Wildcats right away.

A Look at the 2003-04 Arizona Women's Squad - The Arizona women's team also returns 14 letterwinners from the 2002-03 squad. Topping the list is junior Emily Mason, who finished as the runner-up in the 200 butterfly and the 400 individual medley at the 2003 NCAA Championships. Fellow junior Jessica Hayes will be competitive in the sprint free, middle distance free, backstroke and the individual medley events this season. Senior Jessica Wagner enters the season as the top breaststroke competitor for the Wildcats in 2003. Wagner finished sixth in the 100 breast at the NCAA Championships. Senior Marshi Smith will compete in the sprint free and back, as well after finishing in the top 15 at the national championship meet last season. Other returnees to look for are sophomores Lisa Pursley, Jenna Gresdal, Katie Willis and Erin Sieper - a quartet highly anticipated to do well this season by the Arizona coaching staff. On the diving side, seniors Daniela Bemme and Jennifer Hess are expected to lead the way to a successful season for the Wildcats, and they will get support from UA's highly anticipated freshman, Mary Yarrison. All-American Claire Febvay will redshirt during this season in order to prepare for the 2004 Olympics. This year's squad features 12 newcomers who are expected to have an immediate impact on the team. Included in this promising group is Whitney Meyers, a national champion in the 100m fly at the 2002 Senior Nationals, from Oxford, Ohio. Freshmen Melissa Johnson and Emily Strouse also are expected to give Arizona a lift this season. Johnson will give the Wildcats a lift in the distance free events, while Strouse is expected to compete in the individual medleys.

Arizona's Next Action - The Wildcat women will square off against the UCLA women's swimming and diving team on Saturday, Nov. 15, at 1 p.m. MST, in the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center. Then, the Wildcat men's and women's teams will take a few weeks off from competition before traveling to Austin, Texas, for the Texas Longhorn Invitational on Dec. 4-6.

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