Wildcats Travel to Austin for the Annual Texas Invitational

Dec. 2, 2003

This Week in the Pool - The sixth-ranked Arizona women's swimming and diving team and the eighth-ranked Arizona men's team are set to travel to Austin, Texas, for the annual Texas Invitational on Dec. 4-6.

A Look at the Opponents - The Wildcats will be in heavy competition amongst some of the nation's best while in Austin. The University of Texas men's team is ranked second in the nation and the lady Longhorns are ranked fifth. California's men's team will be coming to Austin ranked fourth, and the women are ranked eighth. The USC Trojans also will be in attendance with the men ranked 10th and the women ranked seventh, and Wisconsin will travel to Texas with their men ranked 14th and the lady Badgers ranked 11th.

Last Time in the Water - The Wildcats began their Pac-10 season with a pair of victories over the USC Trojans on Nov.14. The 14th - ranked men's team defeated fifth-ranked USC with a score of 131-111, while the seventh-ranked women defeated the fifth-ranked lady Trojans with a score of 133-110.

The Arizona men dominated the boards, claiming the top - two spots in the one-meter and three-meter events. Sophomore John Collier earned 18 points, winning first place in both events while senior Alex Vollelunga was not far behind in second place for both events.

On the diving boards for the women, freshman Mary Yarrison took second place in both the one-meter and three-meter events. Senior Daniela Bemme placed third in the one-meter and fourth in the three-meter. Starting things off for the men's swim team were sophomore Dave Rollins and seniors Greg Owen, Luis Rojas, and Eric La Fleur, who won the 400 meter relay in a time of 3:53.96. Senior Juan Veloz earned 16 points, placing first in the 200-meter butterfly in a time of 2:05.12, second in the individual medley, and third in the 400-meter freestyle. The women's swim team dominated the Trojans, earning first place in six events. Leading the Wildcats was junior Jessica Hayes, who won first place in both the 200 freestyle in a time of 2:04.78 and the 200 backstroke in a time of 2:16.45. The 400 medley relay team of Jessica Hayes, senior Jessica Wagner, freshman Whitney Meyers and sophomore Marshi Smith won first place in a time of 4:17.95. Marshi Smith also took first place in the 50-freestyle in a time of 27.49. Senior Jessica WagnerSwam a time of 2:37.29, where she earned first place in the 200 backstroke, and junior Emily Mason won the 200 butterfly in a time of 2:16.90. After their defeat over USC, the women continued competition on Nov. 15 hosting the UCLA Bruins. The Wildcats won the opening five events, leading to their 144-118 victory over UCLA. Jessica Wagner dominated the breaststroke events by winning the 100-yard breaststroke in a time of 1:02.16 and the 200-yard breaststroke in a time of 2:16.77. Both times are B standard qualifying tims for NCAA Championships.Junior Emily Mason had a pair of victories first in the 1000-yard freestyle in a time of 9:55.14 and later in the 500-yard freestyle in a time of 4:50.88. Sophomore Marshi Smith also claimed the first - place spot in the 100-yard backstroke.

Flying Ferns - Sophomore Lyndon Ferns swam his way to first place in two events against the Trojans on Nov. 14 winning the 50-meter freestyle with a time of 23.36, as well as the 100-meter freestyle in a time of 51.26.

Hurray for Hayes -Junior Jessica Hayes led at the Pac-10 opener on Nov.14. Hayes won first place in both the 200 freestyle in a time of 2:04.78 and the 200 backstroke in a time of 2:16.45. Hayes excelled again the next day against UCLA by earning first place in three events the 200-yard freestyle, the 100-yard freestyle and the 200-yard backstroke.

Best of the Boards - Sophomore John Collier is an eight-time gold medalist in international competition including the 1997 IndoPacific games in South Africa. Collier attended the University of Kentucky for the 2001-02 season before transferring to Arizona where he redshirted for the 2002-03 season. Collier has started his 2003-04 season off with a bang, placing first in both diving events against the USC Trojans.

Head Coach Frank Busch - Head coach Frank Busch enters 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 year 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 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 200freestyle 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 Wildcats will resume competition after returning from winter break on Friday, Jan. 9. The men and women will host Missouri, Purdue and Northern Arizona, at 2 p.m., MST in the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center.

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