Brunelli And Puhakka To Compete In FINA World Aquatic Championships

July 18, 2005

TEMPE, Ariz. ( -- Former Arizona State All-American swimmer Nick Brunelli and current NCAA one and three-meter diving champion Joona Puhakka will be competing in the FINA World Aquatic Championships in Montreal.

Puhakka, who won a bronze medal in the 1-meter event in 2003 in Barcelona, will be looking to add to his impressive diving resume. He will compete under his home flag of Finland in the three-meter springboard on Tuesday (July 19) and the one-meter on Thursday (July 21). In three seasons under the tutelage of ASU diving coach Mark Bradshaw, Puhakka has won four national titles (one-meter, 2003, 2005; three-meter, 2004, 2005), six NCAA Zone E Diving Regional titles (one-meter, 2003, 2004, 2005; three-meter, 2003, 2004, 2005) and six Pac-10 Championships (one-meter, 2003, 2004, 2005; three-meter, 2003, 2004, 2005).

Brunelli, who was an All-American in each of his four years in Tempe (2001-04), will be competing in his specialty in the 50m freestyle. The 23-year-old native of Mansfield, Mass., is coming off a solid win in the event at the 2005 Janet Evans Invitational last weekend in Los Angeles in a time of 22.64, currently holds the third fastest time in the world. Brunelli just missed a spot on the 2004 Olympic squad and earned a gold medal (400m free relay) and a bronze (50m free) at the 2004 Short Course World Championships in Indianapolis, Ind.

Several other Sun Devils also enjoyed top 20 finished at the recently completed Janet Evans Invitational held at McDonald's Swim Stadium on the camps of the University of Southern California. Former Sun Devil sprinter Florencia Szigeti placed sixth in the 50m freestyle (26.67) and third in the 100m freestyle (57.46). Szigeti, who was the 2004 Pac-10 Champion in the 200 freestyle, also helped Sun Devil Aquatics third-place finishes in the 400 and 800 freestyle relays and a fourth-place showing in the 400 medley relay.

Senior-to-be Kathryn Hennessy swam to a 13th place finish in the 1500m freestyle in a time of 17:37.15. Junior Christine Creek finished 19th in the 100 breaststroke in a time of 1:15.92 and senior Laura Ullrich was 18th in the 100 butterfly in a time of 1:03.40. Also swimming on the relays that placed in the top five at the international meet were junior Jill Kripps, sophomore Lindsey Brown, senior Erin Baldinger, senior Sally Brown and junior Amanda Gillespie.

On the men's side, three current or former Sun Devils combined to place in the top 20 in the 50 freestyle. Brunelli won by touching in a time of 22.64, while junior Richie Crowder was sixth at 23.69. Departed senior Jeff Barrett was 19th in 24.21.

Senior Tom Hickman earned an impressive fifth-place finish in the 100 breaststroke in a time of 1:06.53 and senior John Zemaitis placed 20th in the 200 backstroke in a time of 2:10.67. Senior Brett Meconis was 14th in the 100 butterfly (57.32) and senior Steve McDonald was 20th at 57.59. Meconis also placed 18th in the 200 fly with a time of 2:06.97.

Several current Sun Devils also helped Sun Devil Aquatics finish second and third in the 400 free relay (3:30.01/3:32.59), fourth in the 800 free relay (7:54.41) and seventh in the 400 medley relay (4:00.41).

The 2005-06 swimming and diving season is scheduled to start Oct. 1 with the annual Alumni Meet at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center.

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