Men's Swimming Ready For Pac-10 Championships

March 4, 2009

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The Washington men's swim team will look to keep the momentum rolling for Husky swimming this week as they travel to Long Beach, Calif., for the men's Pac-10 Championships today through Saturday at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool.

While the women finished fifth in the Pac-10 Championships last weekend for the first time in school history, the men have finished fifth once - in 1995-96. Since then, they have finished sixth 12 years in a row but are hungry to prove that, like the women, they are one of the top four teams in the conference based on their swim program only.

The Huskies have re-written the record books in 2008-09, setting six school records while posting the second-fastest time in school history in five other events. Their 800 free relay team of Jon Banker, Russ Mahan, Andre Blyth and Evan Bernier set a school record, while Banker, Bernier and Scott Spansail all broke individual records this season.

The senior Spansail has led the way, setting three school records in the 500 free, 1000 free and 1650 free. His 1650 was an automatic NCAA qualifying time, making him the first male in head coach Whitney Hite's three years to qualify for NCAAs. Spansail also posted 'B' times in the 200 free and 500 free and his best 200 free time was the second-best in school history. Additionally, his 1000 free time is the fastest in the country this year while his 1650 free time ranks No. 2 in the NCAA.

Spansail also led the team with 16 dual meet wins, taking the 500 and 1000 free seven times each while also scoring two victories in the 1650 free.

Also setting a school record was senior Evan Bernier, who set a new 100 backstroke record. Bernier also posted the No.2 all-time marks in the 50 free and 100 free and. His 100 back, 50 free and 100 free times are all NCAA 'B' times. Bernier has won 15 races this season in five different events, second on the team. He's won the 50 free six times, the 100 free four times, the 100 back and 100 fly twice each as well as the 200 free once.

UW's third school-record holder is another senior, Jon Banker, who broke the 200 backstroke record. Banker also has the No. 2 time in the 100 back behind Bernier, posting an NCAA B time in that event. He has 13 wins this season, third on the team, getting four wins in the 100 back, three in the 200 back, five in the 200 IM and one in the 400 IM.

Also posting B times for the Huskies were Andre Blyth, who did so in the 200 fly, and Russ Mahan and Yonatan Cohen, who each swam B times in the 100 breast. Their top times also land them second and third, respectively, all time at UW. Blyth won 12 races for UW this year, four in the 100 fly, seven in the 200 fly and one in the 200 free.

In all, UW recorded has one 'A' time and 11 'B' times this season and will look to add to those totals this weekend in Long Beach.

UW will be competing against some of the best swim teams in the country, including No. 1 Stanford, which has won an incredible 27 consecutive men's Pac-10 swimming and diving championships. No. 6 Cal and No. 25 USC will also challenge, along with the Huskies, who received the most votes of any team (43) not in the CSCAA Top 25 in the most recent poll.

Among the big-name individuals performing will be Cal's Nathan Adrian and Arizona's Jean Basson, both 2008 Olympians. Basson has been one of the nation's top distance free swimmers this season while Adrian has the nation's top times in the 50 and 100 free.

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