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Swim, dive teams struggling

file/Arizona Daily Wildcat

Senior Omar Ojeda preps for a dive earlier this season at Hillenbrand Aquatic Center. Ojeda swept the springboard events in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday.

By Jay Middleton
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday Jan. 28, 2002

The Arizona swimming and diving teams suffered a disappointing turnout this weekend against two of the conference's big guns.

Friday's action in Stanford, Calif., saw the Wildcats (No. 3 women, No. 9 men), who were short five players on the road trip due to disciplinary violations, take on the No. 1 Cardinal.

The Cardinal took 25 of the 32 total events, equally dominating both the men's and women's events.

On the men's side, four different Stanford swimmers had multiple individual victories, led by sophomore Peter Marshall, whose 47.27 seconds in the 100-yard backstroke set a new pool record.

The Cardinal's hold on the meet was broken only by UA senior Roland Schoeman, who also set a pool record with his 20.02 time in the 50-yard freestyle, and by the performance of the men's diving team, which swept the top three positions in each of the team's two events.

The Wildcat women did not fare much better against their Stanford counterparts. For the Cardinal, who opened the meet only two spots ahead of then-undefeated Arizona in the Top 25 poll, Friday's meet offered a chance to legitimize their prestigious ranking.

Led by senior Jessica Foschi and freshman Lacey Boutwell, who each captured three events, the Cardinal steamrolled to a 182-118 victory over their first Pacific 10 Conference opponent of the year. Sophomore Tara Kirk and senior Shelly Ripple also combined for four victories, as the Cardinal had four women qualify for the NCAA tournament.

For the Wildcats, bright spots included senior Jenny Vanker's winning performance in the 50-yard freestyle and freshman Jessica Wagner's victory in the 200-yard backstroke.

Arizona was again swept, 130-95, by California in Saturday's meet in Berkeley, Calif.

Six different Cal swimmers won their individual events, led by senior Mattias Ohlin in the 200-yard backstroke and sophomore Alex Lim in the 200-yard butterfly. Ohlin and Lim also teamed up to win the 400-yard medley relay for Cal.

The diving team, however, didn't have as much trouble with the Bears. Seniors Omar Ojeda and Ruben Vaca finished first and second, respectively, in both the one- and three-meter events.

Ojeda said the victory will bode well for the rest of the season.

"Everybody has a different mentality now," he said. "Everyone's improved so much. I think we can win the Pac-10 (tournament) on the diving side."

Other strong performances by the Wildcats included freshman Aram Kevorkian's victories in the 500 and 1000-yard freestyle, and a victory by Schoeman in the 100-yard freestyle.

The UA women's misfortunes continued Saturday as they were upset by the Cal women.

The Bears edged Arizona in total events, winning just 7 of 13, but won the meet on overall points, 135-108.

Cal was buoyed by another strong performance from sophomore standout Natalie Coughlin, who won both the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events handily.

For Arizona, freshman Artemis Daphnis won both the 1000-yard freestyle and 400-yard individual medley before losing to Coughlin in the 500. Sophomore diver Claire Febvay also had a strong meet, sweeping both springboard events.

UA assistant coach Greg Rhodenbaugh emphasized the team's focus on the final tournaments of the year.

"We try to use the meets as part of our training," Rhodenbaugh said. "You can lose every meet you swim during the season and still win NCAAs."

The Wildcats take on Texas (No. 2 women, No. 3 men) at Hillenbrand Aquatic Center Friday and Saturday for their final home meet of the season.


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