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Men's swim team uses late heroics to upset No.2 Stanford


Wildcat File Photo
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Senior Ryk Neethling competes during a meet last year at Hillenbrand. Neethling's two first-place finishes Saturday at Stanford brought the Wildcats back from an early deficit and led the team to a 124-119 upset over the No. 2 Cardinal.

By Brian Penso
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
January 24, 2000
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The UA men's swimming and diving team pulled off a dramatic upset over second-ranked Stanford with a 124-119 victory in Palo Alto, Calif. on Saturday.

Stanford stormed out to an early lead by winning the 400 medley relay, but UA senior Ryk Neethling won back-to-back races in the 1,000 and 200 meter freestyle, which gave the Wildcats the lead back.

With Stanford (3-3, 1-1 in the Pacific 10 Conference) starting quickly, these two races were vital for the Wildcats. Neethling was losing in the 200 free, but he came from behind and won the race in the final 50 yards with a Stanford pool-record time of 1:38:88.

"The 200 set the tone for the rest of the meet," Neethling said. "Their best swimmer was in the 200. It was a demoralizing loss for Stanford and a big boost for our squad."

Going into the second-to-last event, Arizona held a 100-97 lead, but Cardinal junior Rob Canales led a 1-2-3 Stanford sweep of the 200 breaststroke, tying the meet at 113.

The meet came down to the last event, the 400 relay. The UA team of Roland Schoeman, Jay Schryver, Scott Gaskins and Dave Anderson won the race by less than a second, giving the Wildcats (5-1, 2-1 Pac-10) a victory over Pac-10 powerhouse Stanford.

"This close win was a key physical and psychological victory," UA sophomore Roland Schoeman said. "With our team coming off a loss to No. 5 California and Stanford losing to No. 9 Michigan, this was a test to see where we were as a team. This win raised our morale and confidence greatly."

Prior to its meet with Stanford, the men lost to the No. 5 California Golden Bears 135-108 on Friday. In the loss, Neethling won three individual events, which improved his record to 17-1 in freestyle events this season.

The women's team also came away from the weekend trip with a split.

The second-ranked Wildcats (7-2, 3-1 Pac-10) defeated the No. 5 California Bears (6-1, 1-1 Pac-10) 132-111 on Friday, but fell to third-ranked Stanford 131-112 the following day.

The Wildcats prevailed over Cal with great performances from senior Trina Jackson, who continued her dominance in Pac-10 competition. Also, Senior Denali Knapp swam well as she prevailed in the 500 free and she also swam the lead leg in the 400 free relay.

As well as the women swam against Cal, the Cardinal women swam even better. Stanford (4-0, 2-0 Pac-10) won 10 of the 13 events and ran away with the meet. The UA women were victorious in 200 breaststroke, one meter dive competition and the 400 free relay.

"We came out and gave it our all," senior Denali Knapp said. "We did not give up and we raced hard in every event. By ending the Stanford meet with a relay victory, it gave our team a good ending to the weekend performances."

Both the men's and women's teams next compete on Friday against Texas at Hillenbrand Aquatic Center. The Texas men are No. 1 and the women's team is ranked twelfth in the country.

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