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Tuesday February 27, 2001

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Swim, dive team returns with title

Headline Photo


Sophomore Amanda Beard swims the breast stroke Feb. 10 at Hillenbrand Aquatic Center. The UA women's swimming and diving teams won their second straight Pacific 10 Championship this weekend in Federal Way, Wash.

By Lindsey Manroel

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Wildcat diver sweeps weekend

After garnering its second consecutive Pacific 10 Championship, the Arizona women's swimming and diving team returned to campus reeling in the wake of their successes.

The Wildcats took home the conference title over the weekend in Federal Way, Wash. UA finished with 1,229 points.

"It was really exciting because I don't think that we expected to do it, and we did it," UA sophomore Annie Joseph said. "It gives us a lot of confidence and shows that we are here to stay."

While taking home the Pac-10 Championship, the No. 2 Wildcats have become the only team to put an end to Stanford's reign.

Until the 2000 Pac-10 Championships, the Cardinal were the only team to win the conference title since the meet's inception in 1987. Since then, the UA women have won two consecutive titles.

"It was a great team effort and very exciting for the girls to be in that position to win again," Arizona head coach Frank Busch said. "We have a solid program. We are consistent and have reached a level where we can compete for a championship under any circumstance."

Arizona outscored UCLA (1,130), Southern California (1,099), Stanford (1,033) and California (942.5).

Olympians Beth Botsford and Amanda Beard led the way for the Wildcats in the 200-yard backstroke and breaststroke. The UA sophomores both finished in second place, with times of 1:56.03 and 2:12.66, respectively.

Junior Jenny Vanker swam a season-best in the 100 freestyle with a time of 49.82 to finish third, while teammate Sarah Tolar trailed her to take fourth in the event.

In the final swim of the day, Arizona's 400 freestyle relay team - consisting of Vanker, Caroline Kilian, Tolar and Kristen Brennan - came up with an NCAA-qualifying time and a Pac-10 win with a time of 3:18.39.

Arizona's dive team continued to dominate, just as it did during the regular season.

"The diving team played a big role in (the championship), and it was very exciting for the girls to have their points add up for a victory for the team," head diving coach Michele Mitchell-Rocha said.

Contributing to Arizona's win, freshman Claire Febvay led the way for the Wildcats. The UA freshman placed third on the platform, while teammates Lindsay Berryman and Adrian David dove for fifth and sixth, respectively.

Due to the stellar performance by the Arizona men's diving team, the UA men's swim team will head into its own Pac-10 Championship Thursday with a first-place margin.

Paving the way for the Wildcats, senior Omar Ojeda capped off his Wildcat career by sweeping the Championship in the one- and three-meter and platform events.

"Omar is a very talented diver, and good things are in his future," Mitchell-Rocha said. "His secret is that he loves to compete - he enjoys it and isn't afraid to step up."

As the strongest team in the Pac-10, Arizona players said the key to their success is simple - teamwork.

"We have a lot of firepower and a great group of individuals that have learned to come together as a team," Mitchell-Rocha said. "That's what makes our team so good - they like each other and know how to support each other through the good and the bad."

While the most anticipated meet of the season - the NCAA Championships - lies just three weeks ahead, the Pac-10 champions are preparing for another win.

"We have a lot of confidence, and what we can do when we are rested is going to be phenomenal," Joseph said. "(At the NCAA's), we will be in the hunt for a championship."