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Ojeda sweeps Pac-10 diving

ERIC M. JUKELEVICS/Arizona Daily Wildcat

Senior diver Omar Ojeda receives an award for his first-place finish in Thursday's 3-meter dive during the Pac-10 Tournament at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center over the weekend.

By Jay Middleton
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday Mar. 4, 2002

Once again, the men's Pacific 10 Conference diving champion resides in Tucson.

UA senior Omar Ojeda, the two-time Pac-10 Diver of the Year, reaffirmed his status as one of the nation's elite collegiate divers in Tucson over the weekend at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center.

Ojeda managed a complete sweep of all diving events - the 1-meter, the 3-meter, and the platform - and the UA men's diving team cruised to a dominating win in the Pac-10 diving championships.

The rest of the Arizona men proved to be just as overpowering, surrendering just one top-three performance to any of the other schools. In addition to Ojeda's triple-victory, senior Ruben Vaca placed second on the 1 and 3 meter events, as well as taking third place on the platform.

UA sophomore Josh Anderson also put forth a strong effort, placing second on the platform and third on the 3-meter. The only non-Wildcat to finish in the top three was Arizona State's Thomas McCrummen, who finished No. 3 in the 1-meter event.

"I was proud of our guys," UA diving coach Michelle Mitchell-Rocha said. "I think we dove to our potential, and put Arizona way ahead going into the men's Pac-10 championship."

On the women's side of the event, Southern California divers Dominica Fusaro and Blythe Hartley combined to take six of nine top-three finishes from the field, leading the Trojans to a sweep of the women's diving events and a second-place standing in the women's swimming and diving overall point totals.

Hartley finished second to Fusaro in both the 1 and 3 meter springboard before finally winning the platform event on the final day of competition.

For Arizona, sophomore diver Claire Febvay was unable to crack the top-three, finishing fourth in all three events.

At the women's swimming championship in Long Beach, Calif., the Arizona women's swimming and diving team fell short of the overall conference title, finishing third.

No. 1-ranked Stanford came away with its 14th Pac-10 title, reclaiming the championship after a two-year hiatus. For the Cardinal, sophomore breaststroker Tara Kirk won three events, including a time of 58.68 seconds in the 100-yard breaststroke, which set a new American record.

For the third-place Wildcats, senior Sarah Tolar placed first in the 100-yard freestyle and contributed to two crucial relay wins for Arizona. Freshman Emily Mason set a Pac-10 Championship meet record in the 500 freestyle and posted automatic NCAA qualifying times in two other events.

The biggest surprise of the meet may have been the performance of No. 8 USC. The Trojans, who entered the meet having gone 1-4 in conference dual meets this season, were able to grab second place at the Pac-10 Championships.

Southern California was able to rise based on the performance of the divers in Tucson, who swept the women's portion of the Pac-10 Diving Championships. Aside from the divers, Michelle Kwansy's performance in the 400-yard intermediate medley was the only other USC first-place finish. However, it was enough for second place.

While the swimmers can rest, the next challenge for the Wildcat divers is the Zone E Diving championships in Palo Alto, Calif., next week. The divers' performances at that event will determine who goes to the NCAA championships at the end of the month.


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