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Swim teams shoot for Pac-10 championship


Photo
CLAIRE C. LAURENCE/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Freshman swimmer Ivan Barnes plunges through the water during the Feb. 12 meet against ASU. The womens swim and dive teams and mens dive team will be competing in the Pacific 10 Conference championships through Saturday.
By Allison Hamila
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
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If history has anything to say about it, the Arizona swim and dive teams should have an impressive weekend.

The Wildcats travel to Seattle today to compete in the Pacific 10 Conference championships, where Arizona has not finished out of the league's top five since 1996.

The meet starts at 11 a.m. today and runs through Saturday with both the women's swim and dive teams competing and just the men's dive team making the trip.

The women's team finished the regular season with an overall record of 9-2 and a 6-1 mark in the Pac-10. The women lost this season only to No. 4 Texas and No. 5 Stanford.

The men's diving team is looking for junior John Collier to dive well after defeating defending NCAA champion Joona Puhakka in the 3-meter competition in the Wildcats' last home meet of the season against ASU.

Seven schools in the Pac-10 are ranked in the top 25, with the Wildcats coming in sixth, just behind Stanford. No. 9 California, No. 11 UCLA, No. 15 ASU, No. 20 Southern California and No. 21 Washington should make for a competitive meet.

"The girls that have qualified will do well. We are going to be competitive and do the best that we can," said Arizona head coach Frank Busch.

Last year at the Pac-10 championships, the Wildcats took third place with 1,221.5 points and with senior Jessica Hayes taking home the Pac-10 title in the 200-meter backstroke.

"I am expecting a really good meet. I think all of the girls are going to swim well. We are going to give our best and as long as that happens it will be a good meet for everybody," said senior Emily Mason.

The meet brings all of the Pac-10 schools together in a highly competitive atmosphere.

"The atmosphere is exciting. People are up and ready to go, teams take pride in it," Busch said.

Busch added that although the meet is very important, it is just the next step to the crown jewel of the season, the NCAA championships.

Busch said he thinks it's nearly impossible for the women to win the meet because the Pac-10 championships are scored so deep.

"Pac-10s are important, but not the most important thing on our plate," Busch said.



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