Arizona swimming waits to strike
Drew Gyorke / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Arizona Senior Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or in the men’s 100 yard butterfly. He finished fifth in the event with a time of 50.34.
Arizona’s swimmers have been training harder than ever, or “tapering,” so that they can swim faster as the Pac-12 and NCAA championships near.
This tactic provides swimmers with a gradual reduction of workload during a period immediately prior to a major competition.
It means that the Wildcats are so focused on the championship meets that dual meets, like those that took place against ranked conference opponents over the weekend, will get away from them.
Last weekend’s meet against Cal and Stanford ended in disappointment, as only the women were able to defeat the Golden Bears.
Saturday brought no redemption, as both teams fell to Stanford.
“I think our effort was there,” senior Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or said.
“People were obviously tired from training since we have been working really hard. In swimming, when you train hard it doesn’t [immediately] pay off; it pays off when you don’t train much and you taper, so in two months, we are going to see when we race what we are really capable of, and I think we are capable of a lot. We have a lot of passion, and that is what we need.”
Bar-Or performed well this weekend, and along with juniors Giles Smith, Mitchell Friedemann, and Matt Barber, led the men to a first-place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Smith subsequently went on to place first in the 50y freestyle event with a time of 20.28 and Friedemann won the 100y backstroke, compiling a time of 47.93.
“I thought we swam well for where we are at in terms of our workload,” head coach Eric Hansen said.
“Our kids were tired, but we made a conscious decision to train them hard and have them swim through this meet in hopes that they taper for championship competition. I’m really proud of how they responded. I think it’s important that we get used to racing hard when we don’t feel great so that when we do feel great, we will be better than we have ever been. That’s our philosophy and it will be fun to watch it all go down in March.”
Meanwhile, junior Margo Geer and sophomore Bonnie Brandon led the women to victory on Friday against No. 3 Cal compiling an overall score of 168.5-112.5. Geer placed first in 100 and 200y freestyle events on Friday with times of 48.21 and 1:46.86 respectively. She continued her performance on Saturday, winning the 100y freestyle (48.56) while subsequently contributing to the first place 200y medley relay team.
Brandon continued to impress, compiling four first-place finishes.
On Friday, she won the 500 and 1000y freestyle events with times of 4:50.57 and 9:55.51 respectively and followed up Saturday with wins in both races (4:49.87 and 9:53.53 respectively).
“Overall, I think we did a really good job coming together as a team,” junior Shannyn Hultin said. “Being really passionate and motivated will set us up really well for the championship stretch. We still need to sharpen up on details, but that will come in with our tapers. I think we are in a good spot.”