Senior day nears for Arizona swimming
Drew Gyorke / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Arizona’s Carl Mickelson in the men’s 200 yard breaststroke.
Saturday marks the close of the dual meet season and senior day for the Arizona swim teams as they host rival Arizona State at Hillenbrand Aquatics Center Saturday at 1 p.m. The seniors will take the blocks one final time at home after recording impressive individual performances throughout the season and leading the Wildcats toward top-10 rankings.
Seniors Lauren Smart, Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or, Ellyn Baumgardner and Carl Mickelson have carried Arizona this season and are determined to push it toward a national title.
“It’s the last meet before Pac-12 Championships, and then we are off to NC’s,” Bar-Or said. “I want to work on all the small details to get everything as perfect as they can be before the big meets.”
Bar-Or has been impressive this year, providing depth to the freestyle and medley relay teams while recording various first place honors in freestyle events. The 10-time All-American was the first Israeli swimmer to qualify as an Olympic semifinalist in the 2008 Olympics.
“It’s our senior day, so I expect that our seniors will step up in the last dual meet as Wildcats,” associate coach Geoff Hanson said. “We have two championship meets after that, but I expect a strong finish this weekend.”
Smart has been a driving force all season long, constantly finishing among the best in her events. The six time All-American transfer from Virginia has placed first in the 100y and 200y-backstroke events numerous times this year and most recently placed first in the 200y-backstroke against Texas last weekend.
Baumgardner has been a valuable contributor in the 4×200 and 4×400 medley relay teams and contributed top times throughout the year in the 100y and 200y breaststroke events. The five-time All-American looks forward to finishing her season off strongly with winning performances this weekend against the Sun Devils.
“I’m looking forward to having a good last dual meet experience with my team,” Baumgardner said. “My goal is to go out of the dual meet season strongly and carry out the momentum we have gained from these last few weekends through the rest of the season.”
Mickelson contributed to the team with key first place finishes in the 200y-breaststroke and 400y-IM events. He has been named a four-time All-American and won Pac-12 Championships in the 100y and 200y breaststroke events last year. His time for the 200y-breaststroke is the third fastest on the Arizona school record list.
“We peaked in December to get cuts and virtually got everything we needed,” Hanson said. “We picked up a couple more qualifications against Texas last week, and we are right on track as to be where we want to be at the end of March. Bring on the championships.”