Arizona women’s swimming rolls over Utah, men's team falls short
The Arizona swimming and diving teams split its first meet of the season at Utah on Saturday. The women raced to a landslide victory, defeating the Utes 204-96, while the men fell just short, losing 152-148.
In their 108-point victory, the women claimed the title in 13 of the 16 events, losing only the 1000-yard freestyle, 3-meter dive, and 200y individual medley. The men recorded seven titles in their close meet with Utah.
Both UA teams started strong by winning the 400y medley relay. The women’s team of Bonnie Brandon, Emma Schoettmer, Ashley Evans and Taylor Schick finished the relay with a time of 3:46.65, and the men’s team of Michael Sheppard, Kevin Cordes, Giles Smith and Brian Stevens won in 3:19.33.
“We have two very solid medley relays, so that went according to plan,” head coach Eric Hansen said.
The Wildcats claimed the top four finishes in the 200y freestyle, with senior Margo Geer winning the event in 1.51.42, followed by teammates Grace Finnegan (1:53.27), Leticia Lelli (1:53.74) and Taylor Schick (1:54.56). This was one of Geer’s three individual victories, as she also won the 50-yard freestyle (23.22) and the 100-yard freestyle (50.22).
Geer was also a member of the victorious 400y freestyle relay team with Finnegan, Lelli and Schick. The team concluded the meet with an almost six-second victory over Utah in 3:24.73.
Defending national champion for the 1m dive Samantha Pickens won the competition with 295.73 points. She then finished second behind Utah junior Kersten Merry in the 3m competition, scoring 266.93 points to Merry’s 279.60.
“I was really proud of how the women performed,” Hansen said. “We started out a little rough and then we came around and they really rallied. And did a great job. It’s a testament to how close they really are.”
Although the men didn’t pull off a victory in Utah, they still had some top event finishes. Defending NCAA champion Cordes finished more than seven seconds ahead of teammate Eric Solis in the 200y breaststroke, recording a time of 2:01.30. Solis finished in second with 2:09.51.
Freshman Tyler Fowler earned his first collegiate victory in the 1000y freestyle, proving to be a contributor to the Wildcats men’s team, according to Hansen.
Although disappointed in the overall performance by the men’s team, Hansen said he is confident that the Wildcats will be prepared for their next dual meet against UCLA at Hillenbrand Aquatic Center on Friday.
— Follow Nicole Cousins @cousinnicole