Swimming and diving swept by Texas but shows promise
Despite strong relay times and a few runaway victories, the Arizona swimming and diving teams were beat by Texas at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center this weekend.
Interim head coach Rick “Rocket” DeMont said that although he prefers winning, he is encouraged by the team’s progress since last week’s losses at Stanford and Cal.
“We’re trying to climb the ladder a little bit each week, and the things that we were working on, they got better at,” DeMont said. “But, do I like getting beat? No, I hate it.”
The highlights for UA included first-place finishes in several relay events. The women took the 200-yard medley relay as the team of senior Alana Pazevic, sophomore Emma Schoettmer, sophomore Katja Hajdinjak and senior Margo Geer touched the wall in 1:41.54.
The men followed with a win of their own as senior Mitchell Friedemann, junior Kevin Cordes, sophomore Andrew Porter and junior Brian Stevens finished in 1:29.07.
Sophomore Bonnie Brandon picked up wins in three individual events and contributed to a relay victory. She swam away with the 200y backstroke as well as the 500y and 1000y freestyle.
After winning the 100y butterfly on the first day of the meet, senior Ashley Evans took the top spot in the 200y fly on Saturday with a time of 2:00.25.
Another senior day standout was junior Eric Solis, who won the 200y individual medley in 1:51.45, out-touching teammate senior Sam Rowan by two-hundredths of a second.
Cordes, who holds the American record in both the 100y and 200y breaststroke, sailed to victory in both races to remain unbeaten in individual events this season.
“It’s about improving day by day,” Cordes said, “and I think, overall as a team, we did really well.”
For its final dual meet of the season, the team will travel to Tempe, Ariz., to compete against ASU. The meet is slated start at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Brandon said she is looking forward to capping off an eventful regular season.
“I think the season’s been great. … Our new interim head coach, Rocket, is awesome. I love his leadership and what he’s done for our team,” she said. “Swimming-wise, I’m really happy with what everyone has been doing. Certain people have really stepped up and proved their worth to the team, and it’s really great to see them do well.”
With the Pac-12 Conference and NCAA Championships beginning in March, Brandon, along with many of her teammates, are engaged in intensive training before they “taper off” in the weeks leading up to the Championships.
“[The NCAA Championships are] going to be an interesting meet,” she said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m really excited for it.”
—Follow Mark Armao @MarkArmao