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NCAA Div. I Women: Arizona Beats UCLA, 160-140 -- November 24, 2002

WESTWOOD, Calif., November 23. PACED by three individual wins each for senior Beth Botsford and sophomore Emily Mason, Arizona women's swimming and diving team defeated Pac-10 foe UCLA, 160-140 here this afternoon. The meet was swum at the Bruins' Sunset Canyon rec Center Pool.

There was no men's meet as UCLA cut its storied men's program a decade ago.

Coach Frank Busch's Wildcats won the opening six events of the competition en route to victory and are now 2-1 overall, 1-1 in the Pac-10.

UCLA, which defeated Arizona State Friday in its Pac-10 opener, incurs its initial dual-meet loss of the season.

Botsford, an All-America backstroker and double Atlanta Olympic gold medalist (100 back, 400 medley relay), continued her dominance of the dorsal events as she won both the 100 and 200.

Her winning times were 54.95/1:59.17, respectively. Botsford also was victorious in the 100 fly, finishing in 55.08.

Botsford has had an extraordinary career, winning Olympic golds as a young teenager, then opting to continue her career in college. Unfortunately she's had the misfortune the past two seasons of having to contend with the greatest colelgiate backstroker in history (and before she's done, the world too!) in Cal's Natalie Coughlin.

Botford's prs and 'Cat records -- 53.30/1:53.76 -- are among the fastest all-time. Among active collegians in the 200 back she ranks No. 2.

Sophomore Mason, defending Pac-10 500 free champ, excelled in a variety of events as well. Mason's versatility was evidenced in her victories in the 1000 free (10:15.76), 200 fly (2:00.20) and 400y IM (4:18.96).

Junior Jessica Wagner, sophomore Jessica Hayes and freshman Katie Willis also claimed victories for Arizona as the visitors scored victories in 10 individual races.

* * * * * *

In a men's exhibition meet against USC at the Trojans' McDonald's Olympic Swim Stadium, the lone Wildcat victory belonged to junior All-American Eric la Fleur, He won the 100 free in 45.83. La Fleur has improved his time in this event by nearly two seconds since the 'Cats' last meet.

Sophomore distance swimmer Chad Ainsworth posted his most impressive performance of the year with a second in the 2000 free (19:16.61), Ainsworth fell only .28 seconds short of victory in the event, which is only swum at distance meets.

Freshman Dave Rollins hinted at his potential when he finished second in the 50 back (24.10), especially quick for this time of year. Rollins has already impacted the Wildcat squad in the 200 IM and the 200 back, where in the latter he holds the season's top time.

Both Arizona and SC return to the water for their annual sojourn to Texas Invitational in Austin, Dec. 6-8.

-- Bill Bell