Arizona Men to Take It All

By Emily Mason

PHOENIX, Ariz. November 28. NOW before the criticism comes, I AM BIASED. I went to Arizona and swam for four years, training with most of the current team members. But before any readers say my opinion is a waste of time, let me present the facts, yes facts. I did my research and am pleased with my results.

The University of Arizona can win and will make a legitimate run at the NCAA team title this year. And I will go out on a limb and say I will be a little disappointed in my boys if they get anything less than first place.

So here goes.

If you take out all the graduating seniors and/or people who have left for one reason or another, Arizona stands to lose a total of 12 points from last year's squad. Yes, just twelve points, and yes I am thinking about relays. Arizona lost two swimmers this year, Nate Stevens to graduation and Gerhard Zandberg to who knows what. And I can guess what you are thinking too, “Zandberg was on the 200 free relay (third), the 400 medley (second), and the 400 free relay (third).” I’ve thought of that too.

Arizona has more than enough depth to replace Zandberg on the 200 and 400 free relays. For example, freshman Matt Barnard (20.69 and 45.43) is bound to improve under Rick DeMont’s tutelage. As far as the medley relays go, there is Nick Thoman who placed higher than Zandberg in both backstroke events at NCAAs. Wait, I hear a pause, Thoman does need to regain his eligibility after a rough semester last spring, but I know he’s a smart kid and will pull through for the Cats.

So here’s the breakdown, with no relays…yet.

Arizona – 201
Stanford – 158
Auburn – 138
Michigan – 127 (sorry John)
Cal – 101
Southern Cal – 96
Florida – 90
Texas – 82

So, I will highly disagree with the current rankings that place Auburn first, followed by Stanford, Cal, Michigan and Arizona in fifth. FIFTH! Okay, so relays do account for nearly half of all the points earned if not more, let’s take a look.

In the 200 free relay, reigning champ Cal lost powerhouse Duje Draganja, but retains Jonas Tilly and Michael Cavic. Ok, the Bears have the potential to repeat with their returnees. Auburn finished second and lost Ryan Wochomurka and sub-19 king Fred Bousquet. Ouch, somehow I don’t see them doing so well. Arizona lost Zandberg and his 19.30, but substitutes Barnard with a 20.0. With that effort, Zona still clocks in at 1:17.66. That would place them in a tie for fifth at last year's NCAAs. Take out Auburn, that’s third. Take out Kentucky, too, and there goes the tie (they lost two), and you’ve got Cal and Stanford (Stanford lost Jayme Cramer). Assuming that’s the way it goes, here move the points.

Arizona – 233
Stanford – 192
Auburn – 168
Cal – 141
Michigan – 127
Florida – 118
Southern Cal – 108
Texas – 104

Moving on to the 400 medley. Stanford is hurting with only one returning member and is out. Zona replaces Zandberg’s 46.98 with Thoman’s 47.40 and we’ve got a 3:07.99. Auburn lost Bousquet, so I’m going with Zona for the win and 40 more points. I’ll give Auburn the number two spot, Northwestern, Florida, Stanford, So. Cal, Michigan, and Cal rounding it out, but I think Cal will do better. Not sure what to do with Texas, ninth?

Arizona – 273
Stanford – 220
Auburn – 202
Cal – 163
Michigan – 151
Florida – 148
Southern Cal – 134
Texas – 122

In the 200 medley, Zona’s at third minus Zandberg’s 19.15, which I will give directly to Thoman, so we end up with the same time if not better, 1:25.73. Stanford’s out two and Cal is out one, so with Cal’s ability to find sprinters I’ll keep them at one, Zona two, then Northwestern, Florida, Stanford, Auburn, So. Cal, Texas or Michigan at eighth.

Arizona – 307
Stanford – 248
Auburn – 228
Cal – 203
Florida – 178
Michigan – 173
Southern Cal – 158
Texas – 144

My favorite, the 800 free relay. This is going to be an awesome event to watch, Florida is down Adam Sioui and Michigan lost Andrew Hurd and Arizona and Auburn lost no one. Here comes the bias, Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Auburn, Texas, Stanford, Cal, Indiana.

Arizona – 347
Stanford – 274
Auburn – 258
Cal – 227
Florida – 212
Michigan – 205
Texas – 172
Southern Cal – 168

Bring on the hate mail, this relay is impossible to place and I can’t wait to watch it. The top five listed here are going to be so close it is insane, never mind top five, the top eight. It’s going to be awesome.

Last of all we have the 400 free relay. I’m going to go out on a limb with this one. Florida first, then Cal, Arizona, Stanford, Texas, Northwestern, Auburn, and Michigan.

Arizona – 379
Stanford – 304
Auburn – 282
Cal – 261
Florida – 252
Michigan – 227
Texas – 200
Southern Cal – 186

My math isn’t great so try to appreciate the attempt. Diving has been excluded because I won’t pretend to know anything about diving. This is, after all, an opinion and readers can take it anyway they like. Hypotheticals are for fun and this has been for me. So best of luck to all the NCAA swimmers, especially Arizona.

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