By Bill Bell
TUCSON, AZ – Top ranked and defending national champion Georgia — led by double American-record holder Kristy Kowal — swept past Arizona in the desert Saturday afternoon to the tune of a 165-135 dual meet victory.
Coach Jack Bauerle’s Lady Bulldogs looked sharp indeed as they drowned the previously undefeated Wildcats, and nobody was sharper than Kowal, who raced to three victories in the 100-200 breast and 200 IM in nation-leading times of 1:00.17 (fastest-ever for a dual meet), 2:11.99 for the breaststrokes. Her winning time in the medley was 2:02.05.
Kowal’s previous national dual meet standard was a 1:00.87 against then defending national champion Stanford in Athens last year — and both were done unshaved, unrested and untapered.
Coach Frank Busch’s Lady ‘Cats were led by Atlanta Olympic gold medalist Bet h Botsford, who doubled in her specialty (backstrokes) via wins in the 100 and 200 (54.80-1:54.78).
Botsford has been consistently fast throughout the young season, especially in the 200, and has a shot at Whitney Hedgepeth’s American-NCAA standard of 1:52.99, which has stood the test of time for the last eight years — having been set by the former Texas standout at the 1992 NCAAs in (where else?) Austin. However, if Botsford’s going to get the record she’ll have to do it either in a dual meet or else at the Pac-10s in Seattle the last weekend of February, inasmuch as NCAAs are short course meters for both women and men.
Kowal is already the American-NCAA record-holder in both the 100-200 yard breaststrokes and was World Champion in the 200 meter breast two years ago at Perth.