TUCSON, Arizona, November 8. ECHOES of last year’s close battle with the UCLA Bruins were felt on deck today at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center, where the Arizona women’s swim team hung on to beat UCLA 151-149.
UCLA was able to beat Arizona last year when miscommunication on the length of the final relay caused Arizona to lose all points in that race. No disqualifications happened this year, and the chase for the meet victory came down to the last event.
UCLA was ahead 144-139 (counting diving points) going into the meet-ending 200 free relay. Arizona needed to win the relay and place second or third in order to win the meet, and without NCAA champion Margo Geer to help them, the Wildcats barely hung on to win the race with a 1:32.16 to UCLA’s 1:32.46. But the Fates were likely in their favor today, as UCLA and Arizona tied for third with matching times of 1:35.10. That split up the two points that the third-place relay gets equally between the two teams. Had UCLA earned sole possession of the third-place points, the meet would have ended a 150-150 tie.
Though much conversation has been made about including diving points in dual meets and the NCAA championships, this factoid might not increase the debate very much: Arizona would have won the meet by eight points in just the swimming events.
Not counting UCLA’s 22-16 points advantage from the two diving events, Arizona’s lead was no smaller than 10 points throughout the meet. Thanks to a monster performance in the final individual event, the 200 IM, UCLA was only behind by one point in the swimming portion of the meet going into the free relay.
Though Geer was not a part of the free relay, she did her part, helping Arizona win the 200 medley relay. She also won the 200 free with a 1:49.04 by nine tenths over UCLA’s Ting Quah, took the 50 free with a 22.89 and captured the 100 free with a 49.26.
Besides the 200 IM, the Bruins got a big points advantage in the 200 fly, scoring 16 points as they went 1-2-4-5. Noelle Tarazona led the way with a 2:00.03, just one tenth ahead of teammate Katie Kinnear’ 2:00.14. Arlyn Upshaw (2:04.87) and Kacey Milligan (2:05.10) also scored for UCLA in the 200 fly.
Arizona had similar dominance in the breaststroke events, led by All-American Emma Schoettmer. She won the 100 in 1:01.63 to lead a Wildcat 1-2-3 sweep, then was part of another sweep in the 200 with a winning time of 2:12.50. Sara Borendame (1:03.61, 2:17.55) and Eve Sarris (1:04.22, 2:19.44) also were part of the breaststroke sweeps.
Arizona will face a tougher challenge tomorrow afternoon, as the powerful USC Trojans roll into town for dual meet action.
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