Arizona Men's Swimming and Diving Finishes Third at 2000 NCAA Championships
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - In the biggest upset of the weekend, senior Ryk Neethling fell short in his bid to win his third individual crown of the weekend and 10th career title on the final day of competition today at the University Aquatic Center, as Arizona finished in third-place (360.5 points) at the 2000 NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships. The third-place finish also marked the best finish in school history for the men's program. The previous best was a fourth-place finish by the 1993 squad.
Texas brought home its seventh NCAA men's championship with 538 points, while defending-champion Auburn placed second (385). Stanford (fourth place; 279.5 points) and California (279) round out the top five.
Event 15, the 1,500-meter freestyle, saw Neethling race side by side with Michigan's Chris Thompson and USC's Eric Vendt for most of the race, before faltering late and finishing third (14:39.04).Vendt captured the title in an American-record time of 14:31.02, followed by Thompson (14:35.95). Neethling (14:39.04) finished his collegiate career with nine individual titles, placing him in a five-way tie for third-best all-time. Neethling was attempting to become only the third man in the 77-year history of the NCAA Men's Championships to win three event titles in three-straight years. Another strong performance for the Cats in the 1,500m free came from senior Nat Lewis who finished fifth, in a time of 14:57.01. That swim also earned Lewis the seventh All-America nod of his career.
In the second event of day three, the 200m backstroke, sophomore Kris Souther scored 14 points for Arizona by turning in a fifth-place performance (1:55.51). Senior Matt Allen qualified 16th in the event, only after defeating Stanford's Randall Bal in a swim-off because both swimmers qualified in a time of 1:57.72. In the evening consolation finals Allen finished 15th (1:58.33).
In the 100m freestyle, sophomore Roland Schoeman (47.51) placed second to California's Anthony Ervin (47.36). The duo also finished in the same order in the 50m freestyle, providing a possible preview to the finals at the Olympic Games this summer. Scoring points for the Cats in the consolation final was senior Coley Stickels (13th place; 49.08) and junior Jay Schryver (15th place; 49.31).
In the 200m butterfly UA freshman Jeff Dash advanced to his first-ever championship final and made the most of it. Dash placed fifth, in a time of 1:57.01. Junior Ben Anderson swam in the consolation final, placing 10th overall (1:58.65).
Next, the swimmers took a break while the men's 10-Meter Platform diving competition took place. Sophomore Ruben Vaca finished 17th (403.50 points) and junior Arno Bergstrom placed 19th (387.25).
The final event of the final day saw the 400m free relay squad of Schoeman, Stickels, Schryver and Neethling place third, in a time of 3:13.18. The race picked up 32 points for the Wildcats.
* NOTE * All of the complete race results for both the preliminary and finals sessions from all three days can be found at two separate websites: www.ncaachampionships.com and www.gophersports.com