Women prolific, men solid for swim and dive

Great finish: Junior Elina Eggers comes out of her tuck during a dive at a practice in January. Eggers finished second on the platform at the NCAA national championships. (Photo by Michael Arellano)

While the women set records, the men continued to rebuild in what was a very productive season for the ASU swimming and diving teams.

The women’s swim and dive team set nine school records, had an individual win, a conference championship and also had a diver finish second in the country. The men, who are still recovering from budget cuts a few years ago, finished fifth at the Pac-10 Championships, had two divers win Pac-10 titles and also had a diver finish third at the NCAA Championships.

“It was very good,” ASU dive coach Mark Bradshaw said of the season. “Everybody was diving their best at the end of the season and that’s what you train for. I’m very happy with what we did overall.”

Bradshaw was right in saying his team was diving their best at the end of the season as the dive team was very impressive in both the Pac-10 and national championship meets.

Sophomore Riley McCormick and junior Constantin Blaha both won Pac-10 diving titles for the second straight year. McCormick won the platform event while Blaha took home the 3-meter springboard title.

The Sun Devil divers continued their success at the national championships where they came away with a pair of top-three finishes.

Junior Elina Eggers finished in second place on the platform and scored a collegiate-career best 345.60 in the process.

“Elina’s performance at nationals was her best of the year,” Bradshaw said.

Eggers was not the only Sun Devil to impress at the national championships with Blaha coming in at third in the country in the 3-meter springboard.

Blaha and Eggers may have been the only two Sun Devil divers to earn medals at the NCAA National Championships but junior Cameron Bradshaw and sophomore Riley McCormick also qualified for the meet.

Mark Bradshaw was definitely pleased with his team’s performance this season, but he is just as excited and optimistic about the future of the Sun Devil diving program.

“We have just got to keep setting the bar higher and trying to get better,” Bradshaw said. “Next year is an Olympic year so hopefully that will add a little more motivation to learn some new dives and make us even better.”

At the other end of the pool, the swim team set nine school records and also had a solid season.

“I thought we did good overall,” ASU freshman Tristin Baxter said. “It was a pretty successful year and I think we surprised some people with how well we did.”

For the second straight year, junior Rebecca Ejdervik won the 100-yard breaststroke at the Pac-10 Championships.

Ejdervik also set a school record in the 100 breast and was part of a relay team that not only finished eighth in the country at the NCAA National Championships, but also set a school record.

The relay team, which consisted of Ejdervik, sophomore Caroline Kuczynski, sophomore Kelli Kyle and senior Katie Haron, completed the 200 medley relay in one minute and 37.56 seconds, which was two seconds faster than the previous school record.

Multiple Sun Devil women broke school records, but sophomore Shannon Landgrebe stood above the rest as she broke four school records.

Landgrebe set ASU record in the 200 free, and in the split times of the 200 medley relay, 400 medley relay and 800 free relay.

Sophomore Cassie Morrice set the school record in the 500 free, while Baxter set school records in both the 1,000 and 1,650 free.

“It’s really exciting to have gotten those in my freshman year,” Baxter said. “Hopefully I can keep beating them and improving my times each year.”

Although her freshman season was successful, Baxter believes that she can have an even better season next year because she now understands what is necessary to be successful at the Division I level.

“It’s a lot harder,” Baxter said when asked to compare collegiate swimming to high school. “I think I adjusted well, but hopefully next year will be even easier now that I’m used to it.”

While the men’s swim team did not have the accolades that the women did, they still had a successful season as they continued to rebuild from the budget cuts in 2008, which almost eliminated the men’s swim team from ASU.

“I thought it was a successful season,” ASU freshman Hayden Thomas said. “The team made a lot of improvements and this season was definitely a step in the right direction.”

Reach the reporter at william.boor@asu.edu