Women’s swim nabs second place at Arena Invite

Senior Caroline Kuczynski took first place in the 100-meter fly with a time of 53:57 at the Arena Invitational in Long Beach, Calif. on Saturday. (Photo by Aaron Lavinsky)

With some of the top programs in the country, a strong finish in the Arena Invitational in Long Beach, Calif., should greatly boost the ASU swim team’s confidence.

The No. 18 ASU women’s team finished second overall just behind No. 1 California and ahead of teams such as No. 12 UCLA and No. 25 San Diego State.

“Some individuals that hadn’t had the opportunity to step up and perform under that type of pressure, they kind of challenged themselves to go to another level,” swim coach Dorsey Tierney-Walker said.

Junior Tristin Baxter and senior Cassie Morrice both got off to a quick start on the first day when they went one and two in the 500 free, respectively.

Baxter beat her personal record of 4:43.23, which was the ASU second-place record, with a time of 4:41.79 in the 500 free.

Day two of the Arena Invitational saw three first places finishes for ASU: senior Caroline Kuczynski in the 100 fly with a time of 53.37, senior Shannon Landgrebe in the 200 free with 1:45.81 and the team of Landgrebe, Kuczynski, Morrice and Baxter in the 800 free relay (7:10.79).

Baxter performed on the third day much like she did the previous two, when she touched the wall first in the 1650 free with a time of 16:09.53.

The women had five top-five finishes in the races after the 1650 free to push the Sun Devils past San Diego State to finish in second-place overall.

On the men’s side, the Sun Devils finished eighth overall in a meet dominated by Pac-12 foe Stanford, the No. 3 team in the country.

Despite the eighth-place finish, Tierney-Walker said she’s very impressed with her men’s team.

“Very solid performances,” Tierney-Walker said. “Season bests across the board.”

Junior Alex Coci was back competing for the Devils this weekend and had an impressive showing.

Coci finished second in the 100 fly and third in the 200 fly on the final day of competition with a time of 1:47.17.

After this impressive weekend for both the men and women, Tierney-Walker can feel a difference with this year’s team.

“You know the team is excited, motivated and probably more cohesive, in-tune and invested in the program since our staff has been here,” Tierney-Walker said. “I just think we have the right personnel, they’re energetic and communicate well and it’s spilled over to the team. We have some very motivated student athletes, especially seniors. They just want to go out with a bang.”

 

Divers keep rolling

The ASU divers picked up where they left off in Tucson over the weekend in the Wildcat Invitational.

Freshman Morgan Weller and junior Hailey Casper finished first and third, respectively, in the three-meter springboard championship.

Casper and Weller then went on to place second and third in the 1-meter dive with 299.85 and 290.35, respectively.

“Morgan and Hailey should’ve been one and two on both boards,” coach Mark Bradshaw said. “Still, they did some very good things, but we have things to work on.”

Senior Harrison Jones finished in first in the 3-meter men’s diving championship with a score of 452.60.

“Harrison did great,” Bradshaw said. “He’s predictable though. He won both boards which is nice, although it’s early in the season.”

ASU has a small break in action until Dec. 16 when they host a Pac-12 dual-meet against Utah at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center.

 

Reach the reporter at ross.dunham@asu.edu