Although the ASU swim and dive team only had one champion crowned at the Pac-12 tournament, many school records were broken.
The Sun Devils will look to take the momentum into the NCAA championships.
Freshman diver Morgan Weller was the sole Sun Devil to bring home a gold medal from Federal Way, Wash. Weller finished first in the 1-meter dive with a score of 334.35, more than 20 points ahead of second place USC diver Haley Ishimatsu.
Diving coach Mark Bradshaw was proud of Weller and said she responded to adversity after not diving well the day before.
The women’s swim team had an outstanding meet. ASU qualified five individual swimmers and four additional relay swimmers for the NCAA championships despite not earning the top spot in a race.
The dive team was able to qualify two women for a total of 11 for the women’s squad.
“A total of 11 is the most we have ever brought to a meet, so we are really excited about that,” swim coach Dorsey Tierney-Walker said. “I think we got better every single day. Our last day was by far the best.”
Juniors Tristin Baxter and Alex Popa both had stellar weekends for the Sun Devils.
Baxter nabbed her second silver medal in the 1650 freestyle, finishing with a time of 16:02.86 on the final day of competition.
Popa took home bronze in the 200-yard backstroke.
“Alex Popa came out of nowhere with the third place finish in the 200-breast. It was just some tough racing overall,” Tierney-Walker said.
The women’s team finished sixth place in the Pac-12 tournament while No. 4 Stanford took the conference title.
Sun Devil men started their Pac-12 championship immediately after the women finished theirs.
Freshman Thibaut Capitaine and junior Alex Coci stood out for the swimmers on the weekend.
Capitaine finished seventh in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 53.59, which was nearly a second ahead of the ASU record set in 2006.
Coci swam a 46.82 in the 100-yard butterfly to qualify for the NCAA tournament.
Tierney-Walker said it was nice to see how well most of her men did.
“We have two individual qualifiers and two divers, which we haven’t had any individual qualifiers for the last three years, so we are really excited about that,” Tierney-Walker said.
Both divers senior Harrison Jones and junior Riley McCormick qualified for the NCAA championships after their performances at the Pac-12 and Zone E championships.
The competition was stiff for the conference title. Now the athletes representing ASU will face even stronger competition at the national level.
Tierney-Walker knows that the NCAA championships host the cream of the crop but thinks ASU’s leadership can carry them through.
“On the women’s side we have the veteran team, we have been here before, we are very heavy on the senior side, and I think experience at this meet usually has a very positive effect,” Tierney-Walker said. “The seniors are excited for one last NCAA championship, so we will see.”
The Sun Devil women travel to Indianapolis, Ind., this week and begin competition in the NCAA tournament starting Thursday.
“I like how the season has unfolded so far and I feel like our best swimming is ahead of us,” Tierney-Walker said.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org