Men, women both earn wins for ASU swim and dive over Denver

Both teams improved to 3-0 on the season in the home opener for the Sun Devils

Nothing beats a hard-fought, last-minute victory.

The ASU women’s swimming and dive team did just that Saturday afternoon, earning a 152.5-135.5 victory over University of Denver at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center in Tempe. The men's side joined in victory as well in easier fashion, cruising to a 196-99 win in the team's home opener.

Down one point (120-119) heading into the final two events, the women had plenty of work left to do. 

Sophomore Marlies Ross found an extra gear during her last 50 of the 400-yard individual medley, and earned a first-place tie with Denver junior Maddie Myers, who was leading the race from the start.

Ross’s performance shifted momentum in ASU’s camp. The nine points awarded to the winner were split in half equally.

Thus, the ASU women had the lead back heading into the final event, the 200-yard freestyle relay.

ASU’s A relay team of freshman Claire Fisch and seniors Ingibjorg Jonsdottir, Kat Simonovic and Alysha Bush stepped up when it mattered most.

"It's exciting and that's what we train for, we train for those moments," associate head coach Ryan Mallam said. "We train for it to come down to that last relay, that last event, and we're all invested in the team's success so it was exciting."

Bush touched the final wall first, earning a time of 1:31.70 — a full three seconds ahead of the Pioneers' top relay.

“It is really cool to be a part of this team’s culture,” Bush said. “We all really have great bonds, we all want to swim for each other, we all want to support each other, I haven’t seen cheering like that in four years."

In addition, the co-captain contributed individual gold in the 100-free with a time of 49.97, placing her under the NCAA B-standard Division I qualifying time.

If a swimmer locks up the B-standard, they are considered for the NCAA National Championships by a deciding committee. Swimmers that lock up the A-standard time automatically make the cut.

As a team, the 50-free once again stood out as the team's dominant event.

Bush (22.77) and Fisch (22.88) each earned a B-standard time, while freshman Kathrine Wagner finished third (23.86) and sophomore Krista Kolkebeck followed in fourth (23.44).

“It shows us that we have what it takes to be at the top level,” Bush said. “With all these new freshmen coming in that are making a huge impact, it shows that we are going to be big competitors at Pac-12.

“Even though were training so hard, were still performing so well and beating teams that we haven’t beat in a while.”

ASU also went 1-2 in the 200-free thanks to the efforts of Simonovic (1:49.32) and senior Indira Ceranic (1:50.57).

On the men's side, freshman Cameron Craig showed off in his first appearance in front of the home faithful, helping ASU men’s swimming and dive team dethrone Denver, 196-99.

The No. 1 recruit out of Michigan chose the Sun Devils, and they’re already benefiting from his services.

“Cameron is an exceptional athlete, he still has a lot to learn,” Mallam said. “He’s been working hard and he is only going to get way better as the season progresses.

“He is definitely an all-around athlete and that is why we wanted him, and recruited him,” he said.

In the 400-yard medley relay, the first event for the men, Craig anchored the A squad with a time of 44.02, helping his team capture nine points. ASU’s B squad finished second (3:17.33).

Two events later, Craig turned in the performance of the meet in the 200-yard freestyle, going from fourth to first with a split of 49.25 on the last 50. His overall time of 1:38.61 guaranteed a sweep of first, second and third in that event for ASU.

“It is just the start of a great career at ASU,” Craig said.

A short while later, in the 100-yard free, Craig collected his second individual victory of the meet. His time of 43.93 was faster than his second 200-free split.

Craig’s showing in the 100-free earned him a B-standard time. 

In the Butterfly, junior Patrick Park recorded a first (1:47.06) and second (47.78) place finish in the 200 and 100-yard fly respectively, qualifying below the B-standard in both events.

Graduate student Andrew Porter, in a photo finish, out-touched Park by two one-hundredths of a second and claimed first, while senior Tadas Duskinas claimed third. Porter and Duskinas also qualified below the B-standard time of 48.29.

Mallam attributed part of the Devils’ fly success to their underwater kicking work.

Head Coach Bob Bowman taught the stroke to one of the greatest butterfliers ever (Michael Phelps), and Mallam gave Bowman a lot of credit.

“I don’t know if that is a coincidence or not, but it is probably why our butterflies are so strong," Mallam said.

Other strong performances on the men’s side included 1-2 sweep in the 100-yard breaststroke, a win in the 500-yard free for freshmen Ben Olszewski (4.29.33), and wins in the 100- and 200-yard backstroke from senior Richard Bohus (48.12) and freshman Zachary Poti (1:46.04) respectively.

For full meet results, click here.

Up Next:

Both the men’s and women’s teams travel to Southern California on Friday, November 4 for a showdown with USC. The next day, the women face UCLA.


 Reach the reporter at jpjacqu1@asu.edu or follow @joejacquezaz on Twitter.

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