Women stay strong, but fall behind on first two days of Pac-12 Swim and Dive Championships

ASU demonstrated great team energy and improvement through the start of competition

Two days into the Pac-12 Women's Swimming and Diving Championships, ASU finds itself in sixth place behind the best swim programs in the conference.

The Sun Devils showed their season-long improvements in Federal Way, Washington by breaking school records, improving personal bests and bringing a ferocious energy to the pool. However, they will have to swim harder and faster if they look to finish within the top five.

Day 1: Women start strong, but men's dive steals spotlight

The women’s Pac-12 Swimming and Diving Championships kicked off in Federal Way, Washington Wednesday evening.

The night’s two swim events, the 200-yard medley relay and the 800-yard freestyle relay, were dominated by the Stanford Cardinal and their Olympians.

Sophomore Simone Manuel and freshman Katie Ledecky were both a part of the relay teams that racked up 128 points for the Cardinal, and Ledecky’s 800-yard relay team set a new NCAA record (6:49.42).

The Sun Devils placed sixth in both events, giving them a total of 96 points and putting them at sixth overall.

Although the night was intended to focus on the women’s swim events, the spotlight for the Sun Devils was on the diving boards.

Youssef Selim, a freshman diver on the men’s team, placed second in the men’s 1-meter dive. Head diving coach Mark Bradshaw said he was proud of the way Selim handled himself at his first championships.

“The first time in this meet can be a little shocking as it’s different, the atmosphere is different than a normal meet. He did a steady list of dives and earned a second-place finish,” Bradshaw said.

Selim was not the only first timer to score for ASU, as three freshmen from the women’s highly productive freshmen class were a part of the two ASU relay teams to finish in sixth place.

ASU may not have started off the Pac-12 Championships sitting in first or second place, but head coach Bob Bowman said he was pleased with the intensity the women brought to the pool.

“Our 200 medley relay was just off our school record and our 800 free relay was almost 9 seconds faster than last year,” Bowman said. “We know we have a lot of work to do but we had great team energy tonight.”

The Sun Devils will try and bring that same energy to the pool come Thursday where they will swim the 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard individual medley, 50-yard freestyle and 200-yard freestyle relay.

The diving team will attempt to add to their strong start as the men have the 3-meter dive and the women have the 1-meter dive.

Standings: 1. Stanford (128 pts) 2. Cal (112 pts) 3. USC (108 pts) 4. UCLA (102 pts) 4. UA (102 pts) 6. ASU (96 pts) 7. WSU (90 pts) 7. Utah (90 pts) 9. OSU (84 pts)

Day 2: Women's solid individual performances not enough to keep up with the Pac-12 powerhouses

Thursday marked the second day of the women’s swim and dive Pac-12 Championships, which was full of ups and downs for the Sun Devils.

ASU had only two swimmers finish in the top 10 in any of the three individual swim events, senior Kat Simonovic took sixth in the 500-yard freestyle (4:41.22) and freshman Kendall Dawson finished tenth in the same event (4:42.66).

Simonovic’s time was strong enough to set a new ASU record in the 500-yard freestyle. However, she was not the only record breaker in the event as freshman Cardinal Katie Ledecky broke the American record (4:28.37).

Even with a couple of solid individual performances, the team still finds itself in sixth place overall.

UA took over the pool today as they went from being tied in fourth place with UCLA to firmly holding third with a total of 376 points.

The Wildcats were able to rack up 76 of their points from one of night’s two diving events, the women’s 1-meter dive.

Although Stanford, Cal and UA were getting further out of reach each day, head coach Bob Bowman said he believes the Sun Devils really put on a show in the pool.

“We had a fantastic night of swimming tonight. Kat was very tough in setting the ASU (record) in the 500, and Kendall Dawson and Bentley Hulshof both made good time drops in their finals,” Bowman said.

With two days in the books, the Sun Devils will need to make a significant jump in production if they want to finish in the top five.

ASU will attempt to make a splash in Friday’s eventful night. The finals will consist of the 400-yard individual medley, 100-yard butterfly, 200-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke, 100-yard backstroke, 400-yard medley relay, the women’s 3-meter dive and the men’s platform dive.

Standings: 1. Stanford (546 pts) 2. Cal (490 pts) 3. UA (376 pts) 4. USC (351 pts) 5. UCLA (336 pts) 6. ASU (274 pts) 7. Utah (165 pts) 8. WSU (148 pts) 9. OSU (130 pts)

Reach the reporter at atotri@asu.edu or follow @Anthony_Totri on Twitter.

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