ASU swim and dive put up impressive performances against UCLA and USC in Tempe over the weekend.
On Friday, the women’s team defeated UCLA 173-121 in a strong showing, with both underclassmen and upperclassmen performing well.
The Sun Devils will have to deal with a constant 32-point deficit in every meet this season, as they do not have any divers on the roster and automatically forfeit those points. With ASU starting in a deficit and needing a strong start to the meet, the team won six out of the first seven events to take a commanding lead.
“Well, we know because of the situation with diving, we're 32 points behind going into this week,” women's associate head coach Rachel Stratton-Mills said. “All we've been talking about needing to come out strong to make up for that. And to get onto an even playing field, get those 32 points back from the beginning and go from there, and they absolutely stepped up.”
The meet included an impressive debut performance by redshirt freshman Molly Batchelor, who won the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:52.43 and finished second in the 1,000-yard freestyle.
On Saturday, both the men’s and women’s teams faced off against USC. Both of the Trojans' teams are ranked, the men at No. 23 and the women at No. 17, and were each coming off a win against UA in Tucson the day before.
The Sun Devils put together a good effort, but they couldn’t put away the Trojans, as the women’s team fell 208-90 and the men’s team fell 155.5-138.5. The men's team would’ve won the meet if it didn’t forfeit the diving points.
It was the first official meet of the year for the men’s team. ASU came out with wins from redshirt senior Grant House in the 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle and was helped by an incredible debut meet from star freshman Léon Marchand.
Marchand won three races: the 200-yard butterfly, the 200-yard backstroke and the 200 IM (individual medley). In the IM, he finished with a time of 1:43.69, almost five seconds faster than the next swimmer. His performance energized the team and impressed head coach Bob Bowman.
“I wouldn't ask for anything more than that,” Bowman said. “We've been training really hard, and Léon trains super hard. So, for him to swim those three and do it pretty well, and I don't even think he swam as fast as he could. He got out after the first two and said, ‘Oh, I should have definitely taken it out faster.’”
The women’s team had some impressive performances against the Trojans as well, with a win from redshirt sophomore Lindsay Looney in the 200-yard butterfly and a win from redshirt senior Emma Nordin in the 1,000-yard freestyle.
The Sun Devils have a 10-day break before the NC State Invite in Greensboro, North Carolina, on Nov. 18-21. The next Pac-12 dual meet is on Jan. 14 against Utah in Tempe.
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Shane Brennan is a politics reporter at State Press. He also works for Cronkite News and Blaze Radio.