Arizona State hosted desert rival Arizona in a dual Saturday, the last meet for both Pac-12 foes before the conference championships. The visiting Wildcats picked up two resounding wins – the women triumphed 171.5-105.5, while the men, swimming for a second straight week without star butterflyer Giles Smith, won 158.5-116.5.
The meet was Arizona’s first under newly-named head coach Rick Demont, who had been serving as interim head coach most of the season.
As usual, Bonnie Brandon was dominant for Arizona. The sophomore won three events for the Wildcats, topping the 200 free (1:48.56), 200 back (1:57.58) and 200 IM (2:03.40) without facing much of a fight in anything. Brandon also led off the winning 200 medley relay, splitting 25.8 on the back leg for the 1:41.65 Wildcats.
Joining her on that relay were Emma Schoettmer, Katja Hajdinjak and Margo Geer. Schoettmer and Geer each claimed a pair of events in addition to Brandon’s to help put points on the board. Schoettmer paced both breaststroke races, going 1:02.59 in the 100 and 2:16.51 in the 200. Geer manned the sprint events, winning the 50 free in 22.66 and the 100 free in 49.34. She added a 49.43 leadoff leg of the winning 400 free relay.
ASU got a pair of wins in tight races from Tristin Baxter. The senior went 1:57.55 to win the 200 fly by just .3 over Zona’s Elizabeth Pepper. Then Baxter came back to win the 500 free in 4:51.15, touching out Tjasa Oder by a tenth. That avenged a loss to Oder in the 1000 free in the meet’s opening event.
Other event winners were ASU’s Melanie Busch in the 100 back (55.69) and Arizona’s Ashley Evans in the 100 fly (53.55).
The Arizona men rolled to a win powered by breaststroker Kevin Cordes, who swept the 100 and 200 of the stroke to remain undefeated for the season in his two primary events. The American record-holder was 53.75 and 1:56.54 to easily pace each race.
Cordes also posted a 24.3 breaststroke split on the winning 200 medley relay, joining Mitchell Friedemann, Andrew Porter and Brian Stevens. That relay went 1:29.16 – Zona has to be among the favorites to win the medley at NCAAs, but were still without the services of butterflyer Giles Smith. The senior hasn’t competed since January 24th, when he struggled mightily and appeared to be dealing with injury or illness in a road dual with California. On the plus side for Arizona, the team now has three full weeks off before the Pac-12 championships, where a main priority has to be getting a healthy Smith back to full speed.
Friedemann won the 100 back in a tight race with ASU’s big-time freshman Richard Bohus. Friedemann went 48.23 to top Bohus’s 48.38. Bohus did win a touchout of his own, though, knocking off Brian Stevens in the 100 free 45.36 to 45.40. That came on the heels of Stevens’ big win in the 50 freestyle for Arizona.
The Sun Devils were buoyed by strong performances from Alex Coci and Barkley Perry. Coci won both the 100 fly (48.15) and 200 fly (1:46.98), while Perry took the 200 free (1:39.48) and 200 back (1:45.81).
Coci and Bohus teamed up with Tadas Duskinas and Thomaz Martins to win the 400 free relay at the meet’s close in 3:00.28.
Other event winners were Arizona’s Matt Barber in the 500 free (4:33.83), his teammate Sam Rowan in the 200 IM (1:49.98), ASU’s Alex Palumbo in the 1000 free (9:28.93).