Washington St. Beats Arizona For First Time in Program History

Washington State Cougars vs. Arizona Wildcats

  • October 15, 2021
  • Gibb Pool, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington
  • Short Course Yards (25 yards)
  • Swimming only (no diving)
  • Results
  • Final Score
    • Washington State women 131.5 def. Arizona women 129.5

The Washington State Cougars picked up a hallmark win in the 3rd meet of their 2021-2022, slipping by the Arizona Wildcats at home by a score of 131.5-129.5 on Friday morning. The Cougars are now 2-0 in dual meets this season.

That win marks the first-ever victory for Washington State in the head-to-head series between these two Pac-12 opponents.

The two teams didn’t face off for the first time until the 2012-2013 season, where Arizona won 119-75. Arizona has won all 5 previous matchups between the teams, with an average score of 157-94 in favor of the Wildcats.

Preliminary information available to SwimSwam indicates that neither team was wearing technical racing suits for the meet.

The meet featured only swimmers. Washington State doesn’t sponsor a diving program, but there were no divers at these teams’ last two matchups either, both of which were won handily by Arizona.

So, even with that context, the result shows a possible shifting of power in the Pac-12 Conference.

For Washington State head coach Matt Leach, this was his second Arizona dual in charge of the Cougars. Washington State lost the previous match, in the 2018-2019 season, 150-107.

“This is a big win for our Family!” Leach told SwimSwam after the meet. “We have always preached Family 1st, Academics 2nd, and Competing 3rd. These Cougs are hungry to continue to elevate and raise the bar day in and day out. Our TEAM did this because of our FAMILY bond. I’m so proud of everyone and we are looking to continue improving day in and day out! Go COUGS!”

Leach is entering his 4th season leading the program, arriving in 2018 from Indiana State.

Taylor McCoy led all individual scorers in the meet with 21 points. That included wins in both the 200 backstroke (2:03.22) and 200 IM (2:05.86). Those are both races that she swam at the Pac-12 Championships last season, finishing in the B final of both races. There was no 400 IM on the meet lineup – that’s her best event, and one where she finished 8th at Pac-12s last year.

McCoy is building off a breakthrough long course summer that saw her make 4 A-finals in 4 events at the Speedo Summer Championships – West meet in early August. That included a best time of 4:53.56 in the 400 IM.

Arizona got some big punches of their own in. In addition to winning both the 200 medley and 400 free relays, sophomore Amalie Mortensen, an All-American last season, won both the 200 free (1:51.17) and 500 free (5:04.45) individually. The Denmark native was 1:48.0 and 4:57.5 in those races last week at the SMU Classic, which was in a faster pool and where teams were suited.

Julia Heimstead also picked up two wins for the Wildcats, topping both the 100 fly (55.89) and 200 fly (2:03.75). She won the latter race by almost three seconds. She was a Pac-12 A-finalist in the 200 fly last season, where she finished 7th in 1:59.73. Heimstead was already 2:00.47 at last week’s SMU Classic. She appears to be set up for a big sophomore season, even though she didn’t race in an official meet between last year’s Pac-12 Championships and last week’s SMU Classic.

But it was the surprising depth of the Cougars that wound up carrying the day. Lauren Burckel won the 100 breast in 1:04.31 and had three top-3 finishes. That 100 breast time is two-and-a-half seconds better than she was last week at the Chik-Fil-A invite and is a season-best by 8-tenths.

Mackenzie Duarte won the 200 breast for Washington State ahead of Burckel’s second-place finish, and similarly had three top-3 finishes. Her 2:18.46 was similarly a season-best for her, but more than two seconds, as the Cougars were much better than they were last week almost across-the-board.

This result continues an inauspicious start for the Arizona women, who were 6th out of 6 teams at last week’s SMU Classic. Hannah Farrow, the team’s top swimming scorer at Pac-12s last season, swam just 1 race at the meet, finishing tied-for-5th in the 100 breaststroke.

Arizona finished 6th and Washington State finished 7th at last year’s Pac-12 Championships. There are 8 teams that sponsor women’s swimming programs in the Pac-12, but Arizona State redshirted the entire 2020-2021 roster because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Arizona will be back in the water next weekend when they host Wisconsin and Hawaii in Tucson. Washington State will race Arizona State on Saturday in Pullman as part of their double-header block against the conference’s Arizona teams.


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1 month ago


1 month ago

Arizona is a dumpster fire. Excepting Brooks Fail, of course.

Chas E
1 month ago

Go Augie!!!?

1 month ago


1 month ago

7 girls have transferred out of Arizona in the last 2 years… that’s gotta say something about the program. They will never be as good as they were as a team. I don’t think coach Augie Busch will be there much longer.

Reply to  ASU Fan
1 month ago

The majority of the girls who transferred caused drama and problems on the team. They are no longer here because Arizona takes pride in their team atmosphere and does not tolerate those kinds of people.

Reply to  Swimmer741
1 month ago

Or they were just smart enough to leave. It is as simple as that.

Fish Out of Water
Reply to  Swimmer741
1 month ago

With results like these it seems like that pride is really paying off!

Reply to  Swimmer741
1 month ago

The issue lies with the female athletes that are still in the program. If it was due to the transfers, why does that drama keep occurring and results keep worsening if the atmosphere is so great. Coincidence or common denominator??

Reply to  Beardownbad
1 month ago

What issues? What drama? You obviously don’t know what you’re talking about because the team atmosphere this year versus last year doesn’t even compare.

1 month ago

That’s the type of results you get when you have a women’s team that invests more time and energy into drama than into their training.

Reply to  Beardownbad
1 month ago

Genuine question because I was teammates with several people who swim for Arizona and said the same thing. What kind of drama was it and was it really bad enough for 7 girls to transfer?

Gaglianone’s Boot
Reply to  Beardownbad
1 month ago

Sounds like the narrative a coach uses to blame athletes when their training is basura

1 month ago

No reason why the PNW region shouldn’t have a solid swim program…they region has grown a lot and plenty of solid swimmers ended up out of region in the past. Way to go Cougars.

1 month ago

As a once proud alumnus, this continues to sicken me. It was a positive step hiring LJ, but way more needs to happen.

Reply to  Azswummer
1 month ago

Should qualify this by saying at least she reached out to us. Maybe hear from him once a year…

Last edited 1 month ago by Azswummer

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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