ASU men’s swim team excels at Pac-12 Championships

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                </div>  The Arizona State men’s swim team wrapped up a fifth-place finish over the weekend at the Pac-12 Championships.  Not first place, but an impressive showing that should catch the […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
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The Arizona State men’s swim team wrapped up a fifth-place finish over the weekend at the Pac-12 Championships.  Not first place, but an impressive showing that should catch the attention of the rest of the conference.

“We’ve been one of the most overlooked teams in the country,” said head coach Dorsey Tierney-Walker.  “But people are finally taking notice.”

ASU set five new school records at the tournament – and got a peek at the future of the program.

And that future looks bright, indeed.

The new school record in the 400 medley relay was just set by a predominantly sophomore team, while sophomores and a junior set new individual school marks, and an up-and-coming freshman had a break-out performance in just his first year competing at the Pac-12 Championships.

ASU’s 400 medley relay team of junior Thibaut Capitaine and sophomores Richard Bohus, Tadas Duskinas, and Barkley Perry posted a time of 3:09.71 in the final event on Friday.  It’s the school’s top all-time mark in that event.

Two of those swimmers had already broken individual school records earlier in the day, and another would accomplish that feat during Saturday’s final day.  Duskinas clocked a time of 46.10 in the 100 fly prelims to earn him a top spot in the ASU record books and Capitaine broke his own school record in the 100 breast with a time of 5:31.21.

And then Capitaine went on to break the school record in the 200 breast on Saturday – and did it twice in the same day.  His time of 1:55.69 set a new mark during the prelims and then in the finals Capitaine broke his own record by finishing in 1:55.07 for sixth place.

Add to those a new school record in the 200 back when Perry posted a 1:42.50 in the prelims, eventually finishing in seventh place with a time of 1:43.09.

The freshman making a big splash in his first conference championship appearance was Patrick Park, who reached the A final in the 200 fly by swimming a prelim time of 1:44.77 and then closed out with a 1:45.81 that was good enough for eighth place.

In the men’s diving competition, junior Hunter Atha posted a score of 322.0 in the platform for a fourth-place finish.

This is the fifth year since Tierney-Walker took over the Sun Devils program, and the 309 overall points her men’s team picked up over the weekend is the most recorded since she took over in May of 2009.

ASU hired Tierney-Walker to direct both the men’s and women’s teams, becoming just the second head coach in the history of the swim program to coach both teams.

Tierney-Walker is trying to replicate the kind of success she had during seven years as head coach at Indiana University, during which time she won two Big Ten Coach of the Year honors, and the two NCAA national championships and two SEC Conference titles during four years as co-women’s head coach at Auburn.

The women’s team finished the championships in seventh place, posting a team total of 610 points.

They were also helped by a solid performance from a freshman, as Mara Aiacoboae scored 322 points on the platform dive for a fourth-place finish.  She missed a top-two finish by just 2.30 points.

In addition, there were a couple of eighth-place performances by senior Tory Houston and sophomore Anna Olasz.  Houston posted a time of 2:12.4 in the finals of the 200 breaststroke and Olasz had her best time, 16:21.21, in the prelims of the 1650 Freestyle.

The diving teams are competing this week in the Zone E Championships, while the swim teams will be back in the water beginning March 25 when they travel to Iowa City, Iowa, for the NCAA Championships.

(Photo: ASU Athletics)