In his first year in Tempe, the new Arizona State University head swim coach Bob Bowman has accomplished something others before him haven’t been able to do for the last 14 years…beat the University of Arizona men’s swim team.
And not just any ol’ beating, mind you. This was a day of domination against a good team that came into the weekend dual meet ranked No. 17 in the nation.
The final score in the last meet of the regular season was 168-132 after the Sun Devils won 11 out of the 14 swim events and set five new school records – the most new marks set in any dual meet in the history of the program.
“It was amazing,” said Bowman, who was hired last April to direct both the men’s and women’s programs. “Rivalries are what make college athletics fun. To be part of one that is so intense as this one is really fun. To come away with the win for the men was really special because it has been a long time.”
The ASU vs. UofA rivalry is one of the fiercest in the country. But the ASU men’s team has found it difficult holding up its end of the rivalry; the Devils’ last win over the Wildcats was back in 2002.
Bowman was a huge hiring coup for ASU. He is arguably the most recognized name among swim coaches across the country and has been a very high-profile presence in recent years while working with Olympian Michael Phelps. He has been honored as Coach of the Year five times by the American Swimming Coaches Association and six times by USA Swimming, and has been an assistant coach at three summer Olympics.
“Under Bob’s guidance, we will compete for individual, conference, and national titles,” said ASU athletic director Ray Anderson at the announcement of Bowman’s hire. The upset of a top-20 team on Saturday may signal the beginning of the climb.
A sell-out crowd of 2,000 filled ASU’s Mona Plummer Aquatic Center to watch the Sun Devils re-write the school’s record books. Leading the way were junior Richard Bohus and sophomore Christian Lorenz. Bohus won three individual titles in the 50 and 100 freestyle events and the 100 backstroke, in which he set one of the five records by clocking a winning time of 46.74.
Lorenz broke the men’s 100 and 200 breastroke records, posting a 53.18 time in the 100 and 1:54.10 in the 200.
Bohus and Lorenz joined with junior Tada Duskinas and sophomore Patrick Park in breaking another record, in the 200-yard medley relay (1:25.65).
The fifth record was actually a tie of the old mark as junior Barkley Perry equaled his old record of 1:42.50 in the 200 backstroke, a time he posted last year at the Pac-12 Men’s Championships.
Perry and his teammates will have plenty of time to prepare for this year’s conference championships. The men’s swimming competition is scheduled for March 2-5 at Federal Way, WA.
(Photo: ASU Athletics)