Dec. 10, 2002
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The 11th-ranked Arizona State men's swimming and diving team finished in 5th place at the conclusion of the 2002 Texas Invitational after earning 454.50 points over the three day meet last weekend. Several solid performances were had by the Sun Devils, who held their own in a men's field where eight of the 10 teams were ranked in the top 25.
The return of Bobby Zaabadich to regular duty surely helped the sprinting corps, as he earned a second-place finish in the 50 free on Thursday (20.01), good for an NCAA "B" time and the fastest time by a Sun Devil this year. Not far behind in the 50 was Nick Brunelli, who finished two spots behind Zaabadich (20.11) and also earned NCAA consideration. On Saturday in the 100 free, it was Brunelli who finished in second (43.92), earning him NCAA consideration. Zaabadich clocked a 44.97 in the morning preliminaries, three-hundredths of a second shy of an NCAA time. Brunelli also earned an NCAA "B" standard in the 200 free (1:37.42) in his Friday morning preliminary, but did not swim in the finals that evening.
These two All-American swimmers were the leadoff legs in the 200 free relay on Thursday, which finished second and registered a "B" standard (1:20.03). Wiley Wallace and Ace Tate were the other members of the relay. In the individual 50 free on Thursday, Wallace (20.38) missed the NCAA consideration time by five-hundredths of a second.
Two other relays recorded NCAA consideration over the weekend. On Friday, the 200 medley relay recorded a 1:29.52 to finish fifth and earn a "B" time. The relay included Christian Harcsas, Russell MacDonald, Tate and Zaabadich. On Saturday, the 400 free relay (2:58.27) of Brunelli, Zaabadich, Wallace and Harcsas finished fourth and earned another "B" for the relay squads.
The individual distance freestyle events saw David Kolozar finish a team-best 20th (4:32.65) in the 500 free and Derek Miller finish ninth in the 1650 free (15:37.38) in his first crack at that distance this season.
Sun Devil senior All-American Harcsas registered some fine performances in his specialty area, the backstroke. In the 100 on Friday, Harcsas touched the wall in 48.42, good enough for fourth and an NCAA "B" time. In the 200 back on Saturday, the event in which he holds the school record (1:43.11), Harcsas recorded his first NCAA automatic qualifying time of the year (1:43.82) to earn third place. He is only the second Arizona State swimmer to ever swim the 200 back in under 1:44.00.
Sophomore Evan Rahaeuser broke out for some good finishes, earning 51.03 in the 100 back on Friday, and clocked 1:49.59 in the 200 back, improving upon his previous best of 1:53.04 by almost three and a half seconds.
In the breaststroke, freshman Leonardo Martins solidified himself as the Sun Devils' number one swimmer in the 200, clocking an NCAA "B" time in Saturday's finals (2:00.23), improving his previous best by over four seconds and finishing fourth. This time vaulted him into third in the Arizona State record book for the 200 breast.
Sophomore Joey Clements also improved his season-best time in the 200 breast by over four seconds (2:02.75) and registered a 12th-place finish. On Friday, the 100 breast saw Russell MacDonald (55.96) finish seventh and miss an NCAA consideration time by four-hundredths of a second. He is also eight-hundredths of a second from putting himself in the all-time ASU top ten.
Freshman David Kolozar continues to improve his times in the 200 fly, where on Saturday he updated his best to 1:46.76, placing him sixth, lowering his NCAA consideration time, and moving himself up a notch in the Sun Devil record books to fifth all-time. His season-best is over six seconds faster than his closest teammate. In the 100 fly on Thursday, Ace Tate recorded a 49.44, earning him a personal best.
The Sun Devils did not record any NCAA qualifying standards in the individual medley events, yet saw some dramatic improvements in season best times. In the 200 on Thursday, Harcsas lowered his season best by over three seconds to 1:50.30, while Rahaeuser (1:52.05), Martins (1:52.68), Crowder (1:53.04) and Kyle Horton (1:53.04) also clocked season-best times. In the 400 on Friday, freshman Steve McDonald improved his best by over 15 seconds to 3:56.78. He is the only Sun Devil to swim under 4:00.00 this year in this event.
Freshman diver Joona Puhakka continued his outstanding early season performances, where he is undefeated in competition as a Sun Devil. On Thursday, he captured the 1-meter event in a season best 362.05, beating his nearest opponent by over 45 points. Friday's result was similar, with Puhakka racking up a 628.55 in the 3-meter, 11-dive event, this time beating the second-place finisher by over 80 points. His score was 3.7 points off of Mark Briggs' school record set in 2000.
Sophomore Thomas McCrummen, last year's Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year for Diving, earned third-place in the 1-meter on Thursday with a 295.40, and ninth-place in the 3-meter on Friday with a 440.90. Freshman Brant Bingham finished tenth in both the 1-meter (222.25) and 3-meter events (429.05).
Final Team Scores
1. Texas 721
2. California 637.50
3. Wisconsin 584
4. Southern Cal 578
5. Arizona State 454.50
6. Hawaii 292
7. Harvard 211
8. Arizona 196
9. TCU 93
9. Indiana 93
11. Florida 61
12. UC Santa Barbara 41