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No. 11 Sun Devils Head North In Search Of Pac-10 Prize
Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
Release: 02/29/2000
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Feb. 29, 2000

TEMPE, Ariz. - The Arizona State men's swimming team competes against some of the top teams in the country at the annual Pacific-10 Conference Championships, March 2-4 in Federal Way, Wash. Preliminaries at the King County Aquatic Center will begin at 11:00 a.m. while finals commence at 6:00 p.m. PST each day. Each school will have its point total combined with results from the Pac-10 Diving Championships, held Feb. 24-26 in Los Angeles, where ASU had its finest showing since the 1982 season.

Note the Format
This weekend's conference meet will be contested in short-course yards. Meets throughout the 1999-2000 season will use either the aforementioned format, short- course meters or long-course meters. The NCAA Championships this season are being held in a 25-meter pool, while the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney will utilize a 50-meter format.

Poll Position
The Sun Devil men enter the Pac-10 Championships ranked 11th in the current College Swimming Coaches Association of America poll after beginning the season at #15. The Pac-10 is arguably the nation's strongest conference with four schools ranked amongst the top six. Arizona checks in at #2 behind top-ranked Texas, while California, USC and Stanford hold down the fourth through sixth spots, respectively. The next series of rankings should be published at on Feb. 29.

Devils Seek to Increase NCAA Contingent
Two ASU men have already qualified for next month's NCAA Championships in three events, totals the Sun Devils will look to add to during the Pac-10's. Freshman Attila Czene will participate in the 200-meter individual medley by virtue of a blistering 1:57.32 performance against Arizona, and also qualified in the 200 butterfly (1:57.33) during the same meet . Both times are the top collegiate marks in the country this season. Meanwhile freshman Anders Lyrbring has assured himself of a spot at Nationals with a 1:47.02 showing in the 200-meter freestyle at the Texas Invitational, and has also posted NCAA consideration times in the 50, 100 and 500 free. Eight other Sun Devils have recorded consideration marks in at least one event, including junior Adam Guzauskas who holds the nation's best 100-meter breatstroke time at 1:01.36. In addition, ASU ranks among the top five schools in all five relay events. The Devils will have a final chance to qualify for Nationals at the Pac-10 Invitational on Sunday, Mar. 5, also in Federal Way.

ASU Divers Get the Ball Rolling
Arizona State will have a head start on most of the Pac-10 thanks to a stellar showing at the Pac-10 Diving Championships in Los Angeles last week. Junior Marc Briggs became the first Sun Devil diver to win a conference crown since 1983 when he captured the three-meter title on Feb. 24 by scoring 514.55 points. The Madera, Calif., native followed up that performance by placing second in both the one-meter and platform events. ASU senior Allan Sonkin finished no lower than fifth in any event, including fourth place performances in one and three-meter action. The duo will be joined by freshman teammate Gregg Helland at the NCAA Zone E Championships Mar. 10-11 in Federal Way, where national championship births are on the line.

Devils Pull Off Upset Against In-State Rival
ASU will enter the Pac-10 Championships with the momentum of a 126-117 upset over #2 Arizona at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center on Feb. 12. The Devils began the Pac-10 dual meet on the right foot with a convincing win by their 400 medley relay team of Pablo Abal, Guzauskas, Czene and Scott Von Schoff, which finished over two seconds ahead of the Wildcats' "A" squad. In addition to the pair of victories by Czene, Arizona State showcased the strength of its breaststroking unit as junior Otto Hinks led a 1-2-3 sweep with his time of 2:17.37. Briggs took top honors in the one and three-meter diving competitions while Sonkin placed second in both events.

Pac-10 Three-Dot Data
The conference championships return to Washington for the first time since 1993 ... the meet had been held in Long Beach, Calif., the past six years ... Arizona is led by senior Ryk Neethling, who has captured Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year honors the past three seasons ...Cal senior Bart Kizierowski is the reigning conference 50 free champion and won the 100 free at the 1999 NCAA's ... junior Anthony Ervin is the lone returning conference title holder (100 breast) for a young Stanford squad ... USC, last year's Pac-10 runner-up, features defending 200 fly champion Phil Demers, a five-time All-American ... junior Francis Tam has recorded nationally-ranked times in three events for Washington, which has nearly half its roster comprised of freshman ... Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA and Washington State do not field men's swimming and diving programs.

Looking Back at the Pac-10's
At the 1999 Pac-10 Championships in Long Beach, Arizona State placed fifth with a total of 428.5 points. Leading the Sun Devil charge was senior Francisco Sanchez, who set a new meet record in the 100 freestyle at 42.86 and placed second in 50 free competition (19.78). Current junior Austin Paulsen touched the wall third in the 400 IM at 3:51.21, ranking him second in ASU history. Guzauskas notched a fourth-place showing in the 100 breast (55.04), while six ASU relay squads finished amongst the top five.

Pac-10 Championship History
Arizona State's highest finish at the Pac-10's came in 1995 when the Sun Devils placed second behind Stanford, which has won the last 18 conference meets. ASU swimmers and divers have captured 24 Pac-10 individual titles since the Devils joined the conference in 1979, while Sanchez earned co-Conference Swimmer of the Year honors in 1996.

On the Horizon
Following the Pac-10's, the Sun Devils will have three weeks to prepare for the NCAA Championships March 23-25 in Minneapolis, Minn. The 18th-ranked Arizona State women's team, which finished sixth at the Pac-10 meet last weekend, travels to Indianapolis, Ind., for their NCAA Championships March 16-18.

Head Coach Michael Chasson
Currently in his second season at ASU, Michael Chasson is the first head coach in school history to oversee both the men's and women's swim programs. In 1999, he guided Sun Devil men to a 16th place national showing, while the women finished 23rd at the NCAA Championships. Chasson came to Tempe with impressive credentials, having guided the Harvard men to six Eastern Seaboard Championships and four NCAA appearances. He is assisted at ASU by Victor Wales, Derigan Silver and Keri Buff. Matt Rose and Norbert Agh are the graduate assistant coaches.

Diving Coach Mark Bradshaw Mark Bradshaw, a former U.S. Olympic team member, is in his third year as Arizona State's diving coach. Under his tutelage two Sun Devil divers have qualified for the NCAA Championships, with one earning All-America honors.

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