March 7, 2002
LONG BEACH, Calif. - A third-place finish in the 400-yard medley relay highlighted the opening day of the Pac-10 Championships for Arizona State's men's swimming team at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in Long Beach, Calif., Thursday.
The Sun Devils are in fifth place after the first of what is a three-day meet. National No. 1 Stanford leads the six-team Pac-10 field with 251 points, followed respectively by Arizona (191.5), California (187), USC (179), ASU (135.5) and Washington (27).
In the final event of the day, ASU's 400y medley relay team of Ahmed Hussein, Joshua Gemmell, Simon MacDonald and Nick Brunelli turned in the second-fastest time in school history to place third in 3:14.23. Stanford won the event with a meet record time of 3:09.22, followed closely by California at 3:09.92. In school history, ASU's effort Thursday ranks only behind the team of Pablo Abal, Adam Guzauskas, Attila Czene and Scott VonSchoff, who set the ASU record of 3:14.18 in 2000.
In the other relay of the day, a Sun Devil squad of Brunelli, MacDonald, Bobby Zaabadich and Justin Mathias placed fourth in the 200y freestyle relay in a season-best effort of 1:19.21. Stanford won the event in 1:17.24.
The Sun Devils' best individual finish was turned in by senior Gavin Meadows in the 500y free. While USC's Erik Vendt won the event in 4:16.31, Meadows swam his fastest time of the season to place sixth in 4:22.55.
ASU failed to qualify a swimmer into the championship finals of the other two individual events contested Thursday. In the 200y individual medley, the Sun Devils did put three swimmers into the consolation final where Christian Harcsas became ASU's eighth-fastest swimmer all-time in the event with a 1:49.70 pace that placed him 10th. Adam Bugledich's 1:49.98 and Rich Jacobs' 1:52.10 placed them 12th and 16th, respectively.
In the 50y free, the event in which he finished 19th at last year's championships, Brunelli failed to dip under the 20-second barrier but still took 11th with a 20.09 effort after going 20.01 in the prelims. Zaabadich, who set his personal best with a 20.05 in prelims, swam 20.31 in finals to place 13th. In the bonus final, MacDonald took 17th in 20.43 and Mathias placed 21st in 20.67.
The Pac-10 Championships continue Friday, including event finals in the 200y medley relay, 400y individual medley, 100y butterfly, 200y freestyle, 100y breaststroke, 100y backstroke and 800y freestyle relay. The conference championships conclude Saturday, with finals of the 1650y freestyle, 200y backstroke, 100y freestyle, 200y breaststroke, 200y butterfly and 400y freestyle relay.
The post-season doesn't end for ASU with the Pac-10 Championships. Next up are the NCAA Zone E Diving Championships in Stanford, Calif., March 14-16. Then, qualifying women's swimmers and divers will compete in the NCAA Championships in College Station, Texas, March 21-23. The men's NCAA swimming and diving championships wrap up the 2001-02 season from Athens, Ga., March 28-30.