Eleven Univ of Ariz swimmers and divers head to Women’s NCAA Championships

Photo / UA Athletics

By Hannah Barry / UA Sports

Women:  ARIZONA at NCAA Championships

When: Wednesday, Mar. 15

Thursday, Mar. 16

Friday, Mar. 17

Saturday, Mar. 18

Where: IU Natatorium | Indianapolis, Indiana

Streaming: ESPN3 (Wednesday, Friday, Saturday Finals) | NCAA.com (All Thursday/Friday and Saturday Prelims)

TV: ESPNU (Two-hour tape delay on Mar. 28 at 4 p.m. MST)

Pac-12 Championships Recap

Arizona women’s swimming and diving finished fourth overall at the Pac-12 Championships with a total score of 1,075.5. Stanford claimed the Pac-12 title with 1,587.5 followed by California (1,392) and USC (1,250.5).

Senior diver Karolyn Loftus had the best finish at the Championships coming in second in the platform (262.70). Junior Tjasa Oder was next finishing third in the 1,650 free with 15:59.47. The team of Katrina Konopka, Annie Ochitwa, Paige Kremer and Laura Kurki took third in the 200 free relay with a time of 1:27.95 for the best relay finish.

Konopka also added the only individual NCAA ‘A’ cut with a sixth-place finish in the 50 free and her personal-best time (21.71). She is now in third on Arizona’s all-time top-ten list in the event.

Overall, the Cats tallied 18 top-eight finishes, seven from individual swimmers, six from diving and five from relays. Twelve of those finishes were in the top five. The women also earned an ‘A’ cut in every relay event.

NCAA Championships Information

A total of 322 participants (281 swimmers and 41 divers) will compete in the championships. The Cats had nine swimmers selected to compete individually, one of only 12 schools to have at least nine. Two divers will also represent Arizona at the NCAA Championships, totaling 11 without the additional relay swimmers.

Hannah Cox – 500 Free, 400 IM

Taylor Garcia – 100 Back

Sally Hackett – 1-meter, 3-meter, platform

Kirsten Jacobsen – 1,650 Free

Katrina Konopka – 50 Free, 100 Free, 100 Back

Karolyn Loftus – 3-meter, platform

Kennedy Lohman – 100 Breast

Cameron McHugh – 200 Back

Annie Ochitwa – 50 Free, 100 Fly

Tjasa Oder – 1,650 Free

Mackenzie Rumrill – 100 Fly

Arizona will be taking three freshmen, four sophomores, two juniors and two seniors. Hackett and Konopka lead the team with three events each. This is also McHugh’s first time individually qualifying for the NCAA Championships.

Katrina Konopka: Leading the Way

Sophomore Katrina Konopka has had a season for the books. The swimmer has not finished lower than second-place all season in the 50 free. She has won the event six of the nine times she swam including at the Texas Invitational, losing only to Stanford, California and Texas.

Konopka was named the women’s December Pac-12 Swimmer of the Month for her strong performances. On the first day of the Texas Invitational, Konopka was a member of the relay team that broke a school record in the 200 medley relay. Taylor Garcia, Kennedy Lohman, Annie Ochitwa and Konopka finished a time trial in 1:34.63 for a new Arizona record and NCAA ‘A’ cut.

Individually, Konopka won the 50 free with a time of 21.90 for a ‘B’ cut. She later finished third at the Texas Invitational in the 100 back with 52.02 for another ‘B’ cut. In the prelims of the 100 free, Konopka earned a ‘B’ cut with a second-place finish (48.13).

The sophomore also earned a victory as a part of the 200 free relay team, tallying an ‘A’ cut with 1:27.67. Konopka also helped the team to an NCAA ‘A’ cut in the 400 free relay and 400 medley relay.

Later in December, the swimmer competed at the FINA Short Course World Championships. Konopka earned her first international gold medal after swimming the prelim of the 4x100m free relay. She finished seventh in the prelims, but won gold when team USA took first in the final.

On the second day of the championships, Konopka helped her 4x50m medley relay team set a new world record with a time of 1:43.27 and won her second gold medal.

From the Pac-12 Championships, Konopka now sits in third place on the Arizona all-time top-ten times list in the 50 free (21.71).

Arizona in the Rankings

The Cats have multiple swimmers in the USA Swimming Top-100 Times this season. The women have 45 times in the top-100 coming from 20 different swimmers, nine of which will be competing at the NCAA Championships.

The women have five total times in the top-20 rankings coming from four swimmers, one of which has two each. Sophomore Katrina Konopka has the highest-ranked time at ninth in the 50 free.

Junior Tjasa Oder has the most with two and the second-highest rank. She holds the tenth-fastest time in the 1,000 free and 14th in the 1,650 free.

Freshman Hannah Cox is ranked 15th in the 500 free and freshman Kennedy Lohman is ranked 19th in the 100 breast. 

Freshman Impact

The Arizona freshmen have made a splash this season. All five freshmen swimmers (Hannah Cox, Kirsten Jacobsen, Kennedy Lohman, Mallory Korenwinder, Taylor Nations) have at least one NCAA ‘B’ cut.

Of the women’s 56 total victories this season, freshman have contributed 16 of them. Ten alone have come from Hannah Cox, while Kennedy Lohman and Kirsten Jacobsen have also added to that number with five and one, respectively.

 

 

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