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ASU Swim/Dive: Men beat Wildcats; record-setting swims not enough for women

Sprinters led the charge for the Sun Devil men, while the women’s side set two school records in distance freestyle.

Andrew Palla/House of Sparky

The most recent TYR Top 25 poll ranked the Arizona men at 15 and Arizona State at 17, but that’s likely to change after Saturday’s dual meet in Tucson.

Sophomores Sam Iida and Brooks Fail specialize in breaststroke and distance freestyle, respectively, areas where the Devils have shown little depth thus far this season. Iida swept the 100 and 200 breastroke, while Fail won both the 1000 and 500 freestyle.

At the same time, ASU junior Zach Poti swept both backstroke events; sophomore Evan Carlson and graduate student Gage Kohner combined for a 1-2 in the 50 freestyle, while aptly named sophomore Carter Swift won the 100 freestyle, followed by Carlson.

After Swift’s win in the 100 freestyle, the Wildcats won the following four events with just the 400 freestyle relay remaining. The Devils out touched the Cats by just a half of a second, following a strong anchor leg from sophomore Grant House.

On the women’s side, the tale was much different. Standout junior Hannah Cox led the Wildcats to a victory in the 1000 freestyle, beating ASU sophomore Emma Nordin by a full four seconds. However, Nordin’s second-place finish was one of ten ASU personal bests thrown down in Tucson, the swim also broke a six-year standing school record in the event.

The historic afternoon in the south of Arizona continued in the 500 freestyle, where junior Cierra Runge broke the school record in the 500 freestyle. Earlier in the day, Runge set a season best in the 200 freestyle, winning the event and notching an NCAA Championships B-cut.

Apart from school records, another impressive moment came in the Devils’ 200 breastroke victory. Junior Silja Kansakoski and senior Marlies Ross combined for a 1-2 finish in the event. Sophomore Nora Deleske tied with U of A freshman Francesca Bauer for third.

Saturday’s win creates a four-year unbeaten streak against the Wildcats. The Devils won in 2018 and 2016, while tying with Wildcats in 2017.

Looking forward, the Devils will not see competition until the Pac-12 Championships in Federal Way, Washington starting the week of February 27th.