(Photo: ASU Athletics)
ASU swimming returns to the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center this weekend for its home-opening meets against Washington State and UNLV.
The Arizona State men’s and women’s swim team is off to a strong start in its first season under new head coach Bob Bowman. Three weeks ago, both teams traveled separately to take on their first opponents of the season. The women traveled to Corvallis, Oregon to face Oregon State, while the men traveled to Stockton, California to take on the University of the Pacific.
Both teams were triumphant in their meets. The women put together a promising start by winning six of 11 events, which included a 100 yard freestyle victory where ASU took first, second and third place. Junior Alysha Bush won with a time of 50.82, while freshman Krista Kolkebeck and sophomore Raquel Grays followed with times just under 53 seconds.
“It is a big confidence booster for the women’s team,” Bush said. “It is always good to go out with a bang, and that is what we needed.”
The men also put together a strong start. The Sun Devils won four out of the first five events, and junior Barkley Perry won the 200 yard backstroke by over a second, with a time of 1:49.58.
“We started off on a positive note, everybody swam really well,” Perry said. “We are just going to build off that every day in practice and hopefully go to the next level.”
The swim team looks to continue its strong start in the Bowman era as it hosts UNLV and Washington State this weekend.
“I am looking for energy from our team. I think our training is going to speak for itself,” Bush said. “We are working so hard in practice, so this weekend we can show what we have been doing different compared to last year.”
The Washington State Cougars come to town Thursday night, and UNLV will dive in Saturday morning to face ASU.
“I am focused on in-season best times,” Perry said. “That is what we try to do every meet, along with focusing on the details of every race.”
This season marks the first for Bowman at Arizona State. As the season begins to progress, the team is beginning to feel the impact to be swimming for a coach with years of Olympic coaching experience.
“I was a little nervous coming into the season, but is has been fun,” Perry said. “I thought since he coached Michael Phelps, practices were going to be really hard, but he focuses our time on what we need.”
Thursday marks the first college home meet for Bowman since he coached the University of Michigan back in 2008.