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Taking Stock: How Arizona swimming is looking under coach Augie Busch

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The offseason is here, with all of Arizona’s sports done for 2021-22 and the 2022-23 campaigns still a little ways away.

Which makes this a great time to step back and see how all of the Wildcats’ programs are doing.

Over the next few weeks we’ll take a look at each of the UA’s 19 men’s and women’s programs to see what shape they’re in and what prospects they have for the near future. We’ll break down each team and evaluate how it is performing under its current coaching staff, looking at the state of the program before he/she arrived and comparing it to now while also looking at this season and beyond.

Next up: Augie Busch’s swimming and diving team.

How it looked before

Swim and dive has been one of top programs in UA history, with a to of individual and relay titles at both the conference and NCAA level. The men’s and women’s squads both won the national championship in 2008.

But since Frank Busch moved on in 2011 the results have dipped. The hope was that his son, Augie, would help bring back that old fire when he was hired in July 2017. He had been an assistant with the UA from 2003-11, then was the Houston women’s coach for two seasons and followed that with four seasons in charge of both men’s and women’s teams at Virginia, where he twice led the Cavalier women to a fifth-place finish at the NCAA meet.

Where things stand now

The 2021-22 season saw both UA squads finish fifth at the Pac-12 meet, while at the NCAA championships the Arizona men scored 79 points to land 17th overall and the women got 19th place with 52.5 points.

Delaney Schnell won both Pac-12 diving titles for the second season in a row, completing a whirlwind year that included her claiming a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics. Her efforts helped UA diving coach Dwight Dumais earned Pac-12 Diving Coach of the Year honors.

The top men’s swimmer was Brooks Fail, who earned All-America status in three events. Like Schnell, he was a senior.

One big question

Can this program get back to an elite level? Like many Olympic sports at the college level, the number of scholarships available is miniscule. Men’s squads get just 9.9 scholarships to divvy up among more than 30 swimmers and divers, while the women’s team gets 14.

That makes it hard to attract top talent if you can’t guarantee their education is paid for, yet Arizona has done it in the past.

Per SwimCloud.com, the top incoming recruit for the women’s team is Julia Wozniak, who is ranked No. 118 overall and is considered the 4th-best swimmer from Texas. On the men’s side it’s Hayden Ghufran, who is ranked No. 142 overall and No. 12 from California.