UCSB swimming and diving will face the toughest competition of the season so far when Cal Poly comes to the campus pool this Saturday. The Mustangs are coming off an impressive tournament win at its own home meet, which included victories over University of San Diego, Loyola Marymount, Concordia University and Pepperdine University.
“Each year Cal Poly has gotten better and better,” Head Coach Gregg Wilson said. “They’ll be tough this year.”
The Gaucho men have had just one official meet this season when UCSD came to Campus Pool last weekend. The Gaucho women have a bit more experience on the year, as they competed against UCLA in October before last weekend’s meet versus UCSD. Both the men and women’s teams were victorious in the meet against UCSD.
For the men to exit the pool with a victory, they will have to utilize a strong group of short-distance sprinters. Of these is sophomore Ryan Hanni, who was first place in the 50-meter freestyle against UCSD. “We have a real strong sprint program,” Hanni said. “We plan on capitalizing on our sprinting abilities against Cal Poly.”
The men’s diving program does not match the experience of Cal Poly divers, and will rely on the success of the swimming events to gain points throughout the meet. “They have some great divers,” Wilson said. “We’re going to have to do some serious damage in shorter freestyle events.” If the UCSB men’s team can succeed in winning its strongest events, there will be a better chance for the Gauchos to compete for a victory. “I think we’re ready,” Hanni said. “We’re prepared, we’re excited and we’re confident that we can [win].”
For the women’s swimming and diving team, meets at UCLA and at home against UCSD were opportunities to witness a strong freshman class for UCSB begin their collegiate careers with success. Sophia Yamauchi is part of this freshman class, and recognizes how the underclassmen help influence the team’s overall success. “I think we’re contributing in a positive way,” Yamauchi said. “When one person is doing well… it makes everyone else want to do well.”
Cal Poly’s swim team has competed in three official meets this season, in addition to unofficial intra-squad and alumni preseason scrimmages, compared to just two meets for the Gauchos. The lack of experience will be tested against the Mustangs, but UCSB is confident in its preparation.
“We’ve been training really well,” Yamauchi said. “Cal Poly is prepared in all aspects but we’re ready to put up a good fight.” The meet against Cal Poly will begin at 12 p.m. on Nov. 13.