Competing away from home is tough for any team, especially when traveling seven hours away on the road and more than 2,000 feet up in elevation. These factors were apparent during UCSB’s meet in Las Vegas, as both the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams fell in meets against UNLV. The women’s teams also beat Northern Arizona by a score of 182-98 in the same meet.
“[UNLV’s] biggest strength is that they were used to their pool and elevation,” freshman Andrea Ward said. “That was their home pool, and I think our team struggled a lot with the temperature and elevation.”
A long-standing rivalry was renewed when UNLV beat the UCSB men 160.5-99.5, while the UCSB women’s team fell 161-137.
“It was a typically exciting rivalry meet,” Head Coach Gregg Wilson said. “They were geared up for us and they just swam well.”
As has been apparent all season, the UCSB women’s freshman class had a huge impact throughout the weekend meet. Ward took first place in the 1,000-yard freestyle with a time of 10:14.97 and also placed first in the 500-yard freestyle with 5:00.84. Freshman Sophia Yamauchi was also a multiple-event winner, as she finished first in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:02.88 and the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:16.7. Allie Knight was another first-year with more than one first-place finish; she got top times in both the 100- and 200-yard backstroke, as well the 400-yard individual medley.
Juniors Chris Peterson and Kevin Ferguson each had multiple top-three finishes for the men’s team. Peterson finished first in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 20.34, and first again in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 44.44. Ferguson won the 200-yard backstroke in 1:51.20 and finished second in the 100-yard backstroke in 49.81, just .07 seconds behind UNLV’s first-place swimmer.
“It seems like every year they beat us there and we beat them here,” junior Evan Simoni said. “We’re just going to have to try and turn it around into motivation for next year.”
“We’re not happy about [losing],” Wilson said. “But we’re encouraged by some of the performances. We see continuous quality swims out of our top swimmers…what we’ve got to do is get the rest of the lineup [involved].”
UCSB men’s and women’s swimming and diving are at home for their next meet, which comes on Jan. 29 against Pacific. The women’s team also competes against defending Big West Conference champions UC Davis during the same meet.