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UCSB will compete against a familiar opponent this weekend when the team travels north to San Luis Obispo for a duel meet against Cal Poly. The first meet between these two teams was held at Campus Pool in November when the UCSB men beat the Mustangs 155-141, and the women won with a score of 157-141.
“I issued a challenge to our team on Monday,” Head Coach Gregg Wilson said. “We go to their pool and give them a foreshadowing of what to expect in conference [championships] for the women and the men.”
After the Big West Conference swimming and diving program disbanded last year, the Cal Poly women’s swimming and diving team has now joined UCSB in the MPSF conference. This meet will be an opportunity to compete against a conference opponent before championship meets begin.
“It’s going to give us a sneak peek at MPSF meets,” junior Kendall Neely said. “It’ll give us a good indicator that if we’re swimming fast this weekend, we’ll be swimming fast at conference.”
The Cal Poly men’s team has also left the Big West conference and joined the Pac-10 along with the UCSB men’s swimming and diving team.
“This will decide what we’re up against,” junior Ryan Garcia said. “It gives us a heads-up for what we have to do for training and for our races to compete with Pac-10 teams.”
Cal Poly will host UCSB in its final home meet of the season where it will hold a ceremony recognizing various seniors for their careers as part of the Cal Poly swimming and diving team. One of the seniors being recognized will be Peter Kline, who competes in backstroke and individual medley events for Cal Poly. Kline, a projected All-American who has broken multiple school records during his career for Cal Poly, will be one of the biggest competitors for UCSB this weekend.
“[Kline] was one of the fastest swimmers in the Big West Conference last year,” Garcia said. “Going to their home pool, they’ll probably be swimming really fast. We have to concentrate on winning individual events and relays.”
Cal Poly women have a pair of strong swimmers that will be competing this weekend. Junior Lacey Buck and freshman Sami McIntyre each won two events in the Mustangs’ last meet against UC Davis, and will provide competition for UCSB women in both distance events and on the dive board.
The meet at Cal Poly will not be a traditional meet with 16 events, but instead will be a short lineup of just 13 events. This shorter, faster-paced meet will be a change from meets that the Gauchos have competed in this season.
“It limits us, but it also limits them too,” Wilson said.
The shorter format will provide swimmers with opportunities to race in different events, which will benefit many athletes as the championship meets approach.
“It’ll solidify some of the kids in terms of what they have to do in their events,” Wilson said. “We can put the finishing touches on some of our races before we go into conference.”
UCSB will begin the meet against Cal Poly this Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Anderson Aquatics Center on the Cal Poly campus in San Luis Obispo.