Returning to the pool for the first time in three weeks, the UCSB swim and dive team hosts its first home meets at Campus Pool this season against UC San Diego today and Cal Poly on Saturday.
“It’ll be great if we can beat both of them; it’s always hard having a double, having a meet on Friday and having a meet on Saturday, but our team is definitely capable of beating both of them,” senior butterfly/freestyle swimmer Emma Hunt said. “In the past, our women’s team and our men’s team always defeat Cal poly and UC San Diego, so I think it’s definitely doable and it’ll be a great way to start our season with two wins like that.”
In its first meets of the season, held at UCLA’s Spieker Aquatics Center, the men’s team fell short of defeating Utah in its only meet of the day, losing 161-138. Despite setting the tone early in the meet by taking the first two slots in the 200-yard medley relay, the Gauchos could not hold on to their early momentum and lost a very close duel.
“We had a tough loss a couple weekends ago against Utah; we won a lot of events up front and couldn’t quite hold on to it,” senior sprint freestyle/breaststroke swimmer Andrew Latimer said. “This weekend, we are looking forward to racing some good teams, but definitely getting a couple wins under our belt to start off the season.”
Meanwhile, the women competed in a quad meet against Utah, Oregon State and UCLA in their first meet of the season. Despite losing out to the Bruins 185-110, the Gauchos still defeated its remaining Pac-12 opponents, OSU 195-98 and Utah 183-115.
Although the women are favored against UC San Diego, a Division II squad, the men will have to take serious advantage of its sprint events to balance its lack of depth in the diving competitions, as the Gauchos will only have one diver competing in the events since most will be in Los Angeles for the USC Diving Invitational.
“[UC San Diego has] very, very good men divers; most of our divers will be at invitationals, so we’re only keeping one guy back, but they’ll probably go one, two, three on us,” Wilson said. “They’re very well coached so we won’t take them lightly; they have a very improved team this year.”
As the men face a difficult task on Friday, the women will face the same challenge on Saturday against Cal Poly. With 11 freshmen in the women’s team this season, the Gauchos enter the meet with a lot of youth on their side and will rely on veteran leadership in breaststroke and butterfly events to offset Cal Poly’s strength in backstroke and distance competitions.
“On Friday, the men will get a challenge and on Saturday the women will be challenged,” Wilson said. “Our expectations are to win both [meets], both the men and women, and I think we can do it. Our team has to be healthy and be ready to get up and go.”
Today’s meet against UCSD is scheduled for 11 a.m., beginning with the diving portion and followed by the swimming events at noon. Saturday’s match against Cal Poly is set to begin at noon at Campus Pool.