Eight times have garnered NCAA ‘B’ cut considerations for the UCSB women’s swim and dive team after their performances at the MPSF Swimming and Diving Championships last weekend. Five women will wait to hear if they will compete in nationals, as the rest of the nation finished their conference championships.
Meanwhile, the men’s side began competition in their conference championships yesterday in Federal Way, Washington. The Pac-12 Diving Championships began yesterday and continue through Mar. 2, with swimming championships beginning immediately after on the 3rd.
“Of course we want to finish on a high note,” Head Coach Gregg Wilson said. “The men were very inspired by the women last weekend, and they want to go out and compete just as hard.”
The women performed well last weekend, but ended up in fourth place after finishing in second place last year. UC Davis took first place in last weekend’s competition.
“We’re all very proud of the way they swam, and the girls supported each other with enthusiasm beyond compare,” Wilson said. “The conference is just a lot deeper and a lot faster than it was last year, and [Davis, Hawaii, BYU] just beat us out.”
Junior Sophia Yamauchi (with three events), sophomore Carissa Metcalf (with two events), junior Andrea Ward, senior Paige Bradley and sophomore Heren Alanis all posted times worthy of consideration for NCAA competition. Their qualification status will depend on the times of other ‘B’ cut qualifiers around the country.
Yamauchi in particular was notably dominant, picking up two individual wins in the 200 IM and 200 breaststroke, as well as contributing to two team wins in the 200 and 400 medley relays. After the meet, she was named MPSF Swimmer of the Year, keeping the title at UCSB after Ward won the honor last season.
UCSB’s men’s team hopes to emulate some of the women’s success headed into the toughest conference championships in the nation.
“We have to compete against four of the top five teams in the entire nation [Cal, Stanford, Arizona and USC] this weekend, and that’s just our conference,” Wilson said. “We can edge out Arizona State, Utah and Cal Poly, so I think fifth place is a realistic goal.”
Senior Tim Freeman is the Gauchos’ highest ranked swimmer with his performance in the 100 breaststroke. Another senior, Andrew Latimer, also looks to have a successful weekend, as Wilson says he is in the best condition of his career.
“Our whole team has worked and worked and worked all year long, and now they’re rested and ready to go,” Wilson said. “Our guys shaved their traditional pre-meet beards and are focused enough to end the season on a high note.”
A version of this article appeared on page 4 of March 1st, 2013′s print edition of the Nexus.