The UCSB men’s swim and dive team will have its hands full this Friday as No. 11 Stanford comes to town looking to continue its dominance in the pool.
The Gaucho men come into the meet with an overall record of 6-1 following a win against Cal Poly last Saturday. The Cardinal come in with a spotless record of 5-0, including a first place finish at the UNLV invitational that took place this past November.
“Stanford is looking at this meet as a warm up for their meet against No. 6 USC,” Head Coach Gregg Wilson said. “However, if everybody is on it then we will be able to put up a strong fight.”
Friday marks the last regular season meet of the year for UCSB. Hoping to send the seniors off with a final victory, the Gauchos will have to be near perfect as they face one of the most formidable swim and dive teams in the country.
One swimmer the Gauchos must be wary of is Stanford’s junior David Nolan. Nolan is a 12-time All-American who holds eight Pac-12 titles and two NCAA titles. Nolan won both the 200 IM and the 100 backstroke in the NCAA championships this past year. In addition, Nolan broke Stanford’s school record for the 200 backstroke and the 200 IM last season with times of 1:39.31 and 1:41.21, respectively.
The senior swimmers will be a huge key for the Gauchos, as they must try to find a way to conjure some late-season magic and come out with a victory. Senior Randy Aakhus has been superb of late and is coming off two individual wins in the 200-yard backstroke (1:49.43) and the 200-yard IM (1:52.03), coupled with a victory in the 200-yard medley relay (1:31.89).
Senior Ryan Hanni is also coming off two individual wins in the Gauchos’ last meet, winning the 50- and 100-yard freestyle with times of 20.55 and 44.84 respectively.
“The seniors were excellent and Ryan Hanni had another stellar performance last week,” Wilson said. “As we head into conference, everybody must step up and be ready to go.”
UCSB will be looking for its young swimmers to step up as well. Sophomore Mickey Mowry has been looking great in the water placing first in five of his last six individual swims. Mowry has performed especially well in the 100 and 200-yard butterfly notching best times of 50.32 and 1:49.76, respectively, in his last meet.
Sophomore breaststroke specialist Andy Castilleja has also proven to be a valuable young asset for the Gauchos. Castilleja took first in the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke events against Cal Poly with times of 57.13 and 1:31.89, respectively.
It will have to be a group effort from the UCSB men’s swim and dive team as it attempts to pull off the upset against No. 11 Stanford this Friday at 2 p.m.
A version of this article appeared on page 7 of Feb. 6th’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Photo by Margarita Baliyan of the Daily Nexus.