Looking to cap off a strong season, the UCSB women’s swim and dive team heads to East Los Angeles to compete in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championships. Action starts today and continues through Saturday.
The UCSB women enter these championships with a final dual meet record of 8-2. With another impressive season in the books, the Gauchos look to improve upon last year’s fourth-place finish in this competition.
“We are just as enthusiastic and optimistic as we should be right now,” Head Coach Gregg Wilson said. “We will look for some kids to step up and exceed their expectations.”
Juniors Katie Records and Heren Alanis have been exceeding expectations all season. Records’ top times of 1:01.70 in the 100-yard breaststroke and 2:13.52 in the 200-yard breaststroke have earned her a second seed in these events. She has also notched the third seed in the 200IM with a top time of 2:03.47. Alanis is seeded first in both the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:47.78 and the 400IM with a time of 4:18.07.
Senior Andrea Ward looks to simply continue living up to expectations, as she has been utterly dominant in the pool this season. Ward was recently named MPSF/Turbo athlete of the week for an astounding fourth time and is currently the only NCAA automatic qualifier competing in the MPSF championships.
“We are a completely different group than we were last year,” Ward said. “I think that our team chemistry is worlds ahead of where it was and we are going to be a force to be reckoned with.”
Senior co-captains Allie Knight and Sophia Yamauchi will also look to continue their stellar swimming. Knight is coming off of two individual victories in both the 100- and 200-yard backstroke events with times of 56.76 and 2:03.08, respectively, in her last meet against Cal Poly. Knight is currently seeded in the top eight for the 100- and 200-yard backstroke, 200IM and the 400IM.
Yamauchi comes in ranked first in the 200IM with a time of 2:01.70 and is ranked in the top eight for the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke, 200-yard backstroke and the 100-yard freestyle. Yamauchi, with the help of Ward and Knight, has also helped to contribute to 200- and 400-yard medley relay records for these championships, coming in at times of 1:39.63 and 3:38.88, respectively.
“I think this competition is special,” Yamauchi said. “There is a spark that produces lots of energy.”
With relay swims earning teams twice as many points as individual swims, there will be added emphasis on producing top finishes in these events. UCSB is currently ranked second in both the 200- and 400-yard medley relay behind rival UC Davis and third in the 800-freestyle relay behind BYU and Hawaii. The Gauchos must improve upon their 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays where they rank sixth out of eight teams.
UCSB diving will also be on display and will provide much needed points for Gauchos. The UCSB women divers must be near perfect as both BYU and Hawaii possess multiple divers who rank in the top five for the best diving scores of the year.
Action is set to begin shortly after 6 p.m. today and will conclude with the championship trophy presentation at 9:15 p.m. on Saturday.
A version of this article appeared on page 9 of Feb. 19th’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Photo courtesy of ucsbgauchos.com