With both their seasons in the books, the men and women’s UCSB swim and dive teams look to next year. At least fourteen new freshmen and transfers promise to provide the team with a bright future.
This past season, the Gaucho women were able to finish with a final dual meet record of 8-2 and placed second in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championships. The UCSB men’s swim and dive team ended the season with a final dual meet record of 6-2 before finishing seventh in the Pac-12 championships.
Following the most productive fall recruiting in recent years, the Gauchos have continued to acquire talent and improve upon last season’s weaknesses. For the women, the distance freestyle has been bolstered, a couple of strong backstroke swimmers have been secured and two new breaststroke specialists are set to come in.
“We got commitments from nine women and five men this Fall, which is a huge improvement over two years ago when we got only one woman and no men,” Head Coach Gregg Wilson said. “Our freshmen on both the men’s and women’s team did a fantastic job of recruiting.”
The women have also addressed a major weakness in securing one of the top sprint freestyle swimmers from Golden West Community College. Sophomore Lauren Vosseler has committed to UCSB and plans to be a tough anchor in next season’s relay swims.
“Vosseler is one of the best sprinters in the state of California when you look at community colleges,” Wilson said. “Even though she is coming in as a junior, she has a great shot to break the school’s 100-yard freestyle record and I really wouldn’t put anything past her.”
However, as is the nature of college athletics, with gain comes immeasurable loss. The Gaucho women lose one of the best senior classes they have had in recent years.
The toughest element to replace will be senior Andrea Ward who currently holds the fourth-fastest butterfly time in the country and was named MPSF Turbo Athlete of the Week an astounding four times last season.
There will fall a heavy burden on the women’s side to replace five athletes who scored roughly half of the Gauchos’ total points last season. The incoming females must be ready to step up immediately in order to stay competitive in a tough MPSF conference.
“We are very excited to see how the women’s recruits perform, mainly because we need them to step up right away,” Wilson said. “The women must add productivity very quickly and I hope they are up for the task.”
On the men’s side, the eight or so new faces will have a little more time to settle in and get comfortable in the world of collegiate competition. The men have acquired a wide variety of swimmers, which will add strength to their roster across the board.
Some sprinters along with some butterfly swimmers have been included, along with a couple of backstroke specialists. Three of the men will be able to swim individual medley races and a late addition from Southern California will add strength to the distance freestyle swims.
The Gaucho men will miss their seniors, but luckily they will still retain a strong core with returning juniors Wade Allen and Andrew Barmann and returning sophomore Mickey Mowry.
“I am very pleased with who is coming in,” Wilson said. “After 38 years, I am still pumped to coach the new kids and look forward to an excellent season.”
A version of this article appeared on page 9 of May 14, 2014′s print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Photo courtesy of UCSB Athletics.