After a long preseason of preparation in the pool, the UCSB men’s and women’s swim teams are ready to kick off its season this October. The men’s team will start the season tomorrow when it welcomes the visiting USC Trojans to Campus Pool.
“This will be a great challenge for us.” Head Coach Gregg Wilson said. “This is easily the toughest team we will face in a head to head match this season.”
The Gauchos will head into this meet seeking revenge on a Trojan team that spoiled their season-opener last year in a tight race. USC was one of the only teams to defeat Santa Barbara in a head to head meet last season.
Friday will be the first NCAA competition for the 11 freshmen that come into the men’s team and they will be looking to make a splash as College Swimming has ranked them as the No. 22 recruiting class in the nation.
“Our team this year is the best team that we’ve had starting out in many years. These freshman are very dedicated and motivated to make a mark on this team,” Coach Wilson said.
The bulk of this young group of freshman consists of swimmers from the California area, whom just recently competed in the California State High School Championships this past spring. Freestyler Bobby Guerra heads this talented list having taken first place in the 500 meter Freestyle.
Eric Van-Brocklin, Calvin Kirkpatrick, and Mason Tittle all come into UCSB as teammates from Northgate HS in Walnut Creek, Ca. Competing together, they took home gold in the 4×100 meter freestyle at State.
Outside of California, the Gauchos will welcome the reigning Washington Swimmer of the Year in Kasey Calwell, another freestyler looking to make his mark on the team.
These young athletes will join an already talented team of veterans that are hungry to get back to the MPSF Championships. They ended last season just points shy of taking the title over BYU, despite not having a single diver to help boost their point total.
Junior Dylan Kubik will be one of many Gaucho returners looking to take his team back to postseason after boasting a fantastic finals performance at last season’s championships. This versatile swimmer aims to strengthen both the IM and Freestyle category for the Gauchos. Along with Kubik, sophomore Billy Mullis will be returning form an excellent season in which he was named MPSF Freshman of the year.
The most exciting story of this upcoming season is that Head Coach Gregg Wilson will be heading into his 40th straight season as the UCSB Swimming Coach, making him the most tenured coach at Santa Barbara.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time here and ultimately my goal is to set the program up for the years to come”, Coach Wilson explained. “We have a fantastic coaching staff and I know we will get the job done.”
Tomorrow’s match will start at 1 pm at Campus Pool.
A version of this article appeared on page 8 of October 1, 2015’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.