Another weekend of mixed results for the UCSB swim team hampered a strong performance by the women’s team.
Two weeks ago, the men’s team left the pool smiling after streaking by Pacific, while the women’s team faltered against the Tigers. This past weekend, the coin landed on the flip side, while the UCSB women notched their first win of the year and the men’s team walked away empty-handed.
The Gauchos traveled by bus to Nevada for a face-off against UNLV on Saturday. The Rebels’ lineup included a number of Olympic swimmers that had returned to the program after taking the 1999-2000 season off to compete in Sydney, Australia, including Jacint Smith and Lorena Diaconescu of the women’s team, and Andrew Livingston of the men’s squad.
While UNLV came into the meet prepared, the UCSB men’s team was already at a disadvantage because three of its top swimmers were out of commission for the weekend’s competition due to illness. Among the Gauchos not present at the meet were senior Ryan Koch and juniors David Madden and Dan Cottam.
Although the men’s team ultimately fell to UNLV with a very one-sided final score of 167-94, Santa Barbara did have a number of highlights in individual performances, including a strong performance by sophomore Matt Wheeler, who won the 200-meter back event and the 200-meter individual medley.
“Three of our guys were out sick,” Wheeler said. “We were pretty tired, but there were some people that had really good swims. Junior Chris May swam really well in the 200-meter breast.”
“[The UNLV men’s team] was really fast,” sophomore Kristal Haesler said. “They had a lot of depth, meaning there was a fast swimmer in every lane.”
On the brighter side of last weekend’s action was the UCSB women’s team, which was able to roll over the Rebels, 131-111. The victory was all the more meaningful as UCSB had suffered a brutal defeat at the hands of UNLV last season. The first half of the meet proved to be a close competition for the Santa Barbara team, but it managed to clinch a victory in the last few events.
“It was a completely different team this year,” Haesler said. “[Head Coach Gregg Wilson] told us at the break how close it was; we were only four points ahead. We got psyched and we knew that we had to step it up and win the last events.”
The meet’s last and most-critical events include the 200 individual medley and the 200-meter free relay. Senior Suzy Bagg, junior sophomore Brenna Wilkinson, junior Karin Finger, and sophomore anchor Danielle Steadman racked up a collective win in the free relay.
“It’s fun to be an anchor,” Steadman said. “It’s a lot of pressure, but I like it better than any other place. That was the first meet we had won in a long time. That felt really good.”