The UCSB men’s and women’s swimming teams dropped both of their meets this weekend to rival Pacific.
The Gaucho women lost 173-89 while the men suffered a 169-94 defeat. Although the Tigers took this meet, the last word might be up for grabs. Santa Barbara could still face UOP again in the Big West Championship Tournament, scheduled for next month. Hopefully, the Gauchos can use a second opportunity as a chance for redemption.
The UCSB women started the meet out on top, winning the 200-yard medley relay for the first time in two seasons against UOP. Teammates and coaches alike agreed that senior Julia King made the difference, swimming as anchor to the relay.
“It was just touch-out after touch-out,” senior Romina Mosquera said.
Unfortunately, the victory in the 200 medley relay was one of only four first places on the afternoon for the Gauchos.
Santa Barbara had several close races fall to the Tigers as many of the nationally renowned UOP swimmers touched their fingers to the wall only split-seconds before the Gauchos’ middle-lane swimmers.
Sophomore Lindsay Dalonzo swam fantastically for UCSB, winning both the 100 and the 200 backstroke events.
King later swam for her second blue ribbon, nailing the 50 freestyle with a time of 23.99.
“We started out great and then it just started to slip,” Mosquera said.
The UCSB men carried incredible enthusiasm through the meet despite losses to UOP’s top swimmers. Junior Eric Koch placed first in both the 500 freestyle and the 1,000 freestyle, while freshman Pat Ota claimed first in the 100 backstroke.
“Ota exposed some weaknesses in their team,” UCSB Head Assistant Coach Jeremy Kipp said.
The last race was a great example of this team’s morale, as dozens of UCSB swimmers stood behind the starting block cheering on the 200 freestyle relay. The race was close, as the men competed neck-and-neck until the Tigers’ fourth leg of the relay extended a small lead to touch out UCSB in the final stretch.
“The last race was exciting, but I think we could have done better,” Kipp said.
Pacific has notoriously proven to be UCSB’s biggest rival, which makes the loss sting a little more than ordinary meets. Santa Barbara is eyeing something bigger – the Big West Tournament. The Gauchos expect to have a better chance there, where UCSB’s depth will allow the Gauchos to earn more points than in the meet versus Pacific.