The UCSB women’s swimming team started off its season with a splash. The Gauchos faced Northridge on Friday and showed them that UCSB swimming is the team of the future in the Big West, winning 104-94.

2003-04 looks very promising for Santa Barbara, who is ranked second in the Big West preseason polls. With 11 freshmen on the team, and such a high preseason ranking, the Gauchos look like they are the squad to contend with for years to come. Led by UCSB Head Coach Gregg Wilson, the Gauchos feel that they can compete with anyone in the nation.

” We are looking extremely strong and I have heard from many upperclassmen that we are training harder than ever before,” freshman swimmer Gina Sulprizio said. “The freshmen are highly competitive with the seniors, and sometimes faster, which will prove that we are extremely talented.”

After the match against Northridge, the Gauchos looked to the leader boards and realized that they placed seven first place finishes in the 11 events.

“Going into the meet unrested and extremely tired, we still came through when we were needed,” Sulprizio said. “This win against Northridge was expected after the training we have gone through during preseason.”

Senior Stephanie Netzley won a pair of races (200 IM, 500 Free), while sophomore Allison Eller (1000 Free), junior Lindsay Dalonzo (50 Free), freshman Alissa Hollowell (200 Fly) and freshman Amy Belisle (200 Breast) all took first place in their events.

“Our main rival for the Big West Championship is the University of the Pacific, but since we seem extremely fast and competitive now, they will be a great match-up for us,” Sulprizio said. “Our preseason rank of second will force the team to try even harder to beat Pacific and win the title.”

The swimming team looks to take home the Big West Championship, while one swimmer looks to bring home a gold medal.

Freshman Jen Schwalb will compete in the Olympic trials for the breaststroke, which makes her not only a top competitor for the Big West, but also for the United States.

The Santa Barbara women’s swimming team now has a long break. The Gauchos don’t hit the water until Dec.18, where they will show the rest of the country their skills at the UNLV Winter Invitational.