The UCSB men’s and women’s swimming teams faced stiff competition in three meets over the past weekend. Against Wyoming, the men won 127-67 but lost to Notre Dame 104-101 on Friday. On Saturday, the men lost again to Pac-10 team USC 175-87. The women defeated Wyoming 114-88 but fell to USC 171-90.

“The men missed an opportunity of beating a high profile team, Notre Dame,” UCSB Head Coach Gregg Wilson said. “We lost the first relay, but battled back and were up by 21 points after seven events. In the last four events, we let it slip. It’s unfortunate,”

Young team members were the highlights of all the meets for both the men and women. For the men, freshman Patrick Cary won the 200-meter butterfly in all three meets, despite a lack of training over winter break due to illness. Senior Shaun Crossman finished a close second against Wyoming and Notre Dame.

“[Cary’s] times were not spectacular, but he was aggressive in the races,” Wilson said. “He didn’t let anyone get on him.”

Sophomore Garrett Porteous won the 200-meter freestyle against Notre Dame and came in third place in the 500-meter freestyle. Against Wyoming, Porteous won the 500 freestyle and clocked in a second place finish in the 200 freestyle. Fellow sophomore David Deloria captured first in the 200-meter IM against both teams.

“[Against Notre Dame], we should have come out stronger like we did in the end. We were too lackadaisical in the beginning,” Cary said. UCSB lost by only three points.

On Saturday, UCSB gave its best shot against USC. Cary commented that USC is a powerful team and although the Gauchos swam well, they just could not match up.

“USC is a strong Pac-10 team with good swimmers. We did all we could, but they were just stronger,” Cary said.

One aspect of the race, however, was changed, throwing off UCSB swimmers. The meet was swum in short-course meters as opposed to yards. This made the course longer and caused the times to be off.

“I told the kids, ‘Don’t worry about the times. Just go out there and race,'” Wilson said.

For the women, double event winner freshman Jennifer Schwalb defeated the Wyoming competition in both the 200 freestyle and the 200-meter backstroke. Junior Jennifer Lyes swam well, taking first in the 50-meter freestyle. Senior Stephanie Netzley also won her two events, the 200 butterfly and the 500 freestyle. UCSB took the top three spots in the 1000-meter freestyle lead by senior team captain Colleen Barnett.

Despite a solid swim and strong win Friday, the Gaucho women lost to USC. The women were also affected by the course change to meters. Among the highlights is junior freestyle and backstroke swimmer Jennifer Lyes, who won the 50 freestyle.

Both the men’s and women’s teams have strong freshmen who have leveled the playing field against other opponents for UCSB. This year the team has had to rely on the freshmen who have stepped up to the challenge.

“They gave us a work environment that was excellent,” Wilson said. “They came ready and able to work hard. Now everyone, including the sophomores, juniors and seniors, have to earn their spot. The freshmen have leveled the playing field.”

The women look forward to competing at home against University of San Diego next Saturday. Wilson believes the USD meet is a good matchup and hopes to have UCSB Olympic trial qualifier freshman Jennifer Schwalb go head-to-head against USD’s freshman All-American Shala VanGerpen. Both teams continue to train for the men’s and women’s final home meet against rival University of Nevada, Las Vegas, on Jan. 24.