Swimming is usually dominated by the young and mobile, but this weekend UCSB’s aquatic alumni will dust off their suits and fasten their goggles in an attempt to rekindle the racing spirit hibernating inside them.
Beginning at 10 a.m. tomorrow morning, swimming Gauchos and graduates will gather poolside for the annual Alumni and Parents Days. Festivities will range from a tour of the new Athletic Dept. building to a Casino Night at Corwin Pavilion, concluding with an intrasquad meet Sunday morning.
“The weekend really starts Friday with a barbeque in my backyard,” Head Coach Gregg Wilson said. “Alumni Day is basically going to be a lot of fun. Everything will be very involved and very energetic.”
Wilson predicted that this weekend’s events could end up drawing more than 200 people, the largest crowd ever to attend an alumni weekend. In the upcoming season, Wilson will be celebrating his 30th year as head coach for the Gauchos, who began his coaching career for Santa Barbara in August of 1975.
“This year is big for us in terms of alumni. The team captain from my first year [as head coach] will be here and even one guy who swam back in 1967-69,” Wilson said.
UCSB’s alumni will compete in many events, looking to capture bragging rights against old teammates and even current students.
“Normally the alumni cheat to win, but it’s really just for fun,” senior swimmer Stephanie Netzley said.
On Sunday, Netzley and the rest of the Gaucho swim team will begin their plunge into the season, competing against one another at the intrasquad meet.
“The intrasquad meet will give a first glimpse of what the team is like. [The swimmers] put it on the line and it’s a chance to see where they are with each other,” Wilson said. “My goal is for the freshmen and parents to see how significant a group we have here.”
Junior Eric Hansen, who competes in the backstroke and butterfly, said that the meet will be a great way to see how the team competes.
“It’s a good time to get the freshmen introduced to college competition and it’s a good measuring stick for the season,” he said.
The UCSB swimming season pushes off on Oct. 22 against San Diego at the Campus Pool, as the women seek to repeat last year’s victory over the Torros.