The UCSB swim team hosts top-ranked USC at Campus Pool on Saturday with only three words of advice for the tough Trojan squad.
“Bring an umbrella,” Head Coach Gregg Wilson said.
With showers predicted for Saturday, swimmers and spectators alike will have to endure what seems to be a never-ending pattern of Santa Barbara rainstorms. Despite the prospect of inclement weather and a tough opponent, the Gauchos remain optimistic and confident.
“I feel very good about this meet,” Wilson said. “We’ve been seeing a lot of excellent things in practice so far.”
Wilson had the Gauchos return from break three days early this year, returning to training Dec. 30 instead of the customary Jan. 2 return date, in preparation for this weekend’s meet.
“Historically we have competed very well against USC in our home pool,” Wilson said. “But we’re not fooling ourselves. They’re not only deep in talent, but they’ve got some of the best in the country as well.”
By some of the best in the country he means five Trojan swimmers who recently competed in the Olympic Games in Athens.
“But it’s not like we’re without our own weapons,” Wilson said. “[Sophomore] Jennifer Schwalb is probably our best all-around competitor. [Senior] Lindsay Dalonzo and [junior] Danielle Taylor have been having some very good races lately. On the men’s side, probably the biggest splash we’ve had is [sophomore] Pat Cary. We’ve got a lot of guys who are pretty strong who need to step up against a strong opponent.”
Cary recently broke the oldest UCSB swimming record when he beat Paul Goodridge’s 100-meter butterfly record. He set a new record of 48.83 seconds at the Las Vegas Invitational held Dec. 18-20.
Gauchos will also welcome to the pool local Tyler Wilson, whose father was a Gaucho swimmer back in the ’80s when he too swam for Gregg Wilson. Also entering Campus Pool for his first collegiate competition is promising freshman Ben Malcolm.
“[Malcolm’s] been out of the pool with a cast on his broken wrist,” Wilson said. “He’s got the cast off and he’ll be swimming this weekend; we’re pretty excited about that.
The meet was rescheduled to 11 a.m. from its original time of 1 p.m., and is the first of four meets in which the Gauchos will compete this January.