With the Big West Championships approaching, the UCSB men’s swim team showed the rest of the conference why it once again has to be considered the favorite.

The Gauchos defeated Irvine 151-105 Saturday at Campus Pool behind strong individual performances from sophomores Brent Nolan and Pat Cary.

Nolan took first place in the 1,000-yard free with a time of 9:29.22 and then showed his versatility by winning the 200 individual medley in 1:56.10.

“We had to start the meet off right, so I knew that I had to take the 1,000 out fast and hold it the whole way,” Nolan said. “The 200 IM was all pride. I just wanted to win.”

Cary won both butterfly events, taking the 100 and 200 with times of 49.94 and 1:49.15, respectively. Grant Hurst took first place in the 100 free (46.33) and led a UCSB sweep of the top three spots in the 200 free. The junior won the race with a time of 1:41.75, and was followed by junior Robbie Dame (1:42.18) and sophomore Myles Peck (1:42.69).

“Pat Cary is really tough. He just doesn’t like to lose. And Grant Hurst is just steady. He’s somebody you can count on,” Head Coach Gregg Wilson said.

The defending Big West champion Gauchos showed off their depth throughout the meet. UCSB took the top three spots in the 200 individual medley, with Nolan being closely followed by sophomore Dan Leelachat and senior Derek Ogata. Leelachat also won the 200 breast (2:07.66), and Ogata celebrated Senior Day by winning the 100 breast (57.81).

The team now heads to the Big West Championships, held Feb. 23-26 in Long Beach.