Jen Schwalb swam into the national spotlight when she competed at the Division I NCAA Swimming Championship in West Lafayette, Ind. at Purdue University.
Schwalb competed in three events during the meet held March 17-19: the 200 individual medley, the 100 butterfly and the 200 butterfly. She placed 48th, 37th and 19th respectively, with respective times of 2:03.67, 55.47 and 2:00.12, just .51 seconds away from advancing in the 200 fly.
“This meet is so fast that you have to give your best times in the morning if you want to make it back in the afternoon,” Schwalb said. “I’m happy with how I did. I knew it would be hard to do as well as I did in [the conference championship].”
During the Big West Championship held in late February, Schwalb broke her own school record when she set the new one at 53.91 in the 100 butterfly. The time was good enough for second in the Big West and would have advanced her to the consolation finals had she matched it in the NCAA Championship.
“The difference between the Big West Championship and the National Championship is that you don’t have to swim as fast in conference to make it back in the afternoon,” Schwalb said. “If I make it back next year I know what to expect and how to race in the morning [preliminaries].”
Schwalb, who holds the school records in her three signature events, swam one event each day of the three-day championship.
“It was a lot less events than I swam in conference,” Schwalb said, “so I could focus on one event each day.”
UCSB Head Coach Gregg Wilson is excited about Schwalb, who is just a sophomore, and her future at Santa Barbara.
“She is just going to get bigger and better and faster,” Wilson said.
Although she was unable to advance to the finals, Schwalb did not leave Indiana without gaining something.
“It was a learning experience,” Schwalb said. “I learned a lot from competing at that level.”