By Katie Sowell
Staff Writer

Traveling by bus and plane, the Gaucho swim teams will attempt to keep their hot streak on the move this weekend. In the upcoming meets, the men’s and women’s teams will try to expand on an already impressive season.

The Gaucho women (3-2 overall) face Northridge (2-6 overall) on Friday at 1 p.m. The men’s team (1-1 overall) will send half of its squad to take on the Matadors (2-1 overall) as well. The other half, made up of the top 15 swimmers, will head to Tucson, Ariz., on Saturday to challenge University of Arizona (1-0).

The UCSB women don’t appear worried about the dual meet against Northridge.

“Northridge isn’t one of our bigger meets,” senior captain Jennifer Cook said. “A lot of people are swimming off events – their second and third events.” The Gaucho women, coming off a solid victory against UC San Diego, are looking to use this weekend’s meet against the Matadors to their advantage.

“We’re using this meet as a stepping stone for bigger meets. We’re going to Texas in two weeks and we have a big meet in Vegas coming up,” Cook said. “So this gives us another opportunity to race and swim fast.”

The UCSB men’s team is also looking to challenge themselves with another difficult weekend.

“I’ve challenged our team in a lot of different ways,” Head Coach Gregg Wilson said. “And now we’re dividing the team and seeing how each half competes and how they get themselves ready to do that.”

Saturday’s meet against the University of Arizona will be a challenge for the Gaucho men’s squad. The Wildcats are currently one of the top five teams in the country. The Gaucho swimmers are eager to prove themselves against the powerhouse.

“They’re very excited,” Wilson said. “They view this as just another step in them being recognized as a viable entity in collegiate swimming.”

After easily defeating UCSD in early November, the Gauchos will try to grab a few more wins and some quick times this weekend.

“They’re so focused and so in tune to what they want to do and need to do,” Wilson said.

As for Friday’s meet against Northridge, the Gauchos will swim even in the absence of their top 15 swimmers. Although the Matadors are not having a winning season, the remaining swimmers on the UCSB men’s team are not underestimating their opponent.

“We have to win both the relays and the majority of events,” Wilson said. “These guys have to be ready for it. If they’re not ready, it’s going to be a long bus ride home.”

Both the Gaucho men’s and women’s teams will strive for fast times and victories in this weekend’s meets.

“We’re focused on winning the events and winning the meets,” Cook explained. “We just want to go out there and swim fast.”

Earlier this week, both the men’s and women’s squads were selected as favorites to win the Big West, as voted on by coaches in the conference. After this weekend, the Gauchos will travel to the Texas Invitational in Austin from Dec. 1 to 3.