While many UCSB students were relaxing at home, the Gaucho swim teams battled with eleven different schools over the holiday break.

UCSB swam strongly at the December 17-19 UNLV Winter Invitational, with the women’s team capturing first place and the men’s team taking third.

For the women, junior Jen Schwalb led the way by winning seven of the nine events she entered. Schwalb finished with four individual and three relay victories.

Her winning individual events included the 200-meter individual medley (2:03.70), the 100 and 200 butterfly (55.16, 2:01.22) and the 100 breast stroke (1:04.65). Schwalb also finished second in the 500-meter freestyle with a time of 4:57.19.

Due to these efforts Schwalb received Big West Athlete of the Week honors for the second time this season.

Relays proved to be important for the Gauchos, with the women winning the 800 freestyle and 200 medley relays. The team also placed second in the 400-meter medley and freestyle relays.

Freshman Jessica Cruzat contributed greatly to the Gaucho victory by winning three individual events. She took the 100 and 200 backstroke (56.16, 2:00.87) and the 400 IM (4:23.02).

Cruzat also placed second in the 200 IM and was a member of the 200 and 400 medley relays.

Other noteworthy individual performances for the Gauchos included freshman Erin Yamamoto’s second-place finishes in the 100 and 200 butterfly (55.70, 2:03.24) and freshman Katy Freeman’s 100 and 200 butterfly second- place swims (1:04.81, 2:19.24).

On the men’s side, the relays played the most important role for UCSB. The team won three relays, the 200- and 400-meter medley, and the 800-meter freestyle. The Gauchos also finished second in the 200 freestyle relay and third in the 300 freestyle relay.

Senior Pat Ota finished first in the 100 backstroke with a time of 49.16 seconds and second in the 100 butterfly (50.28). Junior Pat Carey also swam strongly in individual events, winning the 200 butterfly (1:48.89) and placing second in the 100 butterfly (48.40).

Freshman Chris Good had a strong showing at the meet by taking first in the 200 backstroke with a time of (1:47.93) and second in both the 200 and 400 IM races (1:53.55, 4:02.98).

After returning home from Las Vegas for the holidays, UCSB traveled to USC on January 7 for some difficult dual meets. Both teams struggled, with the women losing to USC (69-225) and the men being defeated by both USC (65-197) and Texas A&M (128.5-133.5).

For the women, the highest individual finish was Cruzat’s second place in the 200 backstroke (2:03.01. Freshmen Jenisse Demeulenaere and Nadia Dwidar took third and fourth in the 100 freestyle, while Schwalb and Yamamoto finished fourth and fifth in the 100 and 200 butterfly races.

The men’s team finished with a second place swim in the 200 medley relay. Cary was the team’s lone individual-event winner, swimming 1:49.70 in the 200 butterfly. He also placed second in the 100 butterfly.

Senior Garrett Porteous took second place in the 500 freestyle and fourth in the 200 butterfly. Ota also grabbed a second place finish in the 100 backstroke.

Both Gaucho teams will be back in action on January 20 when they travel to UC Davis.