The UCSB men’s and women’s swim teams will pack their bags and hit the road this weekend, heading to Northern California to take on both Davis and Pacific.
On Friday, the Gauchos will face Davis (men 5-2, women 7-6 in dual meets) in an abbreviated dual meet before challenging the Tigers on Saturday (men 1-4, women 1-3 in dual meets).
UCSB Head Coach Gregg Wilson expects this weekend to test the strong Gaucho squads.
“They’re two very good schools, each having a very good men’s and women’s team,” Wilson said. “This is going to be quite a challenge for us.”
Coming off tough losses at USC, the Gauchos (men 2-5, women 4-4 in dual meets) will attempt to gain some momentum heading into the final weeks of the regular season.
This weekend’s two meets will be formatted differently.
“We’ll swim a short 13-event meet against Davis and a longer slate of events against Pacific,” Wilson said.
The length of the meet at Davis may play a big factor in the outcome for the Gauchos.
“The biggest challenge is going to be when we swim against Davis,” Wilson said. “When we walk onto the pool deck, we’ll already be 32 points behind because they have diving and we don’t.”
In the Big West Conference, only three schools have diving teams, meaning that they begin every meet winning all the points in the diving events. As one of the three other teams in the conference without a diving program, UCSB will have to make up for this disadvantage.
“One of the ways we can overcome those points is by winning both relays, especially if we take first and second in the relays,” Wilson said. “We have to hope that our second relay is better than their first relay,”
After the shorter meet at Davis, the Gauchos will travel to Pacific on Saturday to face the Tigers. Wilson believes this will not be an easy meet for Santa Barbara either.
“UOP men and women have some really outstanding swimmers; they’ve got the two Swimmers of the Year last year, both were freshmen last season,” Wilson said. “They just don’t have the depth that we do.”
The Gauchos are not without their own outstanding swimmers. Last week, both freshman Erin Yamamoto and senior Garrett Porteous were honored as Big West Swimmers of the Week for their performances at USC.
UCSB also expects to send several swimmers to the NCAA Championships – including juniors Pat Cary and Jen Schwalb.
“We’re in really good shape and we’re at a point in the season that we’re working on speed, getting faster,” Wilson said.
This weekend’s double-header will show just how fast the Gauchos have.
UCSB will return home to face UNLV on Saturday, Jan. 28, at Campus Pool.