As the saying goes, there’s no place like home. The Gaucho men’s and women’s swim teams return to UCSB for the first time in three months when they take on rival University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) (men 6-1 overall, women 5-3) this Saturday.
The dual meet closes out the Gauchos’ regular season schedule and is the final home meet of the year.
“I think it’s going to be a real good weekend and it’s going to transition right into the Big West Championships nicely,” Head Coach Gregg Wilson said.
The Gauchos (men 4-6 overall, women 4-5) will use the meet to prepare for the upcoming conference championships, which will be held in Long Beach on Feb. 15 to Feb. 18, as well as the NCAA Championships.
UCSB also celebrates senior day on Saturday with a mid-meet ceremony, something that may play a factor in the meet.
“There are five senior men total and four senior women and they pretty much direct the energy – and it flows. I mean, when it’s on, it’s on,” Wilson said.
The Gauchos will graduate all four captains – seniors TK Erwin, Garrett Porteous, Shannon Avison and Jennifer Cook. Other seniors include Allison Eller, Danielle Taylor, Robbie Dame, Grant Hurst and Pat Ota.
“With the senior swimmers leading the way, UCSB will look to use the excitement as fuel for the races,” Wilson said. “There will be a lot of energy and it’ll be pretty fired up.”
Last weekend, the Gaucho men defeated both Pacific and Davis, while the women lost both dual meets.
“Last weekend, the men really picked it up, but I think it was kind of a wake-up call for the ladies,” Wilson said.
The women’s team will try to turn the momentum around with quick swims against the Rebels, while the men’s team hopes to continue its winning ways.
“The UNLV men’s team is a lot better than their women, so our men will have a harder time against them,” Wilson said. “The women just need to get back into it and they can do it – they have done it several times in the fall.”
While the Gauchos look to perfect themselves heading into the postseason, Saturday’s dual meet should offer some entertaining and competitive racing.
“This weekend is going to turn some heads because we’ve got a long-time rivalry going on, and it should be pretty fun because Las Vegas is very well coached,” Wilson said.
The Gaucho men will face Cal at home on Saturday, Feb. 4, in a non-scoring meet before both squads travel to the Big West Conference Championships.