In last week’s preseason coaches’ poll, both the UCSB men’s and women’s swim teams were picked to repeat their Big West Championship runs of last season. However, the women’s team fell short last week in a dual meet, losing to UCLA 145-122 and Oregon State 144-118 on Oct. 13.
The women’s loss in the Oct. 13 meet was uncustomary due to the flattering rank they received in the preseason polls, as well as the fact that the Gauchos women defeated Oregon State in last season’s meeting and came within a few points of UCLA.
“Friday was pretty tough,” sophomore Jessica Cruzat said. “We went into it thinking we were going to win, but I don’t think we were ready going into [the meet].”
Despite Friday’s upset, Head Coach Gregg Wilson said there were many factors that played against his team in its first inter-school meet of the season.
“[UCLA] brought the marching band out, and I think it had the effect the opposing coach wanted,” Wilson said. “Our freshmen were psyched out.”
Wilson also stated that the team had very little room to warm up, due to the size of UCLA’s facilities where the meet was held, which he claims is outdated and not the ideal size for three schools to compete in. In addition, the first meet of the season came earlier than it has in the past.
Although UCSB fell short as a team, senior Jen Schwalb won the 200-meter individual medley with a time of 2:05.77 and Cruzat finished first in the 200-meter backstroke with 2:03.94. Cruzat also placed third in the 200 IM, coming in at 2:08.54, and placed second in the 100-meter backstroke and the 100-meter breaststroke, finishing both races in 58.21.
Saturday boded much better for the team at its annual intrasquad meet. According to Wilson, things went well on Saturday.
The meet was the first chance for the freshmen men to engage in collegiate competition, and according to Wilson, he was pleased by the young talent in both the women’s and men’s sides of things.
“[The intrasquad meet] was really exciting, especially for the freshmen, because it was our debut and our first opportunity to get out and race,” freshman Dan McClary said. “I feel we are pretty solid all around. One thing I like about the team is the unity and support.”
Following Monday’s practice at Campus Pool, spirits seemed high as the Gauchos began to train in anticipation of their next meet at University of Hawaii on Oct. 27 and 28. Cruzat explained that the team plans on facing a big challenge against Hawaii, and this time around, the Gauchos know they cannot go into the meet thinking it will be an easy run.