UCSB swimming suffered two losses this past weekend when it traveled to the University of Hawaii. Both the men’s and women’s teams attempted to overcome the absence of a diving team, forcing them to go down early in two meets against the Rainbow Warriors.
The men’s team lost in Friday’s meet 108.5-114.5, falling short by just one event. On Saturday, it suffered a 120-160 loss after starting off with an 18-point deficit from the diving events. Although the women’s team had four individual victories, it also fell short on the first day of competition 109-124. On the second day, the women were tied with Hawaii during the final three events, only to lose 143-148 after losing the 200 freestyle relay by just a tenth of a second.
“[Saturday] we started out with a 32-point deficit,” sophomore Liz Wagner said. “Without diving, it would have been a lot different; it definitely hurts us.”
UCSB swimming Head Coach Gregg Wilson said that Santa Barbara’s diving program was cut 13 years ago when the State of California had to scratch several programs out of the budget. Men’s water polo was one of the other programs dropped by UCSB, but diving remains the only sport among those cut that has not yet been reinstated.
“Each day, diving proved to be the difference, and they have some of the best divers in the country,” Wilson said. “Diving is a big part of the program, and for some reason, UCSB has decided not to go with diving.”
Wagner – whose 51:8 time in her leg of the 400 free relay, helped lead her to a victory in both days’ events – has suffered a strange rib injury that she attributes to the return from Hawaii.
“[Wagner] was fine when we dropped her off at midnight, but she said she started feeling pain during her 10:00 class,” Wilson said. “With her out, it really hurts us.”
Wilson also said that, despite the Gauchos’ lack of a diving team, his swimmers came out and competed both days and the meets were very close. Friday and Saturday were separately scored competitions. On the Saturday, the women’s team was tied during the last three events, only to be out-touched in the final relay and event of the day.
“We had some outstanding swims, and our freshmen stepped up and did really well,” Wilson said. “Scott Vogelgesang is one of them who is showing great promise and potential. He’s really started out with a bang.”
Vogelgesang placed first in the 100 free with a time of 45.70 and second in the 200 free on the first day of competition, but stepped it up to win the 200 free with a time of 1:40.76 on the second day.
Wilson also stated that many of his swimmers on both teams competed well and had personal bests on the weekend. Among those mentioned were sophomore Chris Good, who Wilson said swam well in just about every event and junior co-captain Brooks Felton who established himself as one of the best swimmers on the team in the distance freestyle. Felton won the 1650 and took second in the 500 free in the first meet. Good had three individual wins in the second day of competition, winning the 100 and 200 backstroke events, 51.93 and 1:54.52 respectively, and the 400IM with a time of 4:01.76.
The women were down early, but, to Hawaii’s astonishment, were able to come back behind the leadership of senior captain Jen Schwalb and sophomore Nadia Dwidar, who Wilson says always bring great performances to the pool.
The two meets were the first of the season in which the men and women competed together. According to Wilson, they are looking ahead and have a tough schedule to deal with.
“What we are still looking at is: It’s still early in the season and we have a lot of tough competition on the road,” Wilson said. “We have a lot of weapons; we just have to make sure they are loaded and pointed in the right direction.”