Head Coach Gregg Wilson of the #1 UCSB swim team has a busy weekend ahead, with his daughter expecting a baby any day now in addition to preparing his team for the competition it will face in the next three days. The men’s team faces Arizona on Thursday – last year’s runner-up to the NCAA title – only to fly back on Friday as both men’s and women’s teams host UC San Diego, one of the top three Division II teams in the country.
“[Arizona] is a great team and it’s at their pool so it’ll be a difficult meet,” senior Pat Cary said. “But we’re prepared and we know it’s going to be tough out there, so we just have to step up a notch and swim fast.”
Cary, the team captain for the men’s squad, is a favorite to win the NCAA title for the 200-meter butterfly. According to Cary, stress will play a big part this weekend with midterms coming up, the flight on Thursday to Tucson and the quick return on Friday evening after the meet to prepare for UC San Diego.
“We have a very involved weekend ahead of us,” Wilson said.
In addition to the pressure of competition and academic endeavors, the teams have to cope with the stress of recruiters who will be watching this weekend’s meets.
However, Saturday’s home meet should be less competitive for the Gauchos, who were ranked at the top of the Big West preseason coaches’ poll. Because of this, the team plans to swim in events it normally does not compete in order to test themselves against the less-formidable Division II Aztecs.
“We will pretty much manhandle [UC San Diego],” Cary said. “But it’s a good time to swim our off-events to see what we can do.”
This past weekend the teams traveled to Hawaii and although the scores of the meet did not bode well for the Gauchos, who were defeated in both of the two meets, most of that had to do with the lack of a diving team. Hawaii, on the other hand, has some of the best divers in the country, which proved detrimental as Santa Barbara’s men’s and women’s teams fell behind early.
Although the two meets at Hawaii set the men’s team back 0-2 and the women’s 0-3, both the coaches and the swimmers said that without diving, things would have been a lot different on the scorecard. Wilson feels the team swam well as a whole, despite slipping early due to the diving factor.
“The team has been training really hard and we had a great meet at Hawaii,” Cary said. “We’re off to a great start and it should be an exciting year.”
Wilson said that he thinks the Gauchos have a lot of potential by way of freshmen swimmers Dan McClary and Scott Vogelgesang, who finished the weekend with several individual wins.
Wilson also mentioned that the women’s team shows promise this season with senior team captain Jen Schwalb and junior Nadia Dwidar, who seem the always come up big for the team.