In the annual Austin Invitational hosted by the University of Texas this past weekend, the UCSB swim team finished eighth in the women’s division while the men took ninth. Senior Pat Cary broke school records in the 100 and 200 fly and helped the men take fifth in the 200 freestyle relay and seventh in the 400 medley relay.
“Overall, it was a good meet for all of us,” Cary said. “We were swimming with the best teams in the country and that gave us a chance to rank ourselves among the best.”
Cary broke the school record in the 100 fly, taking third in the meet with a time of 47.27 and took second in the 200 fly with a 1:49.54 mark, also a school record. Both times will allow Cary to be considered to compete in the NCAA championships held in early March.
“I am happy to have done that this early in the season,” Cary said. “Things are really looking good for me for the end of the season.”
Cary lost the 200 fly by two one-hundredths of a second, but to his credit, he has the second fastest time in the country. With his speed, Cary may still have a chance to reach his goal this season: to be an NCAA champion.
School records were nearly broken by swimmers on the women’s team in Austin as well. Sophomore Kailtin Freeman nearly broke the record in the 200 fly, as she took fourth with a time of 1:49.54, putting her in reach of an NCAA consideration. Senior Jen Schwalb took fifth in the 200 fly with a time of 2:00.49, just a tenth of second behind her personal best.
In the first day of the invitational, Jen Schwalb took 17th in the 100 fly in 54.99 and 14th in the 200 IM in 2:02.56. Brooks Felton put up his best time of the season in the 500 free with a mark of 4:28.94.
The Gauchos did particularly well in the relays, which helped them score points to finish among the middle some of the best teams in the country despite the fact that they could not compete in the diving events.
The men’s 400 medley team took seventh on the first day with a time of 3:21.17 and placed fifth in the 200 free relay. They also took seventh in the 400 free relay the next day.
The women took sixth in the 200 free relay in 1:33.36 and finished 11th in the 400 medley with a time of 3:48.53, also placing tenth in the 400 free relay in 3:25.38.
“Our relays were some of the fastest we have had in a long time and definitely the fastest of this season,” Cary said.
There were several big individual finishes on the day including Brooks Felton’s best time of the season in the 500 free at 4:28.94, along with Chris Good’s 14th place finish in the 200 back in 1:48.66.
The Gauchos have a two-week break before their next meet, the UNLV Invitational, to be held Dec. 16 through 18. According to Cary, UCSB has a good chance at winning the individual as they face UNLV, Wyoming, Bakersfield and Tennessee, among others. Santa Barbara took first in last year’s meet and, with the help of a long rest period, should have a good chance this season.
“We definitely have a good chance of winning at UNLV,” Cary said. “We have a great freshman class and everyone is swimming well. We also have a lot of depth and that is something a lot of teams don’t have and that is going to help us in the end. “