It’s that time once again to hear the splash at Campus Pool, as the defending Big West champion UCSB women’s swimming team opens its season with a non conference game Saturday against UCLA and Oregon State at noon.

The Gauchos dominated during last season’s Big West Swimming and Diving Championships with their first place score of 844.5 points, far and away superior to second place Pacific’s 678.0 score. Sophomore Anne Marie May took the 2006-07 Big West Freshman of the Year award for her impressive records in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle, including her NCAA qualifying time for the 100-meter free with a time of 50.71. May was also named a Mid-Major All-American. Head Coach Gregg Wilson was named Big West Coach of the Year due to his work with both the men’s and women’s teams, as the women took first in the conference and the men finished second at the championships.

“I’m very excited about this meet. When we swim here at our pool, we do very well,” Wilson said. “We have very good freshmen and our veterans are looking better than ever. We are going out there and giving it our best shot. Our confidence level is high and we are all excited to compete.”

The season hasn’t started and it already looks good for the Gaucho women, who competed in intrasquad meets to prepare for Saturday’s dual showdown. The Blue team outscored the Gold team 275.5-245.5. The Blue team outswam the Gold team in the relays capturing first in both the 200-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle relays. The tandem team of sophomore Naomi Javanifard, freshman Sara Nicponski, junior Erin Yamamoto and sophomore Courtney Bauer posted a time of 1:46.55 in the medley relay, trouncing the Gold team by over a minute.

Freshmen Lindsay Gaudinier and Brittany Borowitz made great initial impressions with Gaudinier’s performance in the 100- and 500-yard freestyle and Borowitz’s showing in the 100-yard breaststroke and her first-place finish in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:07.08. Another strong performance was turned in by May, who took first in the sprint 50- and 100-yard freestyles with her times of 24.27 and 57.94. Senior Jessica Cruzat helped the Gold team by picking up first in the 50-yard backstroke with a time of 57.94, followed by a 2:05.82 in the 100-yard backstroke and completing the cycle with a first-place finish in the 200-yard medley with a time of 2:07.99.

“We have been training harder and faster than ever in my 30 years of experience coaching, so I hope that is going to give us the upper advantage,” Wilson said. “[UCLA] got a lot of good recruits, so it will be interesting to see how we match up. They are well coached and it will be a challenge. [Oregon State] will be a good meet, but they don’t have a lot of depth. We have depth, and that is going to help us in the long run.”

Despite Santa Barbara’s talent, UCLA is looking to pick up its second victory in a row after defeating Idaho 171-170 on Oct. 5. Senior Nicolette Teo led the Bruins squad by winning the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke – clocking in at 1:09.83 and 2:31.14 – and the 100-yard freestyle at 59.08. Oregon State will get a taste of Southern California’s finest when it travels to USC to compete on Friday before heading north to duel with Gauchos and Bruins on Saturday. The Beavers squad will be a threat as its team consists of four NCAA qualifiers, 20 returning letter winners and four All-Americans in junior Saori Haruguchi, sophomore Brittney Iverson, sophomore Anna Crandall and junior Kayla Rawlings.