Federal Way Pool proved a fantastic venue for the UCSB men’s and women’s swimming teams as the women took fourth place out of twelve with 823.5 points and the men placed fifth out of ten with 643 points in the Husky Invitational this weekend.
The Gauchos (4-1 overall for men, 4-2 overall for women) also proved their worth by having many swimmers qualify for the NCAA Championships and three swimmers for Olympic trials.
Sophomore Anne Marie May gave an impressive performance by winning the 50 free in 22.64, which made the NCAA “B” qualifying time. In addition, May, along with sophomores Naomi Javanifard and Courtney Bauer and junior Nadia Dwidar, dominated their way to first place in the 200 free relay on day one with their time of 1:32.47.
On the men’s side, juniors Bradley Matsumoto and Jeff Sudbury, senior Matt Sullivan and sophomore Scott Vogelgesang placed third in the 200 free relay in 1:20.35, beating last year’s time of 1:21.44.
Day one finished with the 400 medley relay, consisting of juniors Erin Yamamoto and Jessica Cruzat, May and freshman Sara Nicponski, taking second with their time of 3:41.03 while USC took first. Both women’s relays and the men’s 200 free made the NCAA Consideration Cut times. Vogelgesang and Matsumoto also made Olympic trials bids with Vogelgesang swimming the 100 meter free in 51.21 and Matsumoto swimming the 50 meter in 23.44.
“We were amazing, and we crushed so many top teams in the nation,” Head Coach Gregg Wilson said. “I’m watching all of our kids and relays and seeing how much faster they get after every event. It’s exciting. It’s also great to have two men qualify for Olympic trials and NCAA cuts. I’m happy to see that we are in a good position, but we will still continue to train hard because although we did well, I won’t let this get to our heads. We will still train hard.”
Sophomore Matt Bartlett took fourth in the 200 IM in 1:48.53, but his time was still fast enough to qualify for the NCAA “B” time.
Cruzat continued to shine as she placed fourth in the 100 back in 56.52. Nicponski showed she was no rookie by placing second in the 100 breast in 1:01.56, giving an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. Senior captain Brooks Felton, junior Chris Good, Bartlett and Vogelgesang placed third in the 800 free relay in 6:41.43. On the final day, May finish second behind her Norte Dame competitor in the 100 free in 50.53, which qualified her for the NCAA Consideration Cut time.
“[Sara Nicponski] is something special and we could always tell,” Wilson said “She did amazing during the summer, and she continues to shine and she’s not even close to being finished. She is just getting started. Having [Pat Cary] swim again and taking first was fantastic. He did amazing things in our program, and it was great to have him again with the kids.”
Nicponski continued her winning ways by placing third in the 200 breaststroke with her time of 2:13.63, which gave another automatic bid to the NCAA. Junior Katy Freeman was close behind Nicponski, taking fifth while qualifying for the NCAA “B” time. Yamamoto gave a strong performance in the 200 fly, placing sixth with her time of 2:03.11.
As a special treat for Gaucho fans, former Gaucho Pat Cary, swimming unattached, took first in the 200 fly with his time of 1:44.36. Bartlett took third in the 200 fly, as his time of 1:45.99 made the NCAA Consideration Cut.
The Gaucho women finished the final day by taking first in the 400 free in 3:22.02, which also made the NCAA “B” qualifying time.
“As a team, we did great despite bringing 12 men and women when other teams brought their whole squads,” Felton said. “With these big schools, we get experience that we can’t buy. Everyone took the challenge our coaches gave us and stepped it up a notch to keep us motivated. About 75 percent of the kids had lifetime best times, so it’s a great indicator to where we are at and what we need to fix.”
The Gauchos will get a two-week rest before they head out on the road to Sin City on Dec. 15 as they will participate in the University of Nevada Las Vegas Invite.