Senior day couldn’t have ended better for the UCSB men’s and women’s swimming teams, as both teams dominated the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on Saturday at Campus Pool. The men captured their seventh consecutive win by a narrow margin, 133-129, while the women held a strong lead throughout the meet to take it 149-113.
Before the meet, the Gauchos bade farewell to seniors Bobbie Wilson, Courtney Jenkins, Brooks Felton, Mason Edwards, Curtis Bauer, Ben Malcolm and Matt Sullivan, who have all contributed in turning the Gauchos into a solid powerhouse. Once the ceremony was over, the Gauchos started off the meet by winning the 200-yard medley relay in 1:45.78. The relay team consisted of sophomores Naomi Javanifard and Anne Marie May, junior Erin Yamamoto and freshman Sara Nicponski. May delivered a strong performance as she took the 50- and 100-yard freestyle in 23.70 and 51.72, respectively. The men continued their relay streak by taking the 200-yard medley in 1:31.94 with help from sophomores Matt Bartlett and Danny McClary, and juniors Bradley Matsumoto and Jeff Sudbury.
“It was amazing, and we basically knew we had more depth, but we still worked hard because with [UNLV], you never know,” Jenkins said. “I was pretty sad knowing that it was the last meet I was going to swim in Campus Pool, but I wanted myself and the team to get out there and race, and I was happy with the girls. Last year, we went to UNLV and we lost by one point, so it’s great to see them here and we won by a good amount of points.”
Junior Jessica Cruzat easily swam to first in the 200-yard backstroke to defeat the Rebels’ sophomore Marva Harpak with her time of 1:53.72. Javanifard increased the Gauchos’ lead by winning the 100-yard back in 58.00. Nicponski and junior Katy Freeman took first and second in the 100-yard breaststroke by clocking in at 1:04.89 and 1:06.25, respectively. Sudbury cruised through the pool in the same event and took first with his time of 57.13. Yamamoto and freshman Brittany Borowitz placed first and second in the 200-yard butterfly while sophomore Chris Wiggin and McClary kept the Gaucho men in the race by finishing second and third in the 200 fly. It was the battle of the backstroke for junior Chris Good and Rebel senior Tiger Christian, with Good bringing home the gold with his time of 1:50.73.
“They have a good team, and we always have our best foot forward when dealing with [UNLV],” Felton said. “We haven’t had a win on both sides in a long time when we raced with UNLV, so it was great to get this and see the team just excited to race from the get go. Right now, we are getting to the point where racing is crucial, and it was great to see the lower classmen step up and go all out. All the seniors respect them, and they respect us, and they showed it with their performance.”
Christian would soon fall again to UCSB’s McClary and Bartlett in the 100 fly, as McClary finished in 50.66 with Bartlett .10 of second behind and Christian finishing .11 behind McClary. On the women’s side, Yamamoto defeated senior Marina Sandback in the 100 fly with her time of 56.33. The Gaucho women ended their spectacular meet by winning the 400 free relay with May, Yamamoto, junior Nadia Dwidar and sophomore Courtney Bauer at the helm. The men’s 400 relay fell to the Rebels, but because the Gauchos took the second and third place spots, it was enough to take the win by four points in the closest meet of the season so far.