The UCSB swimming team will host their first dual meet of 2009 on Saturday at noon, swimming against conference rival UC Davis at Campus Pool.
“If they want to beat us, they will have to swim really fast,” Head Coach Gregg Wilson said. “It’s developed into a good rivalry.”
The Gaucho men’s and women’s teams were picked to finish first in the conference in the preseason coaches and media polls. The outcome will be decided in the Big West Conference Championships on Feb. 25. The men and women both lost to USC on the road last Saturday, but the efforts of Gaucho senior Bradley Matsumoto and junior Ann Marie May in the loss earned them Big West Swimmer of the Week honors.
Against USC, Matsumoto clinched first place in the 50 freestyle (20.62) and second place in the 100 free (45.41), only .01 behind event winner and fellow Gaucho senior Jeff Sudbury. For the women, May captured first in the 50 free (23.10) and anchored the Gaucho’s 400 free relay to a first place finish (3:25.37). May broke her own Big West records at the Husky Invitational on Dec. 4, with times of 21.96 and 48.83 in the 50 and 100 freestyle events, respectively.
“Matsumoto had a breakout meet,” Wilson said. “Sudberry had a great meet. He’s huge for our lineup. He’ll play a huge part for us on Saturday.”
The women’s team is 4-2 in dual meets, while the men are 3-1.
For the Aggies, their best freestyle times were 23.84 by sophomore Amanda Holman in the 50 and 51.31 in the 100 by freshman Kayleigh Foley. Both times were also set at the Husky Invite. Aggie junior Heidi Kucera leads Davis in the breaststroke and individual medley events.
“Heidi’s very good. She’s a strong kid,” Wilson said. “[Davis] has talented women, but they don’t have our depth.”
The Davis men’s swimming team has not competed since the Texas Invite held from Dec. 4 to Dec. 6. The team finished in fourth, with juniors Daniel Donnelly and Scott Weltz setting new school records in the 200 butterfly and the 200 breaststroke. Weltz finished in the top five, his third time doing so at the annual event.
“Scott is one of the top eight swimmers in the NCAA,” Wilson said. “He’s a good kid and a hard worker. He could easily take three events against us.”
In the 4×100 relays, the Aggies’ fastest times at Texas beat the Gauchos’ first relay team. According to Davis, the team’s weak spot lies in the long distance events.
“They [the long distance swimmers] train unbelievably well,” he said. “But there are very few individual noteworthy swims. This is a good team, but our soft spot is distance. The men’s competition is going to be very good.”