For the sake of the upcoming Big West Conference and NCAA swimming tournaments, the Gauchos may be hoping that what happened in Vegas this weekend will stay in Vegas.
After a seven-hour bus ride to Las Vegas from Santa Barbara on Friday, the Gaucho men and women lost to UNLV at the Buchanan Natatorium in a dual meet on Saturday afternoon, with the men losing 169-93 and the woman losing 141-121. With the win, the Rebel men finish the dual meet season 6-0, and now have a few weeks off from competition before the Mountain West Conference Championships on Feb. 25. For the Gauchos, the loss drops the men to 4-2 and the women to 5-3.
“It was a real good reality check for us,” Head Coach Gregg Wilson said. “We swam better in the second half of the meet, but [the Rebels] were so far ahead of us that it didn’t matter. We have to remind the team that we have to push it from the beginning.”
Senior captain Chris Good captured first place in the 200 backstroke and 200 individual medley, with times of 1:50.47 and 1:54.01, respectively. Junior Anne Marie May touched the wall first in the 50 and 100 freestyle events, with respective times of 23.27 and 50.80. She also anchored the 200 yard medley relay team of senior Erin Yamamoto, junior Naomi Javanifard and junior team captain Katy Freeman to first place, the team finishing the race in 1:42.66 – over three seconds ahead of UNLV’s second place relay team.
“No one can stay with Anne Marie,” Wilson said. “[She] dominated the meet.”
However, the Rebel men took first, second and third in the 50 and 1000 freestyle events. The UNLV women took the top four spots in the 200 backstroke and the 400 IM, and the Rebels took the top two spots in the men’s 100 butterfly, 500 freestyle, 200 breaststroke and 100 freestyle events. According to Wilson, the Gauchos swam fast times in spite of the loss.
“We faced a very tough opponent,” he said. “They were ready. Our men’s breaststrokers actually did really well, [but] they outraced us. The men had their senior presentation today, and they were psyched. They didn’t even need to use their divers.”
The UNLV women were led by senior Amanda Weinbrecht, who clinched first place in the 100 butterfly, 100 breaststroke and 200 backstroke. For the men, UNLV junior Kier Maitland took first in the 500 and 1000 freestyles.
The Gauchos will honor their seniors upon their return to Campus Pool on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. in their last dual match of the season against Pacific. After the meet, UCSB will not compete until the Big West Championships in Long Beach on Feb. 25. The NCAA championships begin on March 26.
“I think the overall attitude [after] the UNLV match was to kind of look at it as another rehearsal for next week, for the Big West, and the NCAA’s,” Gaucho captain Katy Freeman said. “We were training really hard, but now we’re at the part of the season where we start resting and preparing.”