As well as the Gauchos have been swimming, they could not hold off the USC Trojans in the first meet of the new year held at Campus Pool on Saturday. The women lost by a score of 143-111 while the men had an even closer score of 139-123.

“Our goal at the beginning of the year was not to lose any meets,” said Head Coach Gregg Wilson. “We felt good about the effort, but bad about the outcome.”

The usual top performers for UCSB were at the top of their games, helping the Gauchos secure victories in the sprint freestyle events. Senior Anne Marie May won both the 50 and the 100 yard freestyle races for the women and sophomore Chris Peterson had wins in the same events for the men. In addition, May was part of the 200 yard freestyle relay and the 200 yard medley relay teams that placed first and second, respectively. Peterson was also a member of the same men’s relay teams and the Gaucho men finished first in both races.

“[May] is our go-to person, and you have to have that,” Wilson said. “For the guys, Chris Peterson is developing into that type of person.”

The Trojans dominated the long distance races, which have proved to be one of UCSB’s vulnerabilities this season. In the women’s 1000 yard freestyle, the Trojans took the top three spots, with freshman Haley Anderson leading the pack with an impressive time of 9:55.65. In the men’s 1000 yard freestyle, the Trojans placed first and second with another freshman, Charlie Charlesworth, finishing first.

“We were outmatched [in the distance swims],” Wilson said. “Our distance freestyle is probably one of our weaker areas.”

The men’s score was especially close going into the final races, but USC came away with wins in the 500 freestyle, the 100 butterfly and the 400 IM, putting the meet out of reach for the Gauchos as they headed into the final relay event.

“We were within two points at the end of the breaststroke,” said Wilson. “We had them on the ropes … We just stumbled at the last bit.”
Even though the Gauchos did not come out on top, they know they have the ability to win any meet.

“This is the closest we’ve come to beating USC in 25 years,” Wilson said. “I think this will allow the kids to see that we’re pretty close to one of the best teams in the country, and they can race against any team. If they want it, they have to go after it all the way.”