It was a busy weekend for the UCSB swim teams, who swam their final meets of the regular season on Friday at UC Davis and Saturday at the University of the Pacific. The men’s team fell short against Davis, losing by a narrow margin of 140-154, but dominated its next meet against Pacific, winning 165-89. The women, on the other hand, went undefeated over the weekend, beating Davis by a score of 181-111 and Pacific by a score of 138-123.
Because Davis has a diving team, both the Gaucho men’s and women’s teams were behind on the scoreboard 32-0 before they even hit the water. The women were able to overcome this deficit with impecable swimming. In the 1000-yard freestyle, which has been one of Santa Barbara’s weaker races this season, the women were able to take both first and second place. Sophomore Meagan Brown finished first with a time of 10:25.38 and junior Astrid Amsallem finished second with a time of 10:27.07.
“We were really excited,” senior Anne Marie May said of her team’s performance. “Everybody really stepped up and did a great job.”
For the Gaucho men, however, the initial scoring deficit proved too much to overcome. It looked as though the men had a good start in the 200-yard medley relay as their ‘A’ relay squad beat out the Aggie team by over a second.
Unfortunately, after the race the referees informed the team that they had been disqualified due to a false start, allowing the Aggies to grab first and second place and make an 18-point swing in favor of the opposition. Davis also dominated the the 1000-yard freestyle, finishing in the top three spots and putting the Gauchos even further behind.
Down but not out, the Santa Barbara men did not relent and came back to take first, second and third in both the 200 and 100-yard freestyle races. The men also had a one-two finish in the 100-yard backstroke and placed first, second and fourth in the 50-yard freestyle. Still behind on the scoreboard, they finished the meet strong with a victory in the last event, the 400-yard freestyle relay, but their fate had already been decided. When the final scores were tallied, the Gauchos found themselves behind by 14 points.
“We figured we would really have to out-swim [Davis] in order to win,” Head Coach Gregg Wilson said. “The kids never gave up. We battled back, but we just ran out of juice.”
The next day against Pacific, the Gaucho men faced a much easier opponent and had no problem dominating the entire meet. The women, however, were put to the test against a game Pacific team.
“They were flat and not at all up for the meet,” Wilson said of the UCSB women. “We had to regroup and refocus.”
UCSB won the first relay event but lost every other race up to the halfway point of the meet, where the team had a meeting to get the women fired up. The team rebounded and proved UCSB is a force to be reckoned with in the pool.
Freshman Katie Stover, who was a member of the first winning relay team for the Gauchos, won both the 50-yard freestyle and the 200-yard backstroke to help put Santa Barbara back into the meet. Wins in other events, such as the 100-yard freestyle and the final 400-yard medley relay, secured the narrow victory for the Gauchos.
“It’s always hard to be on the road and have back-to-back meets,” May said. “It really shows the heart that we have.”
Both teams now have a well-deserved break before going into the Big West Championship meet that begins on Feb. 17.