‘Winter break’ will be more winter than break for the men’s and women’s swim and dive team this season. The squad will cease training for just 10 days during the holiday months, a stark contrast to the usual four-week rest period that the layover between quarters normally provides.

“Everyone else gets four weeks off, we get 10 days from [Dec.] 18-28,” senior Kevin Ferguson said. “We have to continue our training because it’s important going up to our championship meet in March.”

Though brief, the 10 days will be a welcome break from a strenuous season that began during September and will continue through March. The men’s team currently owns an undefeated 3-0 record during dual meets, with wins coming against Denver, UC San Diego and Cal Poly. The women’s team holds claim to a 2-3 overall record with wins coming against UC San Diego and Oregon State.

The duo of seniors Kevin Ferguson and Chris Peterson has been a large part of the Gaucho men’s success. Both swimmers were part of first-place efforts in the ‘A’ 200-meter relay against UC San Diego and Denver earlier this season. Peterson has taken first place in at least two events during every meet this season. The senior finished first in both the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle during meets against Denver and UCSD, and took first in the 100-meter and 200-meter events against Cal Poly during a rivalry meet on the road. At UCSB’s most recent Arena invitational meet, Peterson put on one of his best performances of the year.

“He went 19.75 in the 50 (freestyle), that’s second in the country in the 50-free,” Head Coach Gregg Wilson said. “And he was dead tired…and I’m going really? Ok, well we’ll see what happens (when he’s not tired).”

The UCSB women have had a rough start to their season so far, with losses coming at home against UCLA and Denver and on the road against Cal Poly. With only four seniors on this year’s roster, the squad owes a large part of its success to its talented lineup of underclassmen. Sophomores Sophia Yamauchi and Andrea Ward have added to their standout performances of the 2010-2011 season this year, as both have already garnered MPSF swimmer of the week honors for the Gauchos.

“They’re picking up right where they left off,” Wilson said. “Sophia has been twice swimmer of the week and Andrea was [recently] swimmer of the week. Three of the five weeks have been Gauchos.”

This weekend, the UCSB swim and dive teams will travel to the University of Texas for the Texas Invitational meet against teams from around the country including USC, TCU and UNLV, who will be the Gauchos’ next competition on Jan. 21 at campus pool.

“The invitational should be really interesting,” senior Kendall Neely said. “This will be a good indication of how we’ll do for conference.”