Junior Sophia Yamauchi has been named MPSF Swimmer of the Year after making headlines this past weekend at the MPSF Championships. Yamauchi came away from the competition with two individual wins and two team relay wins to cap off an incredible season.

The UCSB women’s swim and dive team hung in there with the competition but could not overcome what was a 41-point deficit after Friday’s events. After the final day of competition Saturday, the Gauchos finished with a final score of 591.5, enough for fourth place in the field of eight teams.

“We didn’t finish as well as we did last year, but we’re proud of how we competed,” Yamauchi said. “We worked so hard preparing in practice and in dual meets, and we swam hard this weekend. We feel good about things even if we didn’t end up where we wanted.”

UC Davis came away with the championship, finishing with a final score of 673.5. BYU took second place, and Hawaii edged out UCSB to take third.

Meanwhile, Yamauchi was dominant. The captain picked up wins in the 200 individual medley and 200 breaststroke and contributed to relay wins in the 200 and 400 medley. Her time of 2:12.29 in the 200 breaststroke was a season-best and good enough for an NCAA ‘B’ cut, which gives her national championship consideration.

“It was so gratifying coming away with a win in the breaststroke after getting touched out by a fraction of a second last year,” Yamauchi said. “I’m honored to be named Swimmer of the Year and I’m proud to keep the award at UCSB.”

Junior Andrea Ward won the award last season and followed with an impressive encore season of her own. Ward finished eighth in the 200 butterfly finals after placing third with her qualifying time.

Sophomore Heren Alanis was also impressive, earning a third-place finish in the 1650 freestyle with a time of 16:50.99, a season best. Freshman Marissa Neel took third place in the 200 backstroke, with junior Allie Knight right behind her in fourth place.

Team competition is now over for the women’s swim and dive team. NCAA national championships begin March 21 in Indianapolis, Indiana.


This article appeared on page 6 of February 25th, 2013’s print edition of the Nexus.