The UCSB Swim and Dive Team will face its toughest challenge yet heading to Nevada for the Las Vegas Invitational today. This three-day invitational will be held on the campus of UNLV and will feature some of the top collegiate swim teams in the nation.

The Gaucho men enter with a record of 2-1 after a victory over UC San Diego in their last meet. Opponents for the UCSB men’s team will include No. 5 Stanford (2-0), Arizona State (1-3), BYU (1-1), Northern Arizona University (3-1), Wyoming (4-1) and No. 25 UNLV (2-2).

The UCSB women’s swim and dive team stands at 5-1 on the season following victory over UC San Diego in its previous meet. Opponents for the women’s swim team are No. 1 California (4-0), No.17 UCLA (5-1), Arizona State (2-2), BYU (1-1), Colorado State (2-2), Northern Arizona University (3-1), Oregon State (0-3), Wyoming (3-1) and UNLV (0-4).

“This will be a very big test for us,” Head Coach Gregg Wilson said. “It will be a wonderful opportunity to see how our team stacks up against some of the best in the country.”

With so many schools competing, there will be no shortage of talent on display. One of the most notable swimmers will be California’s four-time Olympic gold medalist, freshman Missy Franklin. UCSB senior captain Sophia Yamauchi will be given the task of holding her off in the 200-yard individual medley.

“I am excited to race against her,” Yamauchi said. “I always look forward to competing against one of the top swimmers.”

Also featured for the UCSB women is senior Allie Knight, who will lead the team in the backstroke events. The backstroke, coupled with the 100-yard and 200-yard freestyle swims, will be some of the most exciting of the invitational due to the great depth of competition in these events.

Swims to look for on the men’s side will be the breaststroke events, highlighted by UCSB sophomore Andy Castilleja, and the sprint freestyle events. In addition, Senior Randy Aakhus and sophomore Mickey Mowry will serve as centerpieces for the Gauchos in the individual medley events, which are sure to produce some of toughest races of the invitational.

Important absences for the Gauchos include senior Andrea Ward and junior Katie Records  for the women, and junior Wade Allen  and senior Ryan Hanni for the men. These swimmers will be resting and preparing for the Texas Invitational on Dec. 5.

“It will be a challenge leaving two of our best men’s sprinters, and top two women swimmers here,” Wilson said. “[However] this gives everybody an opportunity to step up and that is very exciting.”

The Las Vegas Invitational will begin today and end Saturday.


This article is an online exclusive and did not appear in the print edition of the Daily Nexus.           

Photo by Adam Lugowski of the Daily Nexus