The UCSB women’s swim and dive team will play host to both UCLA and BYU in its first meet of the season on Saturday. This three-way duel will kick off a long home stand for the Gauchos who do not leave Santa Barbara until late November.
UCSB will be looking to start off the year undefeated with a tough challenge against both the Bruins, who come in with a 1-0 record, and the Cougars, who will compete in their first competition of the season as well.
The Santa Barbara team will look completely different from its last competition in February thanks to an addition to both the coaching staff and to its player roster. They have gained a new Associate Head Coach in Matt Macedo, as well as some other assistants and eleven freshman athletes. This gives the team a lot of potential, but also young and undeveloped talent to assess.
“It’s an exciting time,” Head Coach Gregg Wilson said. “These [coaches] are so good that we will be prepared and beyond caught up to where we need to be this season. There is so much talent here and now we just need to sculpt it, and our veterans have also been helping with that.”
The more experienced athletes of this squad will surely work as guides to these younger underclassmen, but they will also focus on their own numbers come Saturday. One of these familiar faces that is sure to make a splash against UCLA and conference contender BYU is senior distance swimmer Heren Alanis.
In her time at UCSB, Alanis has recorded countless top-three finishes in I.M. and Freestyle events, as well as many relays for the Gauchos. Her performance in the 800-yard relay at the MPSF Championships in 2012 helped set an all-time UCSB record with a time of 7:17.82. She also took second place in the 400-yard I.M. at last year’s Championship with a time of 4:18.79.
In addition to Alanis, another veteran Gaucho that will be looking to push her team to a championship this year is senior breaststroker Katie Records. Records, whose name is quite fitting to her performance, has accomplished impressive trials in her three years as a Gaucho.
As a freshman, Records was named MPSF Freshman of the Year as well as a Mid-Major All-American Honorable Mention after she took first place in the 200-yard breaststroke in the MPSF Championships with a time of 2:13.41. She has continued to be dominant in her outings as a Gaucho and will serve as an excellent peer to the new freshman on the team. The Gauchos will have a lot to prove with a very tough meet this Saturday, but will look to start the season off with a bang.
The meet is set to start at 12 p.m. at Campus Pool in Santa Barbara.
A version of this article appeared on page 13 of October 23, 2014’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.