This past Friday, the UCSB men’s swim team opened up its duel meet season falling to the visiting USC Trojans. Southern California outscored Santa Barbara 159-103 to beat the Gauchos for the second-straight season opener at Campus Pool.
“USC is a very talented team,” Head Coach Gregg Wilson said. “They are probably the best team we will face all season.”
With this victory USC improves to 1-0 on the season, while UCSB falls to 0-1.
Sophomore backstroker Billy Mullis, last season’s MPSF Freshman of the Year, was a positive component in the pool for a Gaucho team that struggled out of the gate. Mullis placed high in both the 100-meter and 200-meter backstroke events, posting great times and nearly taking both titles.
With a time of 51.09 the sophomore took second in the 100-meter event, coming in just milliseconds behind USC’s sophomore free/back Jon Knox. Mullis eventually would get his gold in the 200-meter event, coming in at 1:52.55. Teammate Dylan Kubick, a junior IM swimmer, finished just behind Mullis at 1:53.68 to give the Gauchos the top two spots.
Success from Mullis was not only limited to individual events as he also helped his team to second place in the 400-meter freestyle relay.
Another sophomore in Chris Nolan made his mark on the meet as well competing in the butterfly events. He notched the first win of the day for UCSB, taking first in the 200-meter fly nearly three seconds ahead of the next participant. He finished with a time of 1:50.74. Nolan followed this meet up taking second in the 100-meter fly with a time of 50.65.
Some new faces on the Gauchos roster got their first look at an NCAA meet, and the freshmen that boast a No. 22 recruiting class ranking did not disappoint.
Freshman breaststroker Joe Kmak started the day for UCSB’s group of young athletes taking second place in the 100-meter breaststroke. Kmak came in at a time of 57.78, just a second behind the leader. Freshman distance swimmer Eric VanBrocklin added a fourth place effort in the 1000-meter freestyle with a time 9:37.44.
The scheduling of Friday’s meet worked against Santa Barbara, as it has yet to host its intrasquad meet this season. The team is set to have the intrasquad matchup this Saturday.
A long break is in store for the Gauchos, as their next swim event is not until Oct. 31 against rival Cal Poly SLO.