LOS ANGELES, Calif. – After an intense morning of prelims swims, the UC Santa Barbara swimming team approached the final night of competition with incredible energy and delivered some of the best times of the season, including another new school record.
"We definitely saved the best for last with this finals night being our best session by far. Not only did we improve times, we out-pointed our morning and the team really got behind our seniors and closed the meet," said Coach Matt Macedo.
At the end of the four day-long conference championship the Gaucho men earned second place with 774.5 points, while the Gaucho women earned third place with 585.5 points.
Reid Whaley (17:16.75) and Annie Larsen (17:42.89) started the night off for the Gauchos with swims in the 1650 freestyle. Whaley came in eleventh and Larsen placed fifteenth.
The Gaucho men followed up with a fourth place finish from Armen Darbinyan (15:32.54), sixth place finish from Nick DeVito (15:36.55), and a seventh place finish from Andrew Barmann (15:42.01) for the men's 1650 freestyle.
Faith Travis had a night up jumping up places in consolation finals, beginning with her victory in the 200 backstroke with a time of 2:01.95. Freshman Allie Stevens (2:03.59) placed seventh in the championship finals heat.
The men's 200 backstroke heat featured swims from three Gaucho men. Freshman Billy Mullis (1:45.83) led UCSB with a second place finish, followed by Dylan Kubick (1:45.86) in third and Josh Smith (1:49.56) in sixth.
Lauren Vosseler (49.83) was one of two women to break 50 seconds in the 100 freestyle, coming in second. Hollace Barden (51.50) took seventh and Julia Mikota (51.63) took eighth.
The men's 100 freestyle featured a decisive win by senior captain Wade Allen (43.15) who his signature event by over a second and topped his own UCSB record. Senior Chase Lemley (44.44) followed behind Allen in second, and Clayton Young (45.34) finished in eighth.
In one of the tightest races of the meet Katie Records (2:14.00) came out on top for her third individual win of the meet in the women's 200 breaststroke. Freshman Alyssa Shew (2:18.52) finished in seventh. Carissa Metcalf's time of 2:15.58 in consolation finals was the third fastest time in the pool.
For the men's 200 breaststroke, Andy Castilleja (1:56.68) maintained a commanding lead throughout all eight laps, finishing two seconds before his nearest competition. Freshman Simon Wong (1:59.44) touched fourth.
Senior captain Heren Alanis (2:02.30) crept up from seventh place prelims standing to take third in the women's 200 butterfly.
The meet concluded with arguably the most exciting relay event of all, the 400 freestyle relay. The women swam a tight race, just getting out-touched at the end for a second place finish. Hollace Barden (51.09) led off, followed by Julia Mikota (50.79), Meghan Bicomong (50.57), and Lauren Vosseler (49.22).
The men's 400 freestyle relay featured an even more exciting mix, with the top three relay teams neck and neck going in to the final 100 yards. Senior captain Wade Allen finished the race with his fastest split of all time, swimming at 42.63 for the Gaucho win. Senior captain Chase Lemley (44.46) led off, followed by Billy Mullis (44.52), Clayton Young (44.06), and finally Allen (42.63).
At the resolution of the meet it was announced that Billy Mullis had been selected as MPSF Male Freshman of the Meet, after totaling three individual swims, four relays, and three MPSF titles.
"Billy is the kind of kid that does everything right. He brings his best every day to workout and makes his teammates better. He is very deserving of that award," said Coach Matt Macedo.
With the end of MPSF Championships comes the end of another fantastic UCSB swimming season. As times are submitted to the NCAA over the next few days, a list of who will be competing at the 2015 NCAA Championships will be compiled and soon after released.