Oct. 8, 2008
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara swimming teams were unanimous selections to defend their Big West Conference titles according to the voting of the league's six head coaches. The Gaucho women will be gunning for their fourth straight league crown, while the men will compete for their 27th championship all-time and fourth in the last six years.
The Gauchos once again have a loaded club on both sides ready to hit the pool. On the women's side, Anne Marie May returns after being named the Big West Swimmer of the Year and finishing third at the 2008 NCAA National Championships in the 50 freestyle. Sara Nicponski returns after being named last season's Freshman of the Year. May, who claimed six first place finishes at last season's conference meet, and Nicponski will also be aided by veterans Katy Freeman, a 2009 World University Games team member, Brittany Borowitz and Erin Yamamoto as UCSB aims to continue its recent dominance.
For the UCSB men, Bradley Matsumoto, Chris Good and Scott Vogelgesang aim to lead the club to the top. Matsumoto broke U.S. Olympian and former Gaucho Jason Lezak's Big West Championship mark in the 50 free last season and, along with Vogelgesang, helped the Gauchos set a conference record in the 200 free relay.
Second place on the men's side belonged to UC Davis as the Aggies claimed 27 points to edge by UC Irvine, which finished with 25. Scott Weltz, who competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials and owns six UCD individual records, and Alex Arbios return to lead the club's push for the Big West title. A year ago at the Big West Championships, UC Davis came through with a second place showing, the best finish the Aggies have had at the conference meet since they began competition in the league in 2004.
Grabbing second place on the women's side was UC Irvine with 26 points. Leading the way in for the Anteater contingent is Lyndsay DePaul, a junior who competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials and qualified for the World University Games in 2009. DePaul set three records at last season's Big West Championships (500 free, 400 IM, 200 free) and set two overall conference marks at the NCAA Championships (500 free, 400 IM).
Rounding out the field on the men's side are Cal Poly with 19 points, Pacific with 13 and Cal State Northridge with six tallies. The women's poll has UC Davis right behind the Anteaters with 25 points, followed by Cal Poly (19), Pacific (14) and Cal State Northridge (6).
The Gauchos will officially open the 2008-09 season with a meet at conference foe Cal State Northridge on Nov. 1. UCSB, however, will be in action this weekend as they tune-up for the year with its annual intersquad meet on Saturday, Oct. 11 at 10 a.m. Come out and get a sneak peek at the Gauchos at Campus Pool, admission, as always, is free.
2008-09 Big West Men's & Women's Swimming & Diving Coaches Poll
1. UC Santa Barbara (6) 36 2. UC Davis 27 3. UC Irvine 25 4. Cal Poly 19 5. Pacific 13 6. Cal State Northridge 6
1. UC Santa Barbara (6) 36 2. UC Irvine 26 3. UC Davis 25 4. Cal Poly 19 5. Pacific 14 6. Cal State Northridge 6
( ) - first place votes
- www.ucsbgauchos.com -