Feb. 29, 2008
Pac-10 Invitational, Long Beach, Calif.
UCSB at Big West Swimming and Diving Championships
Over the course of the four-day Big West Swimming and Diving Championship, UCSB dominated the field and claimed the league championship for the men and the women. The UCSB men's team scored 856 while the closest team, UC Davis, managed to get 674 points. On the women's side, the Gauchos conquered the field, winning 926 points, while the second place team Irvine took home 655 points. Eleven school records were broken and eight conference meet records were left in the dust.
Best in the Big West
Sophomore Anne Marie May continued her success from the previous Big West Championships, in which she garnered Freshman of the Year and transformed it into Swimmer of the Year. May's league title time in the 50 free 21.22 broke her own school record and the conference meet record. She also scored a conference championship in the 100 free (49.71). May also helped break school records and earn league titles in the 200 and 400 free relays and the 200 medley relay. The teams also crushed the meet record in the 200 free and 200 medley relays.
Following in her teammates footsteps, freshman Sara Nicponski glided into her award for Freshman of the Year. Nicponski, a Salt Lake City, Utah native, was a member of the school record breaking 200 medley relay team as well as the league champion 400 medly team. Her previous times in the 100 and 200 breast automatically qualified her for the NCAA Championships in Federal Way, Wash. Nicponski finished second in the 100 and 200 breast at the BWC and fifth in the 200 IM.
In his 32nd year as head coach for the Gauchos, Gregg Wilson was awarded Big West Coach of the Year for the men and the women. His superb coaching skills lead the women to their third straight Big West Championship and the men's 26th overall title. This is Wilson's 14th honor on the men's side and his 11th prize for the women.
If You're Not First, You're Last
To get the ball rolling on Day 1 for the Gauchos, the men's 200 medley relay team set a a high bar. Matt Bartlett, Jeff Sudbury, Danny McClary, and Bradley Matsumoto swam blistering splits to set a new UCSB record cord in the event (1:27.63). In the men's 800 free relay, Bartlett, Vogelgesang, Chris Good, and Joe Wood teamed up for the league championship in 6:34.72, an NCAA consideration cut time. Not wanting to be outdone, Naomi Javanifard, Nicponski, Erin Yamamoto, and May outswam their opponents to set new records for the school and for the meet. Their time, 1:38.64, also qualifies them for the NCAA Championships.
Senior co-captain Brooks Felton took home two Big West champion titles at the meet. His first came in the 1000 free where swam all forty laps in 9:09.84. The next day, Felton took to the pool for the 500 free and completed his victorious race in 4:24.84. Felton also took second place in the 1650 free, finishing in 15:30.82.
One of the most successful athletes over the weeken was junior Katy Freeman. Not only did she come out victorious in three league events but she broke two school and conference meet records and automatically qualified for the NCAA's in those two events. Freeman started out her weekend with her win in the 200 IM over Ja-Neil Bragg of Pacific (2:01.52). Her next standout performance came in the 100 breast, beating Nicponski's school record and making the automatic cut time in (1:00.75). To add to her list of accomplishments, Freeman demolished the conference meet record of 2:14.16 by swimming a 2:10.89 in the 200 breast. The outstanding time qualified her for the NCAA championships and gave her another school record.
More Gaucho Glory
Matsumoto swam two individual league titles races over the four day event including the 50 and 100 free. In the 50 free, the junior outswam four other Gauchos in the final eight to take the crown in 19.83, breaking former Gaucho great Jason Lezak's meet record from 1997. In the 100 free, Matsumoto led the Gaucho charge with placed first through seventh in the event. The junior clocked in at 43.89.
Sophomore Courtney Bauer got her first glimpse of individual Gaucho historical glory following a 200 free race for the record books. Bauer's 1:49.09 200 free time replaced Jenn Schwalb's old record of 1:49.35 and won her a leauge title.
Showing his versatility, Bartlett had double vision over the meet winning the 200 IM and 200 freestyle. In the 200 IM, the sophomore from Atlanta, Ga. took the win over the current meet record holder Krzysztof Zoldak in 1:47.88, narrowly missing the school record. However in the 200 free, his 1:36.41 overtook his old UCSB record by over a second and garnered him his second league championship.
Wilton, Conn. native Jeff Sudbury added to the pile of league championships for the Gauchos with his win the 100 breast. Sudbury swam to first in 55.06, an NCAA consideration cut time. Another individual winner was junior Chris Good, winning his first Big West title in the 200 back. Good touched the wall at 1:47.13 for the win.
Bartlett, Sudbury, McClary, and Matsumoto teamed up for another school record in the men's 400 medley relay. Their time of 2:16.03 broke the 2005 school record of 3:16.91. Jessica Cruzat, Nicponski, Yamamoto, and May combined forces for a Gaucho sweep of the 400 medley relay. The women's time of 3:41.75 garnered them a school record, beating the old time of 3:44.27.
The women broke another record in the 200 free relay with Bauer, Nadia Dwidar, Javanifard, and May coming together to make a beautiful 1:31.46 time. On the men's side, Vogelgesang, Sudbury, Matt Sullivan, and Matsumoto claimed a UCSB record of their own, clocking in at 1:19.06. Bauer, Dwidar, Yamamoto, and May swam a 3:20.56 400 free relay time to be crown Big West champions in the event. Their time brought another school record crumbling down.
The Future is Now
On Sunday March 2, the men and women will travel to Long Beach, Calif to participate in the Pac-10 Invitational. Both the men's and women's 200 free relay teams will be making the trip to try and qualify for the NCAA Championships.