October 7, 2006

Gaucho Swimmers Picked to Win Big West

Oct. 7, 2006

Irvine, Calif. - Defending Big West Champion UC Santa Barbara is the top vote-getter for both men's and women's swimming & diving in the 2006-07 Big West Preseason Coaches Poll.

Looking to defend their titles, the Gaucho men's and women's squads each received four first place votes. The men combined for a total of 34 points, while the women earned 33. Over the years, the Gauchos have dominated the league with the men's team claiming 25 team titles and the women's team posting 10 titles.

Returning for UCSB's men are Big West standouts Pat Cary and Brooks Felton. At the 2006 Big West Swimming & Diving Championships, Cary grabbed the crown for the 100 and 200 fly, while Brooks earned the top spot in the 1,000 and 1,650 freestyle. At the NCAA Championships Cary swam to All-America status in both events.

The women's team returns Big West Freshman of the Year Katy Freeman and Jessica Cruzat, who was crowned last season's 200 backstroke champion.

The UC Irvine women's team, which captured two first place votes, is picked to finish second with 29 total points. Just two years ago, the Anteaters won their first-ever women's title. Leading the team this season is 2006 Big West Co-Athlete of the Year Chelsea Nagata. On the men's side the Anteaters tallied 25 points to finish in third place.

Recieving two first place votes on the men's side to claim the second spot are the UC Davis Aggies, who grabbed 29 points. The women's squad is picked to finish fourth with 20 points. Last season UC Davis, competing in its second season in the Big West, was edged out by UCSB for both team titles.

The Pacific Tigers men's squad received 20 points to finish in fourth place, while the women's team sits in third with 26 points. This year's women's squad is led by 2006 Big West Co-Athlete of the Year Ja-Neil Bragg, who took home the Big West's 100 free and 200 and 400 individual medley titles just a season ago.

Rounding out the polls are Cal Poly and Cal State Northridge, who are tied for a fifth place finish on the men's side. On the women's side, Cal Poly is selected to finish fifth while Cal State Northridge is slated for sixth.

2006-07 Big West Swimming & Diving Preseason Coaches Poll
(First place votes in parentheses)

Men's Poll
1. UC Santa Barbara (4) - 34 points
2. UC Davis (2) - 29
3. UC Irvine - 25
4. Pacific - 20
T5. Cal Poly - 9
T5. Cal State Northridge -9

Women's Poll 1. UC Santa Barbara (4) - 33 points 2. UC Irvine (2) - 29 3. Pacific - 26 4. UC Davis - 20 5. Cal Poly - 10 6. Cal State Northridge - 8

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