December 14, 2007

Gauchos Going For Broke In UNLV Winter Invite

Dec. 14, 2007

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The Schedule
Nov. 29- Dec. 1
UCSB at UNLV Winter Invite, All Day
Buchanan Natatorium
Las Vegas, Nev.

Last Time
Nov. 17
UCSB at Husky Invite

Weekly Roundup
The Gauchos boarded a plane bound for Washington two weeks ago with only an inkling of what an impressive weekend they were about to have. At the end of it all, UCSB left the Husky Invite with eight school records, four Olympic Trial qualifiers, two NCAA automatic cut times, and 15 NCAA consideration cut times. The women claimed fourth place out of 12 at the meet with a total of 823.5 points and the men scored 643 points to land in fifth out of a field of 10.

A+ Performance
Freshman Sara Nicponski made her presence felt by breaking two UCSB school records in the 100 and 200 breaststroke. Her times also made the NCAA automatic cut for the NCAA Championships in both events. Nicponski started off her meet by making the automatic cut time during the prelims of the 100 breast. However, in the finals she took-off, setting her school record of 1:01.56, not to mention posting her personal best time. The next day proved to be just as successful as she broke the year-old UCSB 200 breast school record in 2:13.63. At the end of the weekend, swimmers were given an opportunity to swim in long course races to try and make NCAA or Olympic Trial qualifying times. Nicponski swam the 100 breast in 1:11.55 to beat the Olympic Trials qualifying time of 1:12.59. She now gets a trip to take the trip Omaha to compete in the 2008 Olympic Trials.

Setting the Record Straight
Six other school records were broken at the Invite, including four relay records by the women. The women's 200 freestyle relay team started the meet off on the right foot, earning first place in a close race with Washington. The Husky competition helped UCSB beat the old school record by .19 of a second and setting the new one at 1:32.47. The Gauchos also took second place in the women's 400 medley relay with a time of 3:41.03. This beat the previous UCSB record by 3.24 seconds. On day two, the women's 200 medley relay team came in second place behind USC with a time a 1:41.67. The relay team's time put them on top of UCSB's list by .85 of a second. On the last day of competition, the 400 free relay finished first again with Washington chashing them down. The Gauchos proved to be faster though winning the race in the school record time of 3:22.02.

Sophomore Anne Marie May was a member of all four relay teams and even threw in an individual school record of her own. May broke her own school record from last year by swimming the leadoff leg of the 400 freestyle relay in 50.10. Sophomore Matt Bartlett had his own victory lap after his record-setting performance in the 200 free. Even though he made the consolation final, Bartlett came out swinging and beat most of the times from the championship final. His time of 1:37.67 beats teammate Scott Vogelgesang's school record time from last year by .09 of a second. All the school record performances also made the NCAA consideration cut.

Considering the Odds
Several athletes made NCAA consideration cut times, which means come March these swimmers may get a chance to swim at the NCAA Championships if the set number of swimmers for each event is not filled with those who made automatic cut times. One person who might see his chance is Bartlett, who manuevered his way to fourth place in the 200 IM (1:48.53), making the qualifying time. He was also able to come up with the B qualifying time in the 200 fly along with a personal best in the event (1:45.99). The men's 200 free relay team placed third beating out Michigan (1:20.35) and making the "B" standard. May found her way to a consideration cut time in the 50 free by turning out a time of 22.64.

Sophomore Chris Wiggin swam to a personal best in the 200 fly which made his consideration cut time of 1:47.98 even better. In the 100 free, Bradley Matsumoto charged full steam ahead with his relay leadoff time of 44.17, which was good enough for the B cut off. His time also helped qualify the men's 400 free relay team also make the B qualfying time in 2:59.14. Junior Katy Freeman was right behind teammate Nicponski in the 200 breast making the NCAA consideration cut in 2:16.53. In the long course competition of the 100m free, Vogelgesang placed first in 51.31, qualifying him for a consideration cut time.

Omaha Bound
Other than Nicponski, several other individuals qualified for the Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb. this summer. One such individual was Matsumoto who competed in the long course version of the 50m, his time was not fast enough to qualify, so he went to his next best option. He swam the 100m but the catch is, he swam the first 50m as fast as he could because that split counts to qualify. Matsumoto's plan worked and his split of 23.44 propelled him to the Trials. Swimming almost alongside his teammate in the 100m, Vogelgesang used Matsumoto's momentum and qualified for the trials with his time of 51.31. Wiggin took part in the 200m long course race and finished second to former Gaucho Pat Cary who was racing unattached. His time of 2:03.24 also qualifies him for Omaha. The Trials are set for June 29-July 6.

What Happens in Vegas, Eventually Comes Back to Santa Barbara
Last season, the men's team won the jackpot beating seven Division I, II, and III teams for the top spot at the Vegas Invite. Cary and junior Chris Good were the standout stars that weekend, each winning mutiple events at the meet. The women had their own share of luck winning the team title over 10 others at the invitational. Former Gaucho standout Jen Schwalb won four events and the 200 free relay team broke the UCSB record that had been in place since 1988.