The Tritons dominate their opponents, sweep the swimming meets
This past Saturday, the UC San Diego swimming and diving teams hosted and swept away the competition in a dual meet in which the Tritons ended up having seven first-place finishes. Senior swimmers, in their separate events, and two freshmen divers became the first to qualify for the NCAA Championships, all while celebrating Senior Day at Canyonview Pool.
Other competitors in attendance included CSU Bakersfield, Colorado Mesa and Loyola Marymount (women’s only). The Triton women’s squad, which is ranked No. 2 in NCAA Division II, were able to escalate its dual meet record above the 0.500 mark to 7–5 after its dominant performance against NCAA Division I CSU Bakersfield by 193-105, dropping down CSUB to 3–5. It then defeated Loyola Marymount with a comfortable score of 220–72, dropping Loyola Marymount’s record to 1–8, and then finishing off the No. 24 ranked Colorado Mesa with a sizeable difference of 214–66, dropping Colorado Mesa’s record to 2–3. The Triton men’s squad followed suit as it was able to notch in a pair of wins over CSUB by 165–133, dropping CSUB to 1–4, and No. 21 Colorado Mesa by 214–66, dropping Colorado Mesa to 2–3. This led to the men improving their record to 5-3.
Freshmen Brooke Abrantes, who was also celebrating her 19th birthday that day, and Patty Sullivan were both able to attain the minimum qualifying score that was needed for the three-meter springboard diving event to head to Indianapolis, IN for the NCAA Division-II Championships in March; they will be able to compete in both the one-meter and three-meter events in Indianapolis. The minimum baseline score to qualify for the NCAA Division-II Championships is set at 265, and Abrantes was easily able to eclipse the requirement by scoring 280.35 points based on her six dives, which also earned her second place. Sullivan placed fourth, narrowly missing the mark with her point total of 260.10, but, through a provision, was granted five more dive attempts. Her 11-dive points of 451.50 easily placed her above the 420 point baseline requirement needed to qualify for the Championships. The freshmen duo ended 2–3 in the one-meter event with 245.85 and 239.30 points.
“Absolutely the highlight of the meet was Brooke and Patty qualifying for NCAA’s and the dive-in,” sixth-year Triton Diving Coach Michelle Casillas told the UCSD Athletics Department. “I’m really proud of both of them. Brooke did two new dives today to increase her degree of difficulty, and the rest of the team also stepped it up and just did really well. They all rallied around each other and pumped each other up, so it was an exciting day.”
In swimming, seniors Colleen Daley and Howie Chang swept the women’s sprint and men’s distance events. Daley, who is also a second-year co-captain, wasn’t able to achieve her own personal records for the season, but she was able to achieve impressive times of 23.73 for the 50 and 52.14 for the 100. Chang was able to get his first NCAA B cut after he pulled through with a 9:35.05 for the 1000-yard freestyle. He later went on to win the 500 with a time of 4:38.97, finishing the race almost a full seven seconds ahead of the rest of the competition.
The team’s tri-captain, senior Cole Heale, took home first in the men’s 50 after sprinting it in 20.91. Fellow senior AJ Zavala won first place in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 58.15 and junior teammate Zachary Young touched in second with a time of 58.27. Young would later go on to win first place in the men’s 200 with a time of 2:04.40 and Zavala would come in second with a time of 2:06.99. Dari Watkins, a fifth-year student athlete who has been longest-standing member of the UCSD swim and dive program as a Triton, competed in her final Senior Day and ended up winning first place in women’s 200 free with a time of 1:53.29 and finishing second in the 100 butterfly with a time of 57:23.
Of the 28 events, Tritons took home 20 first-place honors on Senior Day. There were 15 seniors who competed in their final home meet of their careers, and they were all recognized for their contribution to their team, the program and the university prior to the start of the meet. These 15 seniors were Chang, Daley, Heale, Zavala, Watkins, Michael Leung, Naomi Thomas, Allyson Cohen, Max Halson, Maddy Huttner, Paul Li, Caitlyn Lozano, Alex Moshensky, Kyle Nadler and Garet Webster.
At the end of the day, there were 12 total Triton NCAA consideration times for the NCAA Division-II Championships.
Next up, the Tritons head north up to Riverside, to wage fierce battle in a dual-meet against nationally-ranked Division-II rival California Baptist on Saturday, Jan. 16.