Swimmers look to cruise through year

    Entering his second season as coach of UCSD’s swim teams, Scott McGihon hopes to build on the success of last year’s Triton squads.

    Guardian File photo

    In the 2000-2001 season, the men’s team finished with a dual meet record of 6-1, while the women went 8-2. In last year’s NCAA Division II Championships, the Triton men took eighth place, while the women finished third.

    This year, the men’s team is young: 17 of its 26 swimmers are freshmen.

    Two key members of the men’s team, Greg Scott and Ryan Wong, graduated last year. Wong was the Pacific Collegiate Swim Conference Swimmer of the Year.

    To fill their roles, McGihon will look to senior Christian Deck and junior Luke Seed. Seed finished second in the 100-yard breaststroke at the NCAA Championships last year.

    McGihon feels that this year’s recruits are strong and will contribute to the team’s success.

    “”Twelve of these freshmen will be very good, if not all of them,”” McGihon said.

    He hopes freshmen Michael Baier, Grant Miller and Devin Spicer will help carry the Tritons this season.

    The men’s team is strong in every event, especially in the breaststroke and butterfly, McGihon said.

    “”With all of these freshmen on the team, we are rounded out,”” McGihon said.

    The women’s team is also young: It has 12 freshmen.

    Former captain of the women’s team, Sharon Smith, graduated last year. Jennifer Watanabe, a junior, will replace her as captain.

    Watanabe, the holder of 10 UCSD swimming records, competes in the 200-yard butterfly, 200-yard individual medley and 400-yard individual medley. She is expected have an outstanding season.

    Also returning is senior Sandra Lopez, who set the NCAA record in the 200-yard breaststroke last season and is also strong in the 100-yard breaststroke.

    McGihon also has high expectations for freshmen Christine Hygek and Francis Tran.

    “”We aren’t weak in any one area,”” McGihon said.

    The women’s team is strong in the breaststroke and backstroke, he said.

    The first event of the season is the annual Blue and Gold Meet on Oct. 13. The Tritons will officially begin their year with the UCSD Triton Invitational on Oct. 27.

    Both squads will be tested early in their schedules. The Tritons will take on the University of the Pacific on Nov. 9 in Stockton, Calif., and compete against UC Davis on Nov. 10. UC Davis finished fourth at last year’s NCAA Championships.

    Nov. 17, the Tritons will take on Cal State University Bakersfield. A victory there will be especially motivating because Bakersfield’s men’s team has won two consecutive NCAA Championships.

    The Triton swim teams are excited about their chances and the young talent this year on their team. Both squads feel they have a chance to improve on last year’s finishes.

    UCSD’s success will depend on teamwork, according to McGihon.

    “”The freshmen look up to the upperclassmen,”” McGihon said. “”The older swimmers will need to lead by example.””

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