Swimming champs crowned

    At this year’s Pacific Collegiate Swim Conference Championships, the UCSD women’s swim team reclaimed the conference champion title, while the men’s team placed third. The four-day meet took place at Belmont Plaza in Long Beach, Calif., from Feb. 11 to Feb. 14.

    After winning the meet in 2002, the Triton women fell to UC Davis last year. This year, they beat UC Davis by of over 200 points. UCSD finished with 1,391 points, followed by UC Davis with 1,118 and University of San Diego with 1,041. Both UC Davis and USD are Division I teams.

    In the men’s competition, UC Davis surpassed defending champion Cal State Bakersfield (1,445) with 1,468 points. UCSD’s final point total was 1,145.

    Further honor was bestowed on UCSD when head coach Scott McGihon was chosen as the PCSC Championships Coach of the Year for his work with the women’s team.

    “That’s really more a reflection of the team’s accomplishments than of anything I did. If they don’t swim well, no one gets any awards,” McGihon said. “To me, that’s really more team-of-the-year than coach-of-the-year.”

    The UCSD women dominated the meet from the second day onward. The first day included only relays and diving, and UCSD got off to a weak start, trailing UC Davis and Pepperdine. However, the team bounced back with several fast swims on Feb. 12, the first day of individual competition, and amassed a 150-point lead.

    Sophomore Sophie Levy won the 500-yard freestyle in a time of 4 minutes, 59.11 seconds. Senior Denise Bogard placed second in the 200-yard individual medley (2:06.07), and freshman Emily Harlan claimed third in the 50-yard freestyle (23.67). The Triton women were able to maintain their lead on the third day with eight top-eight finishes in individual events. Among these was sophomore Rosanna Delurgio’s win in the 100-yard breaststroke. Her time, 1:02.92, tied her own PCSC record.

    As usual, Bogard was right behind Delurgio, earning a 1-2 finish for UCSD. Bogard’s time was 1:03.48.

    Another big point-scorer on the third day was freshman Susan Bell, who came in third in the 400-yard individual medley (4:33.03).

    UCSD finished off the meet with a bang, claiming 10 top-eight individual finishes on Feb. 14.

    Delurgio and Levy each earned another conference title. Delurgio triumphed in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:16.74). Winning the 1,650-yard freestyle, Levy broke UCSD’s longest standing record. Her time of 17:10.65 beat Tracy Mulvany’s 1988 record of 17:12.84 by over two seconds.

    With a time of 51.42 in the 100-yard freestyle, Harlan also broke a school record.

    Other significant swims for the Tritons on day four included freshman Andrea Lippin’s second-place 1,650-yard freestyle (17:17.91), Bogard’s third-place 200-yard breaststroke (2:20.83), and Bell’s third-place 200-yard backstroke (2:06.87).

    Throughout the meet, the UCSD women rose above the other teams in the relays, winning three out of five relay events. Most significant was the 200-yard freestyle relay, in which UCSD beat Cal State Bakersfield by only one one-hundredth of a second and set a meet record of 1:35.64. The relay team (senior Carolyn Kwok, freshman Liz Whiteley, Delurgio and Harlan) is undefeated this season.

    On beating UC Davis and winning conference, Kwok said, “We came into this meet with a goal and came out achieving it, together. Every single person on this team — men, women, swimmers and divers — played a role in contributing to the win, showing how great our team is both in and out of the water.”

    On the men’s side, UCSD claimed two second-place finishes in relay events. In the 800-yard freestyle relay, the team of freshman Michael Lahey, senior John Pearce, freshman Tim Fuller and junior Brady Gosling finished in 6:51.00. The 200-yard freestyle relay (freshman Andy Harutunian, sophomore Mike Isaacs, junior Mark Tate and senior Rob Small) had a time of 1:24.60.

    The men, like the women, improved their performance in individual events as the meet progressed. On the second day, the only top-three finish for UCSD was Pearce’s 500-yard freestyle. He came in third with a time of 4:38.44.

    The next day, the Triton men looked stronger as they earned eight top-eight finishes. In the 100-yard breast stroke, junior Brett Going got the men’s first win (57.11). Behind him was Small, who placed third with a time of 57.64.

    Another third came from sophomore Ben Falcioni, who swam the 400-yard individual medley in 4:06.97.

    Notable swims on the final day of the meet included Pearce’s second place in the 1,650-yard freestyle (16:23.07), freshman Jacob Dong’s second place in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:05.80), Lahey’s third place in the 200-yard backstroke (1:50.68) and Going’s fourth place in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:07.21).

    The divers made important point contributions for UCSD. Sophomore Jennifer Margrave came in third on the one-meter board and fifth on the three-meter board. Freshman Daniel Gordh placed third on the one-meter board and fourth on the three-meter board.

    For both the men and the women, one of the most important accomplishments of the meet was getting more swimmers qualified for the NCAAs. Junior Katie Miller met the cut in a relay, bringing the total number of female qualifiers to 15. Pearce, freshman Aram Yoo and sophomore Barnabus Sclafani also qualified, making the men’s total 13.

    “The fact that we were able to qualify three additional men will strengthen our showing at NCAAs,” McGihon said. “And for us to have some of the finishes we had — not being rested — is very promising.”

    The swimmers and divers are now focusing all their energy on the upcoming NCAA championships. They will leave on March 7 for Buffalo, N.Y., where this year’s competition will be held.

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