Swimming earns NCAA Division II honors

    Twenty-eight UCSD swimmers traveled to Buffalo, N.Y., to compete in the NCAA Division II championships on March 10 through March 13. The Triton women placed third and the men claimed fifth.

    Truman State won the women’s meet with 641 points, while Cal State Bakersfield triumphed on the men’s side with 718 points.

    The women improved upon last year’s showing by diminishing the point gap between themselves and four-time champions Truman State. Although the Tritons earned third place the past two years, they trailed by only 163 points this year compared to 330 points last year.

    As it did throughout the season, UCSD showed its strength in the breaststroke events. Junior Rosanna Delurgio came from behind to win the 100-yard breaststroke (1 minute, 2.07 seconds) and the 200-yard breaststroke (2:15.76). In the 200, she broke her own NCAA record as well as the UCSD record.

    Senior Denise Bogard placed second in the 100 (1:02.41), just a few hundredths of a second behind Delurgio. UCSD sophomore Louisa Salisbury, took eighth place with a time of 1:06.56.

    Bogard swam an impressive meet, placing in the top four in three events. She started the meet well, winning the national championship in the 200-yard individual medley. Her time of 2:04.76 was the second-fastest in school history. Bogard also claimed fourth place in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:18.67).

    The 50-yard freestyle was another powerhouse event for UCSD. Freshman Emily Harlan came in fourth with a time of 23.54 seconds. Finishing behind her were teammates Delurgio, who placed fifth (23.57 seconds), and senior Carolyn Kwok, who earned eighth (24.15 seconds).

    Head coach Scott McGihon commented on how much stronger the team has become in this event.

    “This year we had three people in finals and one in the consolation heat,” he said. “Last year we had one in [consolations]. That’s a pretty dramatic improvement in one year.”

    Earning points in the distance events for UCSD was sophomore Sophie Levy. Levy claimed two fifth places, one in the 1,000-yard freestyle (10:19.39) and one in the 1,650-yard freestyle (17:15.54). Her time in the 1,000 set a new school record.

    Freshman Susan Bell had an outstanding first appearance at the championships, placing in the top six in three events. She placed fourth in the 400-yard individual medley (4:28.50) and sixth in both the 200-yard individual medley (2:07.04) and the 200-yard backstroke (2:06.50).

    UCSD set three school records in the relays. Most notable was the 200-yard freestyle relay, in which UCSD went undefeated throughout the season. At the finals Kwok, freshman Liz Whiteley, Delurgio and Harlan became national champions with their time of 1:33.93.

    Kwok, a team captain, was elated by their accomplishment.

    “We worked so hard throughout the entire season together, and I just feel so lucky to have been able to share that experience with the three of them,” she said.

    The UCSD men moved up the ranks at this year’s championships. Their fifth-place finish was a big jump from last year’s 14th-place finish, and their point total of 280 was almost three times what they earned last year.

    Senior co-captain Rob Small attributed the team’s improvement to team unity as well as the hard work and influence of incoming swimmers.

    “We had a talented group of freshmen and transfers come in. They were able to bring in a lot of points and they helped veterans go a lot faster in practice. It made for a better all-around team,” he said.

    Small was touched out in the 100-yard breaststroke (56.53 seconds), leaving him in second place. He earned another silver in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:03.56. Both times are second-best in UCSD history.

    Breaststroke proved to be the men’s strength as well, as Small was trailed by junior Brett Going and freshman Jacob Dong. Going came in fifth in the 100 (56.98 seconds) and Dong placed sixth in the 200 (2:06.19).

    Freshman Mike Lahey placed fourth in the 200-yard backstroke. His time of 1:48.55 was less than half a second off the school record. He also came in eighth in the 200-yard individual medley (1:54.69), 10th in the 100-yard backstroke (51.03) and 15th in the 400-yard individual medley (4:05.53).

    Junior transfer John Pearce was another principal point-scorer for UCSD, coming in eighth in the 500-yard freestyle (4:38.29), the 1,000-yard freestyle (9:30.16) and the 1,650-yard freestyle (16:01.37). His time in the 1,000 was UCSD’s second-fastest of all time.

    Sophomore Ben Falcioni took fifth place in the 400-yard individual medley (4:01.39) and 14th in the 200-yard individual medley (1:54.66). Once again, the men’s record books were threatened as Falcioni came close to a UCSD all-time best in the 400, missing it by only a few seconds.

    The UCSD men scored in two relays, the 200-yard freestyle and the 400-yard medley. In the 200, the team of freshman Andy Harutunian, sophomore Mike Isaacs, junior Mark Tate and Small had the fastest UCSD time in 13 years (1:22.87) and placed ninth. In the 400, Lahey, Going, sophomore Barnabus Sclafani and freshman Tim Fuller placed sixth (3:24.70).

    The men’s powerful showing came as something of a surprise to the team. While the coaches and the swimmers knew the team had improved, Small said that they never expected to be in contention for a trophy, an honor bestowed on teams earning fourth place or better.

    “If you had said last year that we’d have a shot at getting a trophy, it would have seemed ridiculous,” Small said. “The team really raised the bar this year. I’m proud of how everyone — rookies and returnees — stepped up in a big way.”

    Coaches and captains agreed that the championships were an excellent cap to a season of improvement for both the men and the women. Although this was the final meet, many swimmers will continue training this spring with hopes of qualifying for the Olympic Trials.

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