No. 2 UCSD silences D-I and D-II competition in Long Beach

Following overall outstanding performances at the Nov. 13 dual home meet against Cal State San Bernardino and the Nov. 18 to Nov. 20 Speedo Cup at Belmont Plaza in Long Beach, Calif., the Triton men’s swim and dive team is ranked No. 2 in the national coaches poll. Eleven of the team’s athletes have secured NCAA “A” qualifying times and an additional seven have achieved NCAA “B” qualifying times.

UCSD senior Kurt Boehm was named National Collegiate Swimmer of the Week on Nov. 29 following his showing at the Speedo Cup, in which he not only notched four NCAA “A” qualifying times, but also set four individual school records, as well as taking part in the UCSD record-breaking, second-place 400-medley relay. The recipient of the honor is nominated by coaches, sports information directors and conference representatives, then finally selected by a panel of collegiate coaches from 10 of the best swimming programs in the country.

The Division II Triton men silenced their competition following a second-place overall finish behind Stanford at the Speedo Cup. The field, composed of virtually all Division I teams, could not keep up with the 11 individual Triton racers who posted NCAA “A” qualifying times.

Leading the charge, Boehm beat second-place Stanford racer Matt McDonald by more than a quarter of a second in the 100-yard butterfly, with a time of 48.64 seconds, to capture the first of his four “A” qualifying times in a field of 56 swimmers. In the event, Boehm stole Mark Latronica’s 2000 school record of 48.78 seconds.

Boehm went on to win the 200- fly by more than two full seconds in a time of 1:49.07, beating BYU’s Dougie Broadbent’s second-place 1:51.11, and toppling a 38-competitor field. The 19-year-old school record that Boehm surpassed in the event was set in 1986 by Roger Brisbane’s time of 1:49.81.

Boehm entered the 200 individual medley final heat following a fourth-place preliminary race in a time of 1:51.82, but he disappointed the field by dropping more than two-and-a-half seconds in the finals heat to a 1:49.24, capturing second place to Stanford’s Hongzhe Sun. The finish terminated Travis Miller’s 1993 record time of 1:50.93.

In the 400 individual medley, Boehm did not compete in the final heat; his preliminary time would have seeded him in third position for the finals and could have earned a fourth-place finish had he not improved in the second race. Nonetheless, his time of 3:57.95 was strong enough to merit an NCAA “A” qualifying time.

Boehm’s superior performance was capped by his leg of the UCSD record-setting, 400 medley “A” relay, in which he and teammates senior Brett Going and sophomores Mike Lahey and Andrew Harutunian took second to the Stanford “A” relay in a time of 3:22.24, edging the third-place BYU “A” relay by 0.83 seconds.

Triton distance swimmers demonstrated that they will be a challenge for anyone at the NCAA Division II Championships. Senior Devin Spicer and sophomore Joel Tourtellotte took fifth and sixth places in the 1,650 freestyle, a single body-length apart with their respective times of 15:57.01 and 15:58.24. Both times satisfy NCAA “A” requisites.

Spicer also posted an “A” qualifying time in his eighth-place, 500 free finish in a time of 4:36.17, coming off of a 4:32.93 preliminary time.

Harutunian presented the Tritons with some of the fastest freestyle sprints and splits of his season, including a spectacular 20.09-second anchor split in the fourth-place, 200 medley relay. In the 50 free, he qualified in 21.32 seconds, then came back for finals in a 12th-place, 23.93-second finish. Although Harutunian did not enter the finals heat of the 100 free sprint, his qualifying time of 46.46 would have secured an eighth-place finish out of the 86- competitor field. His 14th-place finish in the 100 fly in 51.33 seconds guarantees that he will remain a fierce challenge through the end of the regular season and beyond. All three of Harutunian’s finishes met NCAA “B” qualifying times.

Boehm aside, three other athletes on the Triton men’s team posted times that landed them into the career top-10 at UCSD, including Spicer’s 500 free, senior Michael Baier’s 200 individual medley time of 1:52.65 and freshman Derek Pettit’s 4:05.63 in the 400 individual medley.

As if the individual successes of the Speedo Cup were not enough, three UCSD relays achieved NCAA “A” qualifying times, including the 200 medley relay, the 400 medley relay, which finished in 3:22.24, and the third-place 800 free relay, in its time of 6:50.33.

In dual meet action on Jan. 2, the Tritons fell to the Washington Huskies at Canyonview Pool in a 151.50–105.50 decision.

Despite strong showings from UCSD athletes, the Huskies won all but four individual events, submitting to Boehm’s dominance in the 200 free, 200 fly and 200 individual medley, then to Going, who captured victory in the 100 breast with a time of 59.09 seconds.

The Tritons took charge in the 200 free relay with a 1:26.04 finish, thanks to fast performances by Harutunian, senior Mark Tate and sophomore Tim Fuller.

Fuller also took second place in the 50 free in a time of 21.78.

The Tritons return to the pool to host their final dual home meet of the 2004-05 season at noon on Jan. 16 against UC Davis.