Blowout Sets Up Swimmers For Tests to Come

    The Tritons earned mixed results in their butterfly events against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, splitting the 100-yard and 200-yard events for both the men’s and women’s teams. (Jimmy Kan/Guardian)

    SWIVE — If the Tritons were rusty from the offseason, it didn’t show during their first competition since mid-March. Kicking off the 2008-09 season right, the UCSD swimming and diving team completely dominated its dual meet against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Oct. 25 at home.

    The team won 29 out of 32 events, crushing the Stags 202-90 in the meet. But while the win was a plus, the squad’s main focus wasn’t on victory.

    “Mainly, we just wanted to get in and swim in our first competition in awhile,” senior captain Daniel Perdew said. “It was good for our freshmen to compete and get the race strategy down.”

    Senior captain Steven Hardy showed strong racing technique, outlasting his opponents on the starts and turns to claim victories in the 200-yard freestyle, 200-yard individual medley and 200-yard backstroke races.

    Perdew also garnered three individual wins in the meet in the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly.

    On the women’s side, the CMS backstrokers were no match for sophomore backstroker Anju Shimura, who won both the 100-yard and 200-yard races handily. Shimura’s time of 59.01 seconds was the only swim under one minute in the 100-yard event.

    UCSD also won all four relays of the day, with the women’s 200-yard medley relay being the only close race.

    The Tritons pulled solid swims from a few members of their large freshmen class. Freshman Alexandra Henley burst strong off the starting block in the 200-yard individual medley race, building a lead early and never letting up, finally winning the race by almost four seconds with a time of 2:10.71. Freshman Shea Kopp also had a good showing for UCSD, sprinting to a first-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle event.

    The freshmen’s ability to adjust from high school to college competition will be a huge factor in how the team performs this season. Since the Tritons did not graduate many swimmers last season, the rookie class has the potential to make a real difference for the squad.

    “I think the freshmen are adjusting really well and are doing an amazing job,” Panis said. “It’s one of the strongest freshmen classes we’ve had. Some of them can and will compete at the national level — they’re very talented. They swam really well [against CMS] and are ready for college competition.”

    Swimming against CMS was even harder for the rookies because, as a dual meet, the Tritons didn’t rest before the competition.

    “They did very well but some of them were a little nervous,” head coach Scott McGihon said. “It’s a team policy not to rest for dual meets so we’re not really sure how they’ll be able to swim.”

    Even though the team is happy with its win over CMS, the Tritons know the real test will be at their next meet, when they host Cal State Bakersfield and UC Davis on Nov. 8.

    “The Bakersfield men have a good team and the women are in a growth period right now,” McGihon said. “They should both be tough races.”

    Facing UC Davis might prove to be an even harsher assignment for the Tritons, as they haven’t beaten the Aggies in four years.

    “It’s been a while since we beat Davis in a dual meet — not since they moved to Division I and have more resources,” McGihon said.

    After finally getting in their first meet, the Tritons now understand where they need to improve in preparation for the upcoming competitions.

    “Everybody’s going to be in shape eventually this season,” Perdew said. “We just need to work on the small things like starts and turns.”

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