Swimmers Outlast Conference Rival LMU

SWIMMING & DIVING — The Triton women took a narrow victory over conference rival Loyola Marymount University on Jan. 9, but were then dominated by Division-I powerhouse University of Kansas while still on the LMU campus.

Despite a 150-53 loss to Kansas, UCSD solidified itself as a conference powerhouse overall, edging out LMU in the final heat of the competition.

“You just have to take it one meet at a time,” senior captain Cari Cunningham said. “This was against our biggest conference rival, so we were really focused.”

The University of Kansas took the meet by storm, placing first in nine of 11 events. The real competition was between the Lions and Tritons — a race for points that oscillated all day.

Historically, LMU has pushed the Tritons to their limit in the pool. After falling to the Lions by a slim margin two years ago, the Tritons have since maintained an advantage with four straight victories in the rivalry.

Though no Triton took first in any race, the team showed its racing breadth by finishing near the top in all 11 races.

Neither the Tritons nor the Lions could gain a substantial lead throughout the competition. However, UCSD built a small advantage late in the meet, after Cunningham finished second and sophomore Neda Nguyen finished third in the 200-yard breaststroke. The small margin was all the Tritons needed: The quartet of Shimura, freshman Amber Tan, sophomore Shea Kopp and junior Jessica Ferguson sealed the victory with a second-place finish in the 400 freestyle relay.

In light of the extensive workload placed upon them this weekend, Cunningham said her team handled the pressure well.

“We usually have doubles every day, so we’re used to having to work hard and get back in the water and perform at a high level again,” Cunningham said.

Head coach Scott McGihon said he isn’t worried about the team’s ability to recover in time for nationals.

“We don’t change our training if we have a dual-meet situation,” McGihon said. “You just train through it, and training is all about learning to maximize with minimal recovery time.”

After the tough match at LMU, the Tritons returned home to take on Grand Canyon University and the University of the Incarnate Word. Both the men’s and women’s teams landed easy victories. Senior Dan Perdew scored his best times this season in the 50 free and 100 fly events, while sophomore Alex Henley made Nationals with an automatic-qualifying time of 2:05.77 in the 200 fly — headlining the women’s victory. Senior diver Danielle Niculescu registered the only victory for the diving teams in the one-meter.

The Triton women return to the water next Saturday, Jan. 16 against the University of San Diego at Canyonview Pool.

Readers can contact Tyler Nelson at [email protected].

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