USD Gives UCSD its Ninth in a Row

SWIMMING & DIVING — After competing in two meets last weekend, the UCSD women’s swim team defeated Division-I crosstown rival University of San Diego for the ninth time in a row on Saturday, Jan. 16. The Tritons took 11 of the 16 events in close calls and touch-out wins.

In the end, the Tritons defeated the Toreros 168.5-130.5 at Canyonview Pool this past weekend. Senior captain Cari Cunningham looks forward to improving times before the conference championship meet next February.

“The girls were really pumped before the meet,” Cunningham said. “We had eight straight victories, and we really wanted to make it nine. I really wanted to finish undefeated against them in my senior year. You could see it in our swimming — we just wanted it.”

In light of the dive meet results from Thursday, Jan. 14, Junior captain Anju Shimura stressed the importance of a strong start.

“We came into the meet 26 points behind after the dive meet Thursday,” Shimura said. “We definitely caught up quickly with all the relays in the first event.”

The day began with a half-second win for the UCSD 200-yard medley relay team — Shimura, sophomore Mercedes O’Brien, junior Jessica Ferguson and freshman Katherine Tse — with a time of 1:48.11.

Sophomore Alex Henley led the Tritons by winning the 200-yard freestyle (1:52.89), the 200-yard backstroke (2:04.45) and the 200-yard individual medley (2:09.13).

Shimura (100-yard freestyle, 100-yard backstroke) and freshman Beth Dong (500-yard freestyle, 1,000-yard freestyle) both won two events for the Tritons.

“We started off the meet really strong,” Cunningham said. “It was definitely what we needed to get going.”

Both teams fought bitterly for advantage in a close race, with winners edging ahead by mere hundredths of seconds on several occasions.

“Everyone swam really well today, and there were a lot of touch-outs where we won in the very last second,” Shimura said. “It was really exciting, but nerve-wracking at the same time.”

In the 200-yard freestyle, Henley won by two-hundredths of a second, O’Brien lost the 100-yard breaststroke by two-tenths of a second, freshman Amber Tan dropped the 50-yard freestyle by three-hundredths of a second and Shimura won the 100-yard freestyle by half a second. It was an incredibly close day, but the Tritons overcame their injuries to claim victory in more close races than not.

The best race for UCSD was the 200-yard butterfly: The Tritons took all three top spots, led by senior Karla Holman’s time of 2:09.70. In their last race, the 400-yard freestyle relay — Shimura, Tan, Tse and Ferguson — won with a time of 3:30.65.

“There is definitely more preparation going into the meet against an in-city rival,” Shimura said. “Before the meet we had a motivational speech from [head coach] Scott [McGihon], and that pumped us up.”

The Tritons are back in action next weekend at Canyonview Pool for their last home meet of the year, which will be against California Baptist University.

It will be senior day — the last chance for many Triton swimmers to swim at their home pool before the final championship races.

“I want to have fun with it next week,” Cunningham said. “I just want to enjoy my last meet at home and be with the team. But season-best times would be great.”

Readers can contact Tyler Nelson at [email protected].

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