Aggies Outlast Tritons in Davis

SWIMMING — While the majority of the campus’ attention was focused on the Jan. 30 Spirit Night basketball games, the UCSD swimming and diving teams were fighting their own battle against UC Davis.

The meet signified the last official competition before conference championships, and brings to close a stellar season for the Triton swimmers that saw the men go 5-3 and the women go 8-5 in all competitions.

Despite several stellar performances from individual athletes — the Tritons were overcome by their in-state opponents.

Both the men’s and women’s teams won seven of 16 events, falling by scores of 174-122 and 155-145, respectively.

“It’s really hard to lose,” senior captain Carianne Cunningham said. “Our goal yesterday was definitely to come out on top, and it was extremely close. The fact that it was so close is pretty exciting. We’ve come a long way.”

The day began with the women’s 200-yard medley relay. Junior captain Anju Shimura, sophomore Mercedes O’Brien, junior Jessica Ferguson and freshman Amber Tan fell to the Aggies by a mere second — a race that foreshadowed many close finishes to come.

Shortly following the relay event, freshman Beth Dong captured the Tritons’ first win with a dominating finish in the 1,000-yard freestyle, posting a time of 10:34.99.

Sophomore Alex Henley turned in the most comprehensive Triton performance of the day: She turned in first -place finishes for the 200-yard freestyle (1:53.61), the 500-yard freestyle (5:06.59) and the 200-yard individual medley (2:05.69).

The women swept the podium in the 500-yard freestyle with freshmen Megan Thomas and Olivia Martens following Henley in second and third, respectively.

“Alex Henley has been swimming amazingly all year, pulling out victories pretty much whenever we need them,” Cunningham said. “Right now it’s really exciting to watch her swim.”

Also on the women’s side, O’Brien won the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:06.29, and senior captain Cunningham took the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:22.64.

“It feels pretty good to win an event, even though we didn’t win overall,” Cunningham said. “I just had my motivations for my swim, and felt good to pull out ahead against a D-I school with D-I swimmers.”

On the men’s side, senior Daniel Perdew won multiple individual events, and also swam for the 400-yard freestyle relay team that came in first.

Perdew won his prime event — the 50-yard freestyle — with a lightning -quick flip off the wall, and finished at 21.16 seconds. Following his freestyle performance, Perdew took the 100-yard butterfly in 51.29.

More wins for the men’s team included senior Juan Pablo Carrillo in the 100-yard breaststroke (57.38), senior Todd Langland in the 100-yard freestyle (46.58) and freshman John Masehi-Lano in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:08.22). The men’s 400-yard freestyle relay team of Langland, freshman Julius Espiritu, sophomore Blake Langland and Perdew closed out the meet with a win in 3:05.80.

Once the diving teams took to the board, senior Danielle Niculescu snagged first in the three-meter and second in the one-meter events for the women. Sophomore Bryan McGrory matched Niculescu for the men, and freshman Tyler Runsten grabbed third in the one-meter.

In two weeks, the Tritons will now travel to Long Beach in two weeks for the Pacific Coast Swimming Conference championship meet.

The Tritons will try to make the best of their strong season by qualifying as many swimmers as they can for the NCAA Division-II Championships, which take place from Mar. 10 to Mar. 13 in Canton, Oh.

“This is the last chance to qualify for nationals, so I think the whole team is going to be focused and swim hard,” Cunningham said. “We’re just going to be ready to move fast.”

Readers can contact Tyler Nelson at [email protected].