Final Relay Powers UCSD Over Cal Baptist

“It was a close meet, closer than we expected,” head coach Scott McGihon said. “They were more ready to go fast than we were in terms of our training cycle, but we needed to be tested and we needed to battle through this.”

Going into the final race — the 400-yard freestyle relay — the women’s teams from the two schools were separated by just seven points, with Cal Baptist in the lead. Relays have traditionally been a point of strength for Triton swim teams, and this season has proven no exception.

With their two captains, junior Alex Henley and senior Anju Shimura, leading off in the race and sophomore Amber Tan and freshman Anji Shakya following, the Tritons finished in 3:34.34, winning by a comfortable seven-second margin over the Lancers.

“We put up our best team out there on the relay and we beat them,” McGihon said.

Henley continued her dominating performance this season, taking first place in the 200 freestyle (1:54.39) and the 200 butterfly (2:03.94) to keep the Tritons in contention before coming through in the final relay. Shakya continues to leave her mark on UCSD swimming, as she won the 200 backstroke with a time of 2:08.83. Junior Neda Nguyen scored the other two victories the Tritons had on the day, winning the 100 breast stroke (1:07.27) and the 200 breast stroke (2:25.43).

“With the meet being so close, we were looking for people to step up, and they did,” McGihon said.

This season, many athletes have been shifting races and competing in different events, experimenting with what works and who performs well. The team is trying to find its best performers in each event in order for more to players to qualify for conference and national championships.

“We went into the meet looking to give people some opportunity to swim some new events,” McGihon said. “One of our team’s abilities is their depth. We can put anyone into a race and they’ll perform well.”

On the men’s side, junior Matt Herman won the longest races of the day, the 1000- and 500-yard freestyle races, with times of 9:44.94 and 4:41.53, respectively. Junior Blake Langland won the 50 freestyle (21.13) for the second straight meet and swam a personal best during the final leg of the men’s 400 relay at the end of the day.

Despite the results, McGihon said the team would not peak until later this season.

“The majority of our team will be focusing on conference championships for the next three weeks, and trying to get their times,” McGihon said. “But the people who have already qualified for national championships will work on a different training regimen, waiting to peak until later.”

The Tritons will have their final home meet this weekend. The men’s team will take on Hawaii and Wyoming on Friday, Jan. 28 at noon, and the women’s team will face Hawaii, Wyoming and San Diego State on Saturday, Jan. 29 at noon.

Readers can contact Tyler Nelson at [email protected]

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