Swim and Dive Sinks USD

On Saturday, Feb. 2, the No. 3 nationally ranked UCSD women’s swim team faced off against Division-I University of San Diego in its last home meet of the season, edging the Toreros with an overall score of 156.5–143.5. The Tritons end their season with a record of 8–3, while USD finished with an abysmal 0–6 record.

The result of the dual meet was ultimately determined, as in years past, by the final relay race. In the 400-yard freestyle relay, senior Katherine Tse, freshman Colleen Daley, junior Anji Shakya and senior Amber Tan earned the Tritons the necessary four-point lead to beat USD with a time of 3:28.69, touching the wall only .62 seconds before the top-finishing Toreros.

This marks a huge success for the Tritons, after they tied the Toreros last year with a score of 149–149 and lost to them 172–122 the year before in their annual dual meet.

Team co-captain Shakya and freshman Naomi Thomas gave outstanding performances, critical to the Triton win. Again, Shakya took home multiple first place finishes, including the 400-yard freestyle relay, the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:52.24, and the 200-yard backstroke to touch the wall at 2:05.82.

The other multi-win finisher of the day, Thomas, swept her butterfly events. In the 200-yard butterfly, she finished about half a second ahead of USD’s Keenan Lineback with a time of 2:03.11. Thomas also took first in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 56.79.

Of the eight UCSD wins out of a total of 14 races, other notable Triton individual wins came from seniors Beth Dong and Olivia Fountain. With a time of 2:07.06, Dong took first in the 200-yard individual medley. After teammate Sandy Han got a concussion and was unable to swim, Fountain stepped up to race the 100-yard backstroke a full second faster than her average time in competition to win with a time of 58.49 — only .04 seconds ahead of her USD rival.

“That was really pivotal in my mind, because once you start winning races that we aren’t sure we are going to win, then that really brings confidence,” UCSD head coach Corrie Falcon said.

Although the divers did not take first in any of their events, a 2-3-4 finish proved the best result the Tritons have had as a whole this season.

Falcon also noted significant contributions from the freshmen, as Thomas had one of her strongest meets of the season against the Toreros.

“It’s really nice when you have freshmen who you feel are extremely reliable, because you know your seniors are going to be reliable. To know that your freshman are reliable — that’s the kind of foundation you really want for a program,” Falcon said.

Even after facing some significant losses from the roster, Falcon feels confident that the Tritons can not only bring a high percentage of their current swimmers and divers to championships, but also a larger number of competitors to the NCAA Championships than they ever have before. At the moment, about half of the women’s team has already qualified, while the other half is looking to qualify at conference.

Both the UCSD men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams get some much-needed rest before they head to the 2013 Pacific Collegiate Swimming and Diving Conference in La Mirada from Feb. 13 to Feb. 16, in the hopes of once again attending the NCAA Division II Championships in March in Birmingham, Ala.