Tritons Face Tough DI Opposition

Women’s go 1-3 and men split weekend 1-1.

photo by Megan Lee
photo by Megan Lee

This past Saturday, the UCSD swimming and dive teams participated in a dual competition against top-ranking NCAA Division-I teams, pulling through with six combined first-place event finishes at home at the Canyonview Aquatic Center.

At the end of the day, the Tritons’ women’s squad, previously ranked No. 2 in NCAA Division-II, came through with a final 13 score, tallying up their count to 34 in dual meets in their current season. In the meet, UCSD defeated former Division-II rival Grand Canyon University (45) with a final score of 160138 but ended up falling to Mountain West Conference sides University of Nevada, Las Vegas (26) with a final count of 186112, Boise State (62) ending in 198101 and crosstown foe San Diego State (81) concluding with 179114. Boise State and SDSU have, among themselves, accounted for the last five Mountain West Championships, with the Boise State Broncos winning titles in 2012 and 2014 and the SDSU Aztecs winning in 2011, 2013 and 2015.

The Tritons men’s squad, ranked fifth, competed during the day in two well-fought matches, ending the day with a 11 final score, leaving them with an even 22 count in dual meets for their current season. The Tritons defeated UNLV (06) with a solid finish of 156131, and after putting up a great fight, the Tritons eventually gave some ground (or water, that is) and succumbed to a loss against Grand Canyon (51) ending in 161137.

Senior Howie Chang was the first first-place finisher for the Tritons that day as he timed 9:43:60 in the 1,000-yard freestyle, which also happened to be his personal record dual mark. Senior Captain Paul Li brought in the first place win for the 800 free relay for the UCSD A squad with the foursome getting a final time of 6:50.77. The A squad consisted of junior Michael Cohn, junior Chandler Pourvahidi and senior Michael Leung. The B squad finished closely behind at second with a final time of 6:51.09, consisting of Chang, sophomore Samuel Lee, freshman Alejandro Ortiz and sophomore Austin Takeda.

Sophomore Julia Toronczak made a stunning first-place finish on the women’s side for the 200 backstroke, finishing with a time of 2:01.49. The feat was even more appraised and noteworthy as she won the event over pool-record holder Iryna Glavnyk of Grand Canyon (2:03.17). On the men’s side, Cohn took the first place for the 200 backstroke in 1:50.05, marking the event sweep by UCSD.

“I like to improve in that race definitely,” Toronczak told the UCSD Athletics Department. “Going around 2:01, it’s looking pretty good for our championship meet, so [I’m] looking forward to that.”

Junior Zachary Yong won the first place for 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:05.18, just ahead of teammate senior AJ Zavala with a time of 2:06.49. Li won another, and the last, first place finish, this time for the 500 free, in which he brought in the time 4:41.27.

Some other great performances by the Tritons included sophomore Kevin Fink’s incredible collegiate debut in the 500 free, finishing in third with a time of 4:43.33. The women’s 800 free relay placed second with a time of 7:39.35, just behind Boise State’s first-place finish with 7:35.47; the team consisted of Toronczak, junior co-captain Natalie Tang, senior Maddy Huttner and redshirt senior Dari Watkins.

For women’s diving, freshman Patty Sullivan was able to place 15th off the one-meter springboard, finishing with 194.80. Senior Allyson Cohen placed similarly for the three-meter board and finished with 198.85. Redshirt freshman Grant Crawford represented the Triton men’s dive squad, and he ended up placing fifth in both of the events, ending with 194.10 for the one-meter and 206.55 for the three-meter. Since the Triton men’s team only fielded one diver, they were held at a disadvantage when Grand Canyon fielded three divers. Without the diver’s points, the Tritons outscored Grand Canyon in swimming by 135129.

The Tritons continued their busiest part of the season with more dual meets on Sunday, Jan 3., hosting Incarnate World, Missouri S&T (men’s squad), SDSU (women’s squad) and SJSU (women’s squad). Following that, they will have another dual meet again next weekend on Saturday, Jan. 9, hosting Cal State Bakersfield, Colorado Mesa and Loyola Marymount University (women’s squad).