The UC Davis men’s and women’s swimming teams were swept by UC Santa Barbara on Saturday afternoon in its first conference dual of 2009.
The defending Big West Conference champions made for a humbling appearance for the Aggies, winning 22 of 28 events on the day.
Both Gauchos teams were picked earlier this season to be repeat champions in the preseason coaches‘ poll, and the dual this weekend did little to shakeup the rankings.
This was the third straight season the UC Davis men were swept by the Gauchos, this time by a margin of 168-94.
The men’s team was expected to put up wins against UCSB in the relay events, but took second in all.
“The good thing about racing the Gauchos is there’s a little bit of extra intensity,” men’s coach Pete Motekaitis. “All of our strength or weaknesses are shown when we compete against them. They are the defending conference champions and they have a very good team. They have a lot of speed and a lot of senior experience. They’re a very tough foe.“
The men did celebrate a couple of wins, as sophomore Adam Borchard and junior Scott Weltz claimed a pair of wins apiece.
Borchard and senior Alex Arbios finished first and second, respectively, in the men’s 1,000 freestyle. The win came with both Borchard and Arbios coming from behind at the 500-yard mark and then making a strong push to the finish.
Borchard also won the 500 free in 4:36.90, blowing out the second place finisher by almost five seconds.
Weltz also succeeded in winning the 200 free in 1:52.91.
The men’s dual record falls to 6-3 overall and 4-1 in conference meets this season.
Turning toward the women’s side of events, it was expected that the UCSB team would be strong, evidenced by its final score of 154.5-87.5 to sweep UC Davis. The Aggie women drop to 7-9 in duals this season.
“[UCSB] is a good team to have early in the season because it helps our swimmers refocus and change their mindset from a training mode to a racing mode,” women’s coach Barbara Jahn. “It’s just a different mentality.
The event to watch on the women’s side was the 200 breaststroke, as current conference record holder Heidi Kucera of UC Davis faced off with the top three 200 breast swimmers in the conference from UCSB. Not to disappoint, Kucera out touched all three for the win. She also won the 200 IM and 400 IM.
Kucera had season bests in the 200 breast and 200 IM. Her time in the 200 breast (2:16.43) beat out UCSB’s Katy Freeman by a 10th of a second.
Freeman is currently the No. 11 ranked 200 breaststroke swimmer in the nation.
The dual this weekend marked the second of five consecutive weekends of races for the Aggies.
Taking the dual into consideration, the Aggies maintain their confidence as they look for a rematch against the Gauchos at the Big West Championships at the end of February.
Next weekend, the Aggies travel to Pacific. Last season, the men beat the Tigers 168-121 at home.
ANDREA GUTIERREZ can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.