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Davis, California

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Swimming and diving places second at Big West Conference Championships

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Headline: Swimming and diving places second at Big West Conference Championships

Layercake: Thirteen conference records broken at four-day event

By ANDREA GUTIERREZ

Aggie Sports Writer

The UC Davis swimming and diving team has never looked so strong.

The Aggies made their way into both the school and conference record books this weekend at the Big West Conference Championships.

Both the men and women of UC Davis came home with impressive second-place showings, coming up just a spot shy of UC Santa Barbara.

The four-day event showcased some of the fastest swimmers the Big West has ever seen, as a combined 13 new conference records were set in Long Beach, Calif.

The Aggie women put up a score of 745 points, finishing behind the Gauchos’ score of 880. The women, who were expected to finish third, were pleased with their overall showing.

“The girls performed extremely well,” said coach Barbara Jahn. “They went above expectations, and that was all that I could ask of them.”

The women made an especially strong showing in the 100-yard freestyle. Freshman Kayleigh Foley finished in third (50.15), and was followed closely by teammates Amanda Holman (51.31), Amber Bonds (51.60) and Emily Medved (52.75).

Junior Heidi Kucera went on to continue her winning streak, taking conference titles in the 100 breaststroke and the 400 IM.

Kucera also went on to claim the second spot in the 200 breast in a school-record time of 2:09.41, besting her former personal best by over four seconds.

With that time Kucera, qualified for the NCAA Championships, becoming the first swimmer in UC Davis history to qualify with an A-cut time.

The 200 breast event shattered the former meet records for both the men and women, as Katy Freeman from UCSB took the top spot, while UC Davis’ Scott Weltz destroyed the record in a winning time of 1:54.91 – a full four seconds faster than the previous record.

Weltz’s win was a new meet, conference and school record, and qualified him with a nationally recognized B-cut time.

Despite falling to UCSB, the men swam exceptionally well. An early officiating error potentially cost the Aggies the title, as they fell to the Gauchos by a score of 849.5-832.5 – the closest margin of victory in Big West history.

“We did great,” said coach Pete Motekaitis. “Our goal was to be the best team in UC Davis history and we did just that.”

In addition to Weltz’s win, senior Alex Arbios won the 500- and 1,000-yard freestyles. He also finished second in the 1,650, good for a school record.

Arbios was followed closely by sophomore Adam Borchard, who claimed second in 15:23.94.

“We did well,” Borchard said. “I’m very proud of our team.”

Junior Danny Donnelly walked away with third-place honors in the 200 butterfly, setting another UC Davis record (1:46.54).

The meet went back and forth all week, and while UCSB took the title, the Aggies left with their heads held high.

“We had a lot of heart,” Motekaitis said. “I wish we would have won, but it just wasn’t meant to be.”

ANDREA GUTIERREZ can be reached at sports@theaggie.org.XXX

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