Where: Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool – Long Beach, Calif.
When: Wednesday through Saturday, all day
Who to watch: In UC Davis’ last meet against UC San Diego, Ashley Chandler came up big with two individual wins.
More importantly, the Newport Beach, Calif. native swam leadoff for both UC Davis ‘A’ teams in the 200 medley relay as well as the 400 freestyle relay.
As the 200 medley relay is listed as the first event on Wednesday, her performance set the tone for the Aggies.
Did you know: Last season at the Big West Championships, the UC Davis men’s team finished second to UC Santa Barbara by a mere 17 points.
Preview: It has all come down to this.
The preparations, hard work, dual meets, invitationals and winter practices have led up to the Big West Conference Championships. Held in Long Beach, Calif., the event promises the fastest collegiate swimming of the year.
“In a non-Olympic year, NCAA swimming is the fastest swimming in the world,” said coach Pete Motekaitis.
Even though the pace is fast, players must take extra care to remain calm.
“It’s an extremely stressful event.”
Motekaitis also said swimmers may be too excited after preliminaries in the morning and not adequately rest themselves for the finals in the evening.
The format and stress of conference championships do not bother the older swimmers, though. The Aggies have been here before as both squads came in second place to UCSB in 2009.
In order to take the top spot this year, each swimmer must make a difference, inside the pool and out.
This isn’t a problem according to women’s coach Barbara Jahn. After sweeping UC San Diego in their last meet, Jahn said that they were ready to contribute in the Big West Conference Championships.
“They realize they all have value,” Jahn said. “Every single person contributes.”
The Aggies will need to do exactly that to come away with a first-place finish.
– Matt Wang