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Davis, California

Monday, September 27, 2021

UC Davis shines at dual meet against Fresno State, UC Santa Barbara

UC Davis ended its dual meet schedule in impressive fashion at the Fresno Aquatics Center, defeating the host Bulldogs 195-105 and Mountain Pacific Sports Federation rival UC Santa Barbara by a score of 180-120 in Saturday’s double dual-meet.

UC Davis captured its first victory over UCSB for the first time since 2006. The Aggies won nine individual events and both relays against both teams to finish their dual schedule with an 8-2 record.

“This was a very good team effort,” said head coach Barbara Jahn. “We focused more on the final results of each event instead of times.”

Junior Liliana Alvarez was UC Davis’ lone overall double event-winner, capturing the two breaststroke events. She posted a time of 1:04.68 in the 100-yard breaststroke, then 2:20.37 in the 200-yard race in the 11th event of the meet.

In addition, junior Samantha Shellem dominated the 500-yard freestyle with a winning time of 5:00.91, four full seconds ahead of Gaucho sophomore Heren Alanis at 5:05.35. She also posted 1:51.62 in the 200 free. In the 200 back, Shellem captured second-place with a 2:04.52.

Junior Katie Edwards edged Fresno State’s Dani Yoho for an overall victory in the 100 free, touching the final pad in 51.89. Edwards also placed second in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:07.50 and third in the 200 free.

The Aggies solidified their lead with two wins in the relays. Hilary Hunt, Morgan Lee, Megan Leung and Haley Porter claimed the win in the 200-yard medley relay at 1:45.37, more than a full second ahead of UC Santa Barbara’s squad. Shellem, Porter, Hunt and Edwards ended the meet with a bang with a 3:29.00 in the 400 relay, outpacing the Gauchos by a 2:29 margin.

The week before, the Aggies took down Cal State Bakersfield 176-113 at the Schaal Aquatics Center.

Juniors Alvarez and Shellem, as well as freshman diver Hanna Tears, each captured two individual event wins. Tears set the school record on the 1-meter board and qualified for the NCAA Zone Regionals in mid-March.

With this win, the Aggies improve to 6-2 in dual meets this season.

Tears scored a 278.40 on the low board to surpass senior Erica Stricker’s benchmark of 265.80. Subsequently, she followed with a 292.35 on the 3-meter board, missing senior Jamie Flynn’s 5-year-old record of 293.55. With these scores, she was able to qualify for regionals.

“She was great,” Jahn said. “Diving is very subjective; it was exciting that she was able to perform.”

In addition, Alvarez swept both of the breaststroke events with a time of 1:04.80. She dominated the field in the 200 breast at 2:22:57, more than seven seconds faster than her nearest competitor.

To top it off, Shellem scored the maximum nine points in the 1,650 freestyle with a time of 17:14.13, the fastest time in this event at the Schaal Aquatics center since Denver’s Michele Lowry set the pool record of 17:07.82 in January 2006. Shellem was more than 20 seconds faster than sophomore teammate Cara Silvas. Later on, she captured an off event, the 200 backstroke.

Also, UC Davis posted the top three times in the 200 individual medley.

The Aggies commemorated five seniors who completed their final home meet at the Aquatics Center: Lee, Bridget Bugbee, Grace Benefield, Nicole Bahbout, and Geneva Azevado.

“We switched up the lineups so some swimmers swam events they weren’t the best at. It was a great meet,” Jahn said.

With a month to focus on its next event, the UC Davis swimming and diving team will look to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Swimming and Diving Championships. The team is already preparing for the season-ending meet on Feb. 20th at East Los Angeles College in Monterey Park, Calif. for the inaugural events of the three-day meet.

The UC Davis divers will travel to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Col. for their three-day championship event.

VEENA BANSAL can be reached at sports@theaggie.org.

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