A recap of four days of competition from Feb. 18-21
Relentless hard work and dedication rewarded the Aggies with a slew of excellent finishes that were riddled with season best times and satisfying team results. Though separated by distance – the divers held their events in Pasadena, Calif., and the swimmers held theirs at the East Los Angeles College – the athletes fought as a team, in the end succumbing only to Hawai’i.
The UC Davis swimming and diving team competed in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships from Feb. 18-21, placing second. The Aggies put up an admirable fight, and held on to their second place position throughout the duration of the weekend.
Day one, Feb. 18, proved to be a slow start as both swimmers and divers eased into the weekend competition.
Three Aggie divers dove to top-10 finishes in the 1-meter diving event. Juniors Lucy Lafranchise and Audrey DeNeffe placed fifth and seventh, with scores of 247.30 and 241.75, respectively, and sophomore Serena Yee came in 10th with 237.00.
The swim relay was made up of senior Samantha Shellem, freshman Robin Lampron, junior Marissa Brown and sophomore Kirsten Brand came up second in the 800 freestyle with a season best time of 7:18.02, despite losing to Hawai’i (7:14.88) in the race itself.
With another season best time of 1:41.04, senior Hilary Hunt, junior Hailey Ferko, sophomore Hilvy Cheung and Shellem placed fourth in the 200 medley relay.
Day two brought no definitive wins, but strong efforts from Shellem who placed second in the 500 free with a season-best time of 4:49.95, and the free relay “A” team, comprised of Cheung, junior Brittany Rojo, Brand and Hunt, who touched the wall at 1:32.36 in third, grabbing yet another season best time.
The divers took four top-eight finishes, earning the places five through eight in the championship final for the 3-meter board. Lafranchise (235.90) ended at fifth, followed by senior Shannon Stewart (232.80), junior Hanna Tears (229.85) and Yee (222.00) for slots six through eight.
The Aggies finished this day tied for second with UC Santa Barbara at 192 points, while Hawai’i led with 293 and Pacific trailed with 173.
The third day of the championships went well for the Aggies as the swimmers won their only relay of the weekend, the 400 medley. Swam by Hunt, Ferko, Cheung and Shellem, the “A” relay team clocked in at 3:40.87.
Cheung beat the competition in the 100 fly, rushing into the wall at 53.65 and exiting the pool with her first MPSF title and a qualifying NCAA “B” time. Hunt came in second in the 100 back with 54.42, less than half a second behind BYU’s Haley Bertoldo.
Two season low times awaited Shellem and Ferko, who placed third in the 200 free with 1:48.11 and fifth in the 100 breast with 1:02.98, respectively. Brown placed sixth in the 400 individual medley (4:24.45) and senior Karley Troup seventh (4:26.19).
In the women’s platform diving event, three Aggies dove their way into top-10 spots. DeNeffe scored highest of her teammates at 189.90, locking her into a seventh place finish. Lafranchise (185.00) and freshman Angelina Proshak (182.35) closely followed DeNeffe for the ninth and 10th places. This brought the diving portion of the championships to a close.
The fourth and final day of the the MPSF championships was a good one for the Aggies, as six swimmers broke previous season best times.
Cheung nabbed her second championship title in the 200 fly, sporting a season best 1:57.35, with senior Megan Leung as the closest Aggie behind her, coming in fourth at 2:02.63.
Brown crushed her previous record of 17:00.39 in the 1650 free with a new time of 16:46.25. Also in free events, Shellem (50.34) and Brand (51.09) both set season bests and hit the wall for subsequent fourth and fifth positions.
Hunt, in another NCAA “B” qualification time of 1:58.56 in the 200 back went home with a second place finish, and sophomore Elise Roberts came up for air in sixth place in the 200 breast, at 2:18.32.
The “A” team 400 free relay, comprised of Cheung, Shellem, Brand and Hunt finished the championships in fourth place, with yet another season best time of 3:23.04.
Though disappointed with falling short of the championship title, the UC Davis swimming and diving team went after their competition with a zeal that was reflected in their numerous accomplishments during the weekend. Hawai’i finished with 747 points, UC Davis with 632 and UC Santa Barbara with 585.5. A select few Aggies will return Mar. 9-11 for the NCAA Zone Diving Championships in Colorado Springs in the hopes of qualifying for the NCAA Championships Mar. 19-21 in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Graphic by Sandra Bae