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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Women’s Team of the Quarter: Swimming and Diving

DEBPARNA PRATIHER / AGGIE
DEBPARNA PRATIHER / AGGIE

The UC Davis swimming and diving team has quietly become one of the most successful sports programs on campus, capturing their fourth Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) championship in the six-year history of the conference, and as a result, is The Aggie’s choice for Women’s Team of the Quarter.

Under the leadership of head coach Barbara Jahn and associate head coach Pete Motekaitis, the Aggies dominated the MPFS championship meet held from Feb. 17 to Feb. 20, finishing with 735 total team points, well ahead of second-place Hawai’i which finished with 673 points.
“It’s quite an honor to be selected as the team of the quarter, and I think it’s a testament to the hard work and dedication [our student-athletes put in],” Jahn said. “We like to think that we are the hardest training team on campus, and I truly believe that all of the hard work paid off.”

Freshman Solie Laughlin won an individual conference title at the MPSF championships in the 200-yard Backstroke with a time of one minute, 56.64 seconds. Senior diver Lucy Lafranchise also posted a season-best score of 188.5 in the 2016 NCAA Zone “E” Diving Championships in Flagstaff, Ariz. the following week to finish 36th on the platform.

“The women here are really proud to represent UC Davis. Not a little bit. They are really proud,” Motekaitis said. “They really love to swim with UC Davis on their cap.”

UC Davis will also once again be represented in the NCAA swimming and diving championships next week from March 16 to 19 in Atlanta by junior Hilvy Cheung, for the second time in her collegiate career. Cheung will compete in both the 100 and 200 Fly after posting a school-record and season-best time at the MPSF championships.

“Hilvy just needs to stay in her lane and perform at her best,” Motekaitis said. “It sounds really easy, but when the stage gets really big and the lights get really bright, it’s who does the best job focusing on what they can control.”

For a school where the traditional big time sports programs have struggled in recent years, the UC Davis swimming and diving team has brought consistent success to campus. The 2015-2016 campaign was no exception, bringing yet another MPSF title back to UC Davis in addition to earning the right to compete in the NCAA championship.

Honorable Mention: UC Davis Women’s Basketball

The 2015-2016 UC Davis women’s basketball team posted its best regular season record since the 2011 playoff run, finishing the season at 17-12 overall and 10-6 in the Big West conference. Led by the explosive scoring of redshirt freshman forward Morgan Bertsch and yet another outstanding year for senior forward Alyson Doherty, the Aggies carved up the Big West, outscoring their opponents by an average of 4.07 points per game.

The Aggies upset top ranked UC Riverside in the second round of the Big West tournament in Anaheim on Friday, delivering the Highlanders their first conference loss of the season in the 81-72 victory. UC Riverside entered the matchup on a 17 game win streak, but the Ags shot 68 percent in the second half to eliminate an eight point deficit and earned the right to move on to the Big West Championship game, where they fell to Hawai’i.

Written by: George McConnell – sports@theaggie.org

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