The UC Irvine Men and Women’s Swim teams kicked off their 2003-04 season with the Big West Shootout Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.
Held at the Anteater Aquatics Complex, the two-day duel meet pitted UCI against both conference and non-conference rivals in more than 50 swimming and diving events.
UCI faced off against Cal Poly, Cal State University, Northridge, Brigham Young University, UC Santa Barbara and Denver University in the first day of competition. Irvine was victorious in seven out of eight duels.
Day two was less successful, with UCI winning only two out of eight duels against the University of Washington, University of Hawaii, UC Santa Barbara, Denver University and Brigham Young University.
UCI men’s and women’s Head Coach Brian Pajer believed that his teams ‘did really well [day one]. Our women’s team got past Santa Barbara, a big conference rival, and we had very good swims, on both sides. It looked like the swimmers were a bit more tired [day two], and things did not go as well.’
The Anteaters ended the first day with seven wins and one loss, with the lone loss coming from the men’s team’s defeat to the hands of UC Santa Barbara, 50-85.
The women’s team finished the day undefeated in duel meets, defeating Cal Poly 126-16, CSUN 101-38, UCSB 70-68 and BYU 71-69.
The Men’s team finished day one with victories over Cal Poly 119-16, CSUN 121-18 and Denver University 103-36.
On day two, UCI ended with a duel result of two wins and six losses.
Both the men and women of UCI took a win apiece as the men were victorious over Denver University 75-38 and the women’s team defeated BYU 59-54.
The men’s team suffered defeats to the University of Washington 38-73, the University of Hawaii 73-40 and UCSB 45-66.
The women’s team lost to the University of Washington 39-75, the University of Hawaii 32-81 and UCSB 41.5-69.5.
Senior distance swimmer Semah Zavarch for the women’s team reiterates the turbulence during the two days of competition in the Big West Shootout.
‘I did well the first day, placing first in the mile and second in the 500-meter freestyle. I struggled [the second day], its always tough coming back that second.’
Other notable individual performances in the meet included, on the men’s side, junior swimmer Gonny Shimura, who placed third overall in the 200-meter backstroke.
Sophomore diver Anton Slobounov placed first overall in the three-meter dive, and finishedsecond overall in the one-meter dive.
Senior swimmer Danny Puchalski finished fifth overall in the 200-meter breaststroke, and freshman swimmer Duke Krautim ended second overall in the 400-meter individual medley.
Puchalski felt that he ‘did really well on the first day of competition. The second day was not as good, but it was still fun.’
Outstanding individual performances on the women’s team included sophomore swimmer Lara Bjargardottir.
Bjargardottir placed first overall in the 200-meter breaststroke on the first day of competition and freshman swimmer Aubrie Smallwood, finished second overall in the 200-meter breaststroke the second day of competition.
Zaverah took a third-place finish on the second day for the 1000 free event.
Improvements can already be noticed as the Anteaters head into the start of their season under the guidance of Coach Pajer, and improvements are what Pajer expects out of his swimmers.
‘This is my second year as head coach. Last year we scored more points in the conference championships than we ever had before, and we are definitely looking to improve upon that this year,’ Pajer said.
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