The UC Irvine Swimming and Diving team defeated the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Mustangs at this season’s last home meet with a final score of 129-103 for the women and 147-81 for the men at the Anteater Aquatics Center on Feb. 7.
Before the match, UCI recognized and cheered for their senior swimmers before they swam in their last conference meet of their Anteater careers.
The 11 seniors included Hazem Amr, Enrique Flores, Phil Garcia, Brian Kim, Michael McKeehan and Danny Puchalski for the men’s team. Codi Jensen, Jennifer Marcus, Stephanie Moore, Jayme Yahr and Semah Zavareh rounded out the women’s team.
The long and anticipated victory began with a record-breaking time for the women’s 400-yard medley relay with a time of 3:58.89, which consisted of junior swimmer Kim Do, sophomore swimmer Lara Bjargardottir and freshman swimmers Ashley DePaul and Michele Kumaus.
The men’s 40-yard medley relay followed with another record-breaking time of 3:27.97. The relay team consisted of freshman swimmers Mike Cohee, Daniel Simonsen, Jeff Pelton and Garcia.
Both teams were cheering on their teammates as the outcomes of races became less predictable. Although the Anteater Aquatics Complex has hosted the past seven meets, Saturday’s was an exhausting swim for the Anteaters. They have been competing and training during the last three consecutive home meets before the Big West Conference Championships, which begins on Feb. 18.
‘[Today’s meet] is good preparation for the conference,’ Kim said. He also stated that the team is very excited to compete against UC Santa Barbara.
UCI’s swimmers maintained control over the scoreboard throughout the meet, as new records poured in from both sides of the team.
In heat two of the men’s 100-yard freestyle, both Garcia, with a time of 46.97, and freshman Eric Reilly, with a time of 47.27, dominated the lanes with record-setting times.
Sophomore diver Anton Slobounov shattered his own record twice. Slobounov performed flawlessly in the men’s one-meter diving contest with a score of 326.33 and in the men’s three-meter diving match with a score of 316.13.
Such displays, according to Assistant Coach Michelle Dienzo will hopefully ‘guarantee them a really good chance at winning the big one at the Big West [Championship] Conference.’
The competition progressed with a fierce race in the women’s 200-yard backstroke, as Irvine’s talented freshman swimmer Mai Tajima sprinted to the finish with a time of 2:05.45 and marginally defeated Cal Poly senior swimmer Stacy Peterson’s time of 2:06.22.
Another of the Mustangs’ senior swimmers, Ben Palmer, set a record of his own in the men’s 200-yard breaststroke with a swift 2:05.07.
Also diving for the Anteaters at Saturday’s competition was sophomore diver Franny Brittle who did not leave without setting a pair of her own records too.
She scored 254.10 in the women’s one-meter diving event and scored 294.38 in the three-meter.
UCI freshman swimmer Melissa Wong broke a record in the women’s 500-yard freestyle as she clocked in at 5:04.24.
In addition to setting records, several of the Anteaters placed first in their respective races. Junior swimmer Alexis Sheridan swam strongly in the grueling women’s 1000-yard freestyle, an event she regularly dominates, with a time of 10:34.12.
Pelton took command in his race, the men’s 200-yard butterfly, with a time of 1:57.40. Freshman swimmer Mike Cohee won the men’s 200-yard backstroke in 1:56.55.
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