As the UC Irvine Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving team approaches the season’s end, Head Coach Brain Pajer likes the position where his Anteaters currently stand.
‘We are right where we want to be two weeks before conference,’ Pajer said.
The Anteaters obviated this upon defeating the UC San Diego Tritons on Jan. 31 with the women recording a final score of 175-125 and the men posting 180-120.
The excitement began almost immediately as the women’s 200-yard medley relay was championed by the women’s A-team with a time of 1:48.15.
Freshman swimmer Ashley DePaul set two records in the women’s 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:05.66 and women’s 100-yard butterfly with a time of 56.16.
‘You always got to give it your best. As a whole we all surprise ourselves,’ DePaul said.
Also widening Irvine’s shivering spectators was fellow A-team member record-setting sophomore Lara Bjargardottir, reigning over both the women’s 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:18.82 and the women’s 200-yard IM with a time of 2:05.58.
The crowd cheered incessantly as it watched UCI’s top swimmers shatter records throughout the meet. The event’s first record was seized by senior Kareem Adnan with a spectacular time of 9:39.88 in the men’s 1,000-yard freestyle. Also contributing to the day’s numerous victories was senior Phil Garcia who displayed exemplary performances in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:42.82 and simultaneously setting records in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 21.04 and the 100-yard freestyle with a mark of 46.08.
Several Anteaters also finished first in their events, missing records by infinitesimal times. Junior Alexis Sheridan understanded this all to well.
‘We swam really well [and] we’re all really, really tired,’ Sheridan said.
Sheridan placed first in the exhausting 1,000-yard freestyle with a strong lead at 10:18.19 and the 500-yard freestyle at 5:03.29.
The San Diego Tritons swam fiercely in the water and secured many wins of their own, including a first place in the men’s 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:35.53, setting a new meet record.
Triton freshman Mike Lahey also earned a new meet record at 52.03 in the 100-yard backstroke.
Interestingly enough, however, is the likely overlooked fact that this season relied heavily on freshman swimmers. The undersclassmen were particularly dominant at this competition because almost half of both teams, the Tritons and the Anteaters, are comprised of these ‘very young and very talented [athletes],’ according to Pajer.