The men’s swimming and diving team captured the 2007 Big West Championship Saturday night at Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in Long Beach. The Anteater finished with 820.5 points, 93 points ahead of second-place UC Santa Barbara.
The men’s team started the championships in fifth place after day one. The team picked up its pace and finished in second place after the second day of competition. Day three finally saw the Anteaters move into first place. On the final day, the men’s team refused to give up the lead as they were able to hold off UCSB for the impressive come-from-behind win.
UCI junior Randall Tom was named the Male Big West Athlete of the Year after winning the 200 individual medley (1:47.01), the 100 fly (46.60), and a finishing in third place finish in the 200 fly (1:45.77). Tom’s time in the 100 fly automatically qualifies him to the NCAA Championships, while his times in the 200 IM and 200 fly made the NCAA ‘B’ cut times.
Tom was also a member of all four relay teams who set new meet records in every race. The team of Eddie Erazo, Dan Simonsen, Tom and Eric Reilly shattered their previous Big West record of 1:29.11 set in 2006 with a time of 1:26.85, just missing the NCAA automatic qualifying time by hundredths of a second. This team also won the 400 medley relay with a new meet record of 3:11.52 (3:15.92 previous). The new meet record in the 200 free relay was 1:19.82 by the team of Will Wollam, Tom, Derek Hingeveld, and Eric Reilly, while Reilly, Tom, Wollam and Mike Cohee won the 400 free relay in 2:56.31.
Erazo was the Big West Champion in the 100 back (47.99) and 200 fly, with a NCAA automatic qualifying time of 1:44.52, also a new meet record. Erazo’s time is the eighth fastest in the country this year. Other Anteater champions include Eric Nugent in the 1-meter diving (225.55), Reilly in the 50 free (20.22), and Cohee in the 200 free (1:37.84).
The Anteater women finished in third place with 631 points, 213 points behind champion UCSB and 47 points behind second-place Pacific. Freshman Lyndsay DePaul was named Female Big West Athlete of the Year.
DePaul won the 400 individual medley with a NCAA automatic qualifying time of 4:14.25 which is a new meet record as well as the 10th-fastest time in the nation.
DePaul also qualified for the NCAA’s in the 200 IM with a time of 2:00.39, a new meet record and 20th-fastest time in the country. DePaul earned her third title in the 200 fly with a NCAA ‘B’ time of 1:59.30.
Chelsea Nagata was a winner in the 100 fly, for the third year in a row, with a time of 23.35. Nagata swam 53.26 in the preliminaries to automatically qualify for the NCAA’s. A champion in the 100 back as well, Nagata swam 54.80 for a NCAA ‘B’ mark.
Other winners include diver Jackie Jones in the 3-meter (273.75) and 1-meter (285.30) competitions, and the team of Nagata, Michelle Kumaus, DePaul, and Tanya Nielsen in the 200 medley relay (1:42.35).
The Anteaters will next compete at the NCAA Championships in Minneapolis. The women’s championships are March 8-10 and the men’s championships are March 15-17. Both championships will be held on the campus of the University of Minnesota.