BAKERSFIELD, California October 19. THREE schools new to the Division I ranks competed against each other in men’s and women’s swimming competition today. For Seattle University, it marked the first official year in Division I after a required four-year transition, while Grand Canyon is starting the first year of a four-year transition. Bakersfield, however, has been an official Division I school since the 2010-2011 school year after many years in Division II.
In the men’s competition, Grand Canyon won both of their meets as they beat Bakersfield 156-132 and Seattle 183-79. Bakersfield was able to beat Seattle 189-99. On the women’s side, Bakersfield beat GCU 179-109, while GCU beat Seattle 160-101. CSU was able to beat Seattle 195-93.
Though the newest team to the Division I ranks, Grand Canyon brought the most pedigree to the meet. Though they lost their two individual-event NCAA Division II champions to graduation, Grand Canyon’s men’s and women’s teams still had a good deal of firepower, especially on the men’s side. Bakersfield was the only team to field divers, though Grand Canyon is set to debut a diving program next season.
In the women’s meet, Grand Canyon won six swimming events to Bakersfield’s five, but depth helped give Bakersfield the victory. GCU’s Hannah Kastigar was busy, winning the 200 back in 2:06.24, the 200 fly in 2:02.66 and the 200 IM with a 2:05.32. Also winning for GCU were NCAA Division II finalist Inha Kotsur in the 1000 free (10:34.61), Hannah Peseau in the 100 fly (57.65) and Katie Robertson in the 100 breast (1:06.90).
The Bakersfield women celebrated their team win today with five individual swimming victories: Paola Hernandez in the 100 back (57.19) and 100 free (51.96), Michaela Paige in the 200 free (1:51.58) and 500 free (5:04.43) and Jacelyn Youngerman in the 50 free with a personal best 23.91.
The only win for the Seattle women came in the 200 breast, as Blaise Wittenauer-Lee won by 10 seconds with a 2:17.73.
In the men’s competition, 50 free NCAA Division II champion Michael Branning kicked off his senior year of racing with a runner-up finish in the splash-and-dash to teammate Ilya Glazunov, who won the 50 with a 20.74 to Branning’s 21.10. Glazunov followed it up with a 45.35 to win the 100 free.
Two other GCU rookies posted double wins in Bakersfield. Igor Lytvenok won the 200 back with a 1:48.39 and the 200 IM with a 1:49.91. Aslan Burbayev, in his goal of replacing multiple NCAA champion Eetu Karvonen in a matter of years, won the 100 breast with a 58.06 and the 200 with a 2:07.04.
Seniors Everton Kida and Ivan Nechunayev also won events today. Kida took the 100 back with a 50.45, while Nechunayev won the 100 fly with a 49.51.
Kyle Moline was the sole winner for Seattle in the men’s meet, taking the 200 fly in 1:53.53 ahead of Nechunayev’s 1:54.22.
Bakersfield’s three wins in swimming came from two swimmers. Mitchell Huxhold won the 500 free with a 4:32.19 and the 1000 free with a 9:22.32. Alex Kotliarsky won the 200 free with a 1:41.22.