NCAA Div. I: UOP Remains in Driver’s Seat After Day Two of Big West Champs

BELMONT SHORES, Cal., February 27. UOP is still in the driver's seat after Day 2 of the 2003 Big West women's and men's Swimming & Diving Championship here.

The defending champ Tigers hold a 642-509 advantage over U Cal Santa Barbara on the women's side with only today's events remaining.

The men's race is somewhat closer but the Tigers are still in control, leading 611.5-540.5 over Coach Greg Wilson's Gauchos. U Cal Irvine is third in both, having scored 458 points on the women's side and 390 on the men's.

UOP got 160 relay points for the women's side and 156 for the men's as the Tigers won the opening 200 medley (women) and closing 800 free relay (women-men).

In the women's 200 medley relay, the Tiger quartet won in 1:41.29, just off their meet record 1:40.46 from last season,

The UCSB men's winnng foursome clocked 1:30.87 to break the old meet mark of 1:30.99 by the Tigers from '02. UOP was also under the old standard with its 1:30.93.

* * * * *

The initial women's individual race saw UOP's Laura MacDonald, a freshman who won the 500 free last evening, splash to her second gold of the competition with a meet record 10:03.89 1000 free swim. Her time broke the old record of 10:07.05 by UOP's Kristy Matthews from last season.

In the 100 fly, Shannon Catalano defended her title by winning in 53.63, an NCAA "A" cut that is just off her pr 53.50 from last season's collegiate championships. Teammate Sarah Marshall (56.06) was second.

Next up, Tiger Sarah Houck made it three-for-three for UOP as she stroked to a 4:21.99 gold in the 400 IM. Matthews (4:22.65) won the silver.

Tiger Robin Errecart got into the act with her 1:49.28 200 free victory, followed by UCSB's Romina Mosquera (1:51.58) and teammate Stephanie Netzley (1:52.87). Errecart's time betters the NCAA "B" cut.

Defending 100-200 breast champ Heidi Schmidt from UOP won the four-lapper in 1:02.89 ("B" cut). She holds the UOP and Big West records with her 1:01.32 from '02.

Santa Barbara's Lindsay DaLonzo and Julia King made it a Gaucho sweep of the 100 back, the former winning in 54.60 to her teammate's 55.81. DaLonzo, who set a UCSB record with her 54.41 relay leadoff in the 400 medley last evening, came close today in the prelims with her top-qualifier 54.49

The Tigers won the concluding 800 free relay to wrap up the women's action in 7:29.10 to UCSB's runner-up 7:30.63.

* * * * *

On the men's side, Sarta Barbara fared better and Cal Poly got on the board too.

Gaucho Eric Koch, runner-up in the 500 free, struck gold in the 1000 free with his 9:18.80 win. He set the meet record (9:13.60) two seasons ago.

Teammate Shaun Grossman made it a pair of UCSB wins when he touched first in the 400 IM (3:57.36) with Gaucho Matt Wheeler (3:58.38) next.

Tiger Will McLaughlin got UOP on the board for the first time in an individual race with his 49.00 100 fly victory. Teammate Vince Martinez, 50 free champ (20.07), was next in 49.29 and Peter Richardson completed the sweep with his 50.06 for third.

UOP's Matthew Smart, who won the 200 free two seasons ago but who studied abroad last year, showed that his year away from competition hindered him not in the least as he won tonight in 1:37.67, an NCAA consideration cut.

UCI's Phil Garcia (1:38.09) earned the silver.

In the 100 breast, Cal Poly's Ben Palmer — who medaled in the 200 IM — upset UOP's defending champ Filip Wronski with a 55.80 clocking. The Tiger All-America, who's defending 200 breast champ too, was runner-up in 55.88. Palmer was even quicker in the morning with his pr 55.40. Both swimmers bettered the "B" standard of 55.92.

Gaucho Patrick Ota stroked to the 100 back win in 50.47 with teammate Ervin next (50.54).

UOP had things all its own way in the 800 free relay, winning in 6:39.30 to Sanra Barbara's 6:47.15.

In diving, UCI took golds in both the women's and men's 3-meter events. Anteater Melissa Melmire won with her 422.55 total and teammate Anton Slobounov won with a meet record 604.90.

— Bill Bell



Women's Scores Team Points
UOP 642.0
UCSB 509.0
UCI 458.0
CP 280.0
CSN 255.0

Men's Scores Team Points
UOP 611.5
UCSB 540.5
UCI 390.0
CP 300.0
CSN 197.0

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