WESTWOOD, Calif., October 19. COACH Cyndi Gallagher's UCLA women's swim team, 2001 Pac-10 champs, opened its 2002-03 season here today with victories over Oregon State and U Cal Santa Barbara.
(Neither UCLA nor OSU has a men's team, both having been sacrificed by cynical athletic directors, who claimed they were furthering equality by removing opportunities for men. UCSB does have a men's team.)
In a double dual-meet on a warm afternoon at UCLA's Sunset Canyon Recreation Center Pool, the Bruins defeated Oregon State 144-115, and UC Santa Barbara,
166-95. Oregon State defeated UC Santa Barbara 139-123.
UCLA is now 1-0 in Pac-10 competition and 2-0 overall.
Leading the way for the Bruins was junior transfer (from Auburn) Taylor Spivey, who won both the 100 and 200 backstrokes. Spivey's prs in these events (54.12/1:57.20, both done at the 2001 NCAAs in East Meadow, Long Island) are faster than the current Bruin school records. If Spivey can return to the form that made her an All-America two seasons ago — let alone
improve — she'll be a definite threat for Pac-10 and NCAA honors.
(Unfortunately for her and all other Pac-10 dorsal specialists, the American/NCAA record-holder for the 100-200 back, 100 fly and the 100 free — not to mention the world record-holder in the 100 meter backstroke — happens to be a junior at Cal this fall. Now what is her name…?)
Other winners for the Bruins were juniors Sara Platzer in the 50 free and Malin Svahnstrom in the 200 free. Platzer is Bruin record-holder in the 50 (22.62 from last season's NCAAs) and 100 frees (49.33) while teammate Svahnstrom — – a sophomore Swedish import — holds UCLA records in the 200 free (1:47.02) and 200 IM (1:59.86). She did those swims last season at Pac-10s and NCAAs, respectively.
Froshwoman Kim Vandenberg made her debut as a Bruin by winning the 100 fly. Vandenberg, extremely talented and versatile, was very heavily recruited out of Campolindo High in Northern California, the same school that produced current American/NCAA record-holder (100-200 yard frees) Matt Biondi — who went on to swim for Coach Nort Thornton's Cal Golden Bears in the mid-'80s.
Vandenberg is an excellent sprint freestyler with prs of 49.41 (100), 1:47+ (200) and 54.02 (100 fly).
For Oregon State, senior Naya Higashijima won three events on the day, the 1000 and 500 free and the 200 fly.
The Bruins will next compete at the Southern Methodist Classic, slated for next Friday and Saturday, Oct. 25-26, in Dallas. Cal is also scheduled to swim in that meet. The next Bruin home meet is Saturday, November 9, at noon against the University of San Diego.
– Bill Bell