IRVINE, Calif., December 22. MICHIGAN State's Spartans swamped U Cal Irvine in a dual meet at the Anteaters' Student Aquatic Center Thursday, winning the women's meet, 130-94 and the men's competition, 128-93.
UCI freshwoman Lara Bjargardottir, a native of Reykjavik, Iceland, won three events for the Anteaters. Bjargardottir was victorious in the 200 yard free with a 1:52.78, just slightly off her school record 1:52.47 from earlier this month; the 200 IM, with a 2:09.03 and the 100 breast with a 1:06.78.
Sophomore teammate Kim Do (Milpitas, CA.) won the 100 back with her 58.95 and junior Semah Zavareh of Sunnyvale won the 500 in 5:02.30.
In men’s competition, Anteater sophomore Phil Garcia won both the 50- and 100 yard frees with 21.29 and 45.94 clockings. The UCI 200 free relay team of Garcia, freshman Larry Chong, freshman Sean O’Grady and junior Hazem Amr — who hails from Cairo, Egypt — won that event in 1:26.80.
Diver Anton Slobounov won both the one meter and three-meter competitions with scores of 329.55 in the one meter and 366.45 in the three-meter. His scores also qualified him for the 2003 NCAA Regional Diving Championships.
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In related Anteater news, Bjargardottir was named Big West Co-Athlete of the Week for her fine showing at the Speedo/UCI Invitational at Belmont Plaza the second weekend of this month.
Bjargardottir — the Reykjavik native who hopes to emulate the success of another Icelandic swimmer, Alabama's Regga Runolfsdottir, who became an All-America breaststroker for the Crimson Tide back in the early '90s — earned her award by breaking four Anteater school records during the meet.
She smashed her own school record in the 200 yard freestyle with a 1:52.47. In the 500 yard freestyle, her time of 4:59.89 broke the record set last year by her teammate, sophomore Alexis Sheridan of Crescenta Valley HS. In both the prelims and again in the finals, Bjargardottir broke the 200 individaul medley record previously held by another teammate, senior Sara Showalter of Irvine's University High.
The record is now 2:05.15 and, for good measure, Bjargardottir twice broke the 400 IM standard — set by Laurel Hooper in 1995, — splashing to a pr 4:25.59 in the finals.
UCI coach Brian Pajer is hopeful that his Icelandic star's continued imrpovement will not only make her a factor at the Big West Championships in a couple of months, but also qualify her for The Big Dance, i.e., the NCAA Division 1 Championships the third weekend of March at Auburn.
– Bill Bell