LONG BEACH, California, February 24. THE UC Irvine men and UC Santa Barbara women claimed the team championships Saturday at the 2007 Big West Swimming & Diving Championships. It was the 10th title for the Gauchos' women's contingent, while the Anteater men won the crown for the first time in school history. The four-day event was held at the Belmont Plaza in Long Beach, Calif.
UCI won the men's title with 820.5 points, easily outdistancing the second place UC Santa Barbara Gauchos who collected 727.5 tallies. Third place belonged to UC Davis with 660.0 points with Pacific coming in fourth with 596.0 points. Cal Poly (315.0) and Cal State Northridge (276.0) wrapped up the men's standings.
UC Santa Barbara took the women's crown with 844.5 points, with Pacific (678.0) and UC Irvine (631.0) coming in second and third, respectively. UC Davis checked in at fourth with 558.0 points, while Cal State Northridge (328.0) and Cal Poly (323.5) round out the women's final standings.
UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara also picked up a majority of the individual honors as each winner was from one of the two schools. On the men's side, UC Irvine's Randall Tom was named Men's Swimmer of the Year, Scott Vogelgesang of UC Santa Barbara garnered Freshman of the Year honors and Anteater head coach Brian Pajer received Coach of the Year accolades. UC Irvine's Lyndsay DePaul claimed the Women's Swimmer of the Year trophy, while fellow freshman Anne Marie May of UC Santa Barbara was named the Freshman of the Year. Gaucho head coach Gregg Wilson was honored as the Coach of the Year.
The final day of competition started with the women's 1-meter dive and the men's 3-meter dive finals. Jackie Jones of UC Irvine took home the gold on the women's side after picking up 285.3 points, outdistancing her nearest competitor by just over 61 points. Cal Poly picked up the first points of the day on the men's side as Chris McEntee took home the title after amassing 241.65 points.
The first swimming event of the day was the 1650 free with the women's side getting the first crack at the race. Pacific's Karen Albiston was the first to touch the wall after completing the 66 laps in 17:14.04, just over seven seconds faster than second place. On the men's side, Scott Weltz of UC Davis was victor after finishing the race in 15:30.62, besting his preliminary time by over a second.
Pacific's Jun Huang made it back-to-back women's titles as she took the 200-meter backstroke in 1:58.03, an NCAA provisional qualifying mark. The men's champion was not only an NCAA provisional qualifier, but also set a new meet record as Wojciech Betlej took home the title in 1:44.69.
With the events moving fast and the crowd in a frenzy, the 100-meter freestyle was next. The women's race saw Anne Marie May touch the wall first in an NCAA provisional qualifying 50.71, while Bradley Matsumoto of UC Santa Barbara edged out the competition with an NCAA provisional time of 44.23.
The 200-meter breaststroke competitors were the next to compete as Heidi Kucera of UC Davis was the winner in the women's race with a time of 2:14.30, narrowly missing an automatic NCAA qualifying time by less than a second. Pacific's David Dunn earned the top spot on the podium after finishing in 1:59.44, earning him an NCAA provisional qualifying time.
The 200-meter butterfly had the honor of being the next event with UC Irvine's Lyndsay DePaul topping the field with an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 1:59.30, over three seconds faster than her preliminary mark. The Anteaters made it a sweep in the event as Eddie Erazo touched the wall in 1:44.52, a new meet record and an NCAA automatic qualifying time.
The final event of the day, and arguably the most raucous was the 400-meter freestyle relay. UC Santa Barbara put the topping on their team title with the last crown of the day on the women's side as the Gaucho swimmers finished the event in 3:23.07, an NCAA provisional qualifying mark. Not to be outdone, the UC Irvine men also claimed the final event to put the finishing touches on their crown with a meet record time of 2:56.31, the final NCAA provisional qualifying mark of the day.
1. UC Santa Barbara – 844.5
2. Pacific – 678.0
3. UC Irvine – 631.0
4. UC Davis – 558.0
5. Cal State Northridge – 328.0
6. Cal Poly – 323.5
1. UC Irvine – 820.5
2. UC Santa Barbara – 727.5
3. UC Davis – 660.0
4. Pacific – 596.0
5. Cal Poly – 315.0
6. Cal State Northridge – 276.0
MAJOR AWARD WINNERS
Men's Swimmer of the Year – Randall Tom, UC Irvine
Men's Freshman of the Year – Scott Vogelgesang, UC Santa Barbara
Men's Coach of the Year – Brian Pajer, UC Irvine
Women's Swimmer of the Year – Lyndsay DePaul, UC Irvine
Women's Freshman of the Year, Anne Marie May, UC Santa Barbara
Women's Coach of the Year – Gregg Wilson, UC Santa Barbara