BELMONT SHORES, CA., December 6. RAY Looze may have left Stockton for Hoosierville but another May –Dennis — is proving more than a capable replacement.
Looze, who helped turn the University of the Pacific Tigers' swimming and diving program into a Big West Conference powerhouse before taking over the Indiana men's program last spring, has departed Stockton for Bloomington. However, his replacement — former Northern Iowa boss Dennis May — is making sure the Tigers don't become a bunch o' tabby cats.
After Day 2's competiton in the Speedo/U Cal Irvine Invitational at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool, where just last February UOP stopped U Cal Santa Barbara's 22-year Big West men's swimming and diving title streak while splashing to the women's crown too, the Tigers are solidly atop the distaff standings and are No. 2 on the men's side.
UOP has a commanding 934-473 lead over Washington State in the ladies' race with U Cal San Diego (398) and Irvine (393) battling for third. Fifth are the University of San Diego's Toreros (357.5).
The men's team race has Brigham Young No.1 with 768.5. UOP is second (698) while third is Cal State Bakersfield — treble-defending NCAA Division II champs — and next is U Cal Davis (469.5) and Cal Baptist (410).
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UOP's women started off the racing with a 1:45.45-1:46.32 200 medley relay win over Washington State.
The Tigers then swept to victories in the 400 IM (Sarah Houck, 4:18.87); 100 fly (defending Big West champ Shannon Catalano going a seasonal pr 54.26 to WSU Cougar Linday Menahan's 54.37); 200 free (Robin Errecart in a solid 1:49.58 to complement her 500 free victory in 4:53.61 Thursday evening); and the 800 free relay (7:32.09 to USD's 7:37.43).
The only individual races UOP didn't win were the 100 breast, where UCSD's Rosanna Delurgo went a pr 1:03.44 and will likely rank No. 1 nationally among DII swimmers when the rankings come out next week; and the 100 back, where Lara Pease, competing unattached, won in 56.64 to UOP's Alison Shaskey's 56.81 for second.
UCSD went 1-2 in the 100 breast with Triton Denise Bogard (1:03.91) second.
Runner-up in the 400 IM was USD's 200 medley champ Ashley Swart, won stroked to a pr 2:02.84 en route to victory last night.
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BYU's men had just a single winner, 100 flyer Diogo Yabe, who sped to a 48.31 clocking with Bakersfield's Bobby Dmytrow (49.13) next. The Cougars also took a second in the 800 free relay.
UOP got a win from All-America 200 freestyler Matthew Smart, who touched in 1:37.88, followed by BYU's Jeff Mason (1:39.94) -the only two sub 1:40.0s.
In the 400 IM, U.C. Santa Cruz's Dan Weston, defending NCAA Division III 500 free champ, was second to former USC All-America Mark Warkentin's 3:54.31. Warkentin has completed his eligibility for the Trojans and swam unattached.
Another ex-USC All-America who was a winner was breaststroker Ryo Imai, who won in 54.,49 to UOP's Filip Wronski's 55.22. Wronski and Catalano were last season's Big West Swimmers of the Year.
Bakesfield earned its third gold when backstroker Felix Sutanto won the 100 in a pr 48.98, to go along with his 200 IM victory (1:49.47). The other Roadrunner victory was by 500 freestyler Vlasta Burda, who's defending NCAA DII champ in the 500-1000-1650 frees.
UOP won the opening 200 medley relay (1:32.09) with BYU just a tick behind at 1:32.09.
The meet concludes Saturday, Dec. 7.
– Bill Bell