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NCAA Div. I: Pacific Ends Cal-Santa Barbara's Reign, Sweeps Big West Titles -- February 17, 2002

BELMONT SHORES, Cal., Feb. 16. THESE Tigers are NOOOOOOOOOO pussycats!

Coach Ray Looze's University of Pacific Tigers roared to their first men's Big West swim title since 1974 here this evening while the women splashed to their inaugural title since the meet began in 1984.

The men drowned 23-time defending champ U Cal Santa Barbara, 948-833.5, while the Lady Tigers won over the defending champ UCSB Gauchos, 963-851.

Coach Charlie Schober's U Cal Irvine Anteaters were third in both races.

The last time UOP won the men's title a certain former Whittier, CA. native occupied 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., and the Tigers' coach was all of five years old.

For his victories, Looze was named Big West Coach of the Year for both women and men, while sophomore Sarah Marshall (conference records in both backstrokes) was named female Swimmer of the Year and teammate Filip Wronski took male honors.

Wronski won the 100-200 breast races and contributed legs on UOP's victorious 200-400 medley relays.

Because the meet is scored to 16 places UOP's dominance at the top end is not reflected, but the Tigers really showed their collective heels to the
field in almost every race.

This evening, for example, Looze's ladies won six of eight events, falling short only in the 1650 free (won by UC Irvine's Alexis Sheridan) and the 1-meter diving (won by teammate Alison Magda).

Similarly on the men's side, the Tigers won every race save the 1650 and finished one-two in the 200 back and 100 free, were first and third in the 200 fly and won the 400 sprint relay by more than a full second.

Looze said winning both the women's and men's titles was "a dream come true. The kids worked really hard all season long and the results are evident from their performance in the pool. I just hope we can improve upon what we've accomplished here at NCAAs."

With only two seniors on the women's team (neither of whom had a major impact on any single event) UOP should maintain its Big West dominance for the next few years, as should the men, who also are chock full of underclassmen.

* * * * *

Woman Swimmer of the Meet Marshall was sensational. On the meet's opening evening she led off the Tigers' record-setting 400 medley relay with a conference-record 53.87 100 back split, third-fastest nationally.

She then won the 100 back Friday night with her 54.67, and tonight she shredded her 1:59.15 200 back standard from last year's championships with a blazing 1:57.65 -- third nationally (among non-converted times) behind
Arizona's Beth Botsford's 1:53+ from the Longhorn Invitational last December; and Stanford's Shelly Ripple's 1:56.91 from today's Cal dual at The Farm.

Are you reading this, Natalie Coughlin?

In the 100 free, 100 breast champ Heidi Schmidt, only a rookie, went a pr and NCAA consideration 50.83 to win, giving her three individual medals for the meet (she also scored a second in the 50 free). She's been 2:15.3 in the 200 breast this season (NCAA consideration) so it will be interesting to see where Looze uses her at NCAAs on the final day.

In the 200 fly, defending champ Shannon Catalano won in an NCAA auto 1:58.73, a pr and school-record for the Tiger sophomore. Teammate Robin Errecart, 200-500 free champ, followed with a pr and consideration time of 1:59.73.

In the 200 breast junior Kristy Mathews won (2:16.22, consideration) and teammate Sedonia Yoshida took second (2:19.84).

The final race of the night, the 400 sprint relay, saw the Tiger foursome of Errecart, Schmidt, Lyndsee McNamee and anchor Catalano speed to a 3:23.29-3:29.88 win over the Gauchos. Errecart's 50.81 leadoff was far and away the quickest leadoff -- not bad for a "distance freestyler." Of course, Errecart won the 100 free last season.

* * * * *

The men's side saw UOP solidfy its lead with a 2, 3, 6 showing in the 1650 free, which was won by UCSB's 1000 free champ, Eric Koch.

A one-two finish in the 200 back (J.P. Russell's 1:47.71 and Jarnod Cruzat's 1:49.26) upped the margin further, as did Wronski's 2:00.17-2:01.14 200 breast win over Gaucho Ethan Hall.

A one-three 200 fly finish boosted the Tiger lead even further and Martinez's and Jones' one-two in the 100 free was the coup de grace for UCSB.

UOPs 2:59.07-3:00.22 400 free win was the "icing on the cake," and an NCAA consideration cut too (as was UCSB's time).

In his fifth-year at the Tiger helm, Looze has raised his sport's profile to equal that of women's volleyball, which has won several NCAA championships,
produced numerous Olympians (including gold medalists) and is always among the nation's elite teams.

Prior to this season,the most famous Tiger aquatic star was Brad Schumacher, who made the 1996 Olympic team and won gold medals as part of the U.S. 400-800 free relay squads. Schumacher was also an outstanding water polo player who competed on the US team at the '96 Atlanta Games.

-- Bill Bell


2002 BIG WEST SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS
BELMOMT PLAZA OLYMPIC POOL
BELMONT SHORES, CA.
FEB. 16, FINAL DAY'S RESULTS

25 Yd. Pool

FINAL WOMEN'S TEAM SCORES

1. UOP 963
2. UCSB 851
3. UC Irvine 630
4. CSUN 428
5. Cal Poly 357

FINAL MEN'S TEAM SCORES


MEN'S FINAL TEAM SCORES

1. UOP 948.5
2. UCSB 834
3. UC Irvine 567.5
4. Cal Poly (SLO) 432
5. CSUN 314


INDIVIDUAL RESULTS

* Meet Record

# NCAA Automatic

+ NCAA Consideration

WOMEN's 1650 YD FREESTYLE
1. Alexis Sheridan, UCI 16:57.88
2. Romina Mosquera, UCSB 16:58.66
3. Emily Murad,UCSB 17:12.30

MEN'S 1650 YD FREESTYLE
1. Eric Koch, UCSB 15:36.99
3. Miles Whitfield, UOP 15:45.17
3. Edmund Herlihy, UOP 15:47.60

WOMEN'S 200 YD BACKSTROKE
1. Sarah Marshall, UOP 1:57.65*#
(Old record: 1:59.15, Marshall, '01)
2. Kris Willey, UOP 2:01.31+
3. Lindsay Dolanzo, SB 2:01.79+

MEN'S 200 YD BACKSTROKE
1. J.P. Russell, UOP 1:47.74
2. Jarrod Cruxzat, UOP 1:49.26
2. Gonzo Shimura, UCI 1:49.52

WOMEN'S 100 YD FREESTYLE
1. Heidi Schmidt, UOP 50.83+
2. Lyndsay McNamee, UOP 51.37
3. Julia King, UCSB 51.69

MEN'S 100 YD FREESTYLE
1. Vince Martinez, UOP 44.84+
2. Ryan Jones, UOP 44.89+
3. Anders Nelsen, UCSB 45.35

WOMEN'S 200 YD BREASTSTROKE
1. Kristy Mathews, UOP 2:16.22+
2. Sedonia Yoshida, UOP 2:19.84
3. Renee Locarnini, CSN 2:20.80

MEN'S 200 YD BREASTSTROKE
1. Filip Wronski, UOP 2:00.17+
2. Ethan Hall, UCSB 2:01.14+
3. Brian Kim, UCI 2:02.78

WOMEN'S 200 YD BUTTERFLY
1. Shannon Catalano, UOP 1:58.73#
2. Robin Errecart, UOP 1:59.73+
3. Mary Thomas, Cal Poly 2:04.32

MEN'S 200 YD BUTTERFLY
1. Matt Mills, UOP 1:50.74
2. Shaun Crossman, UCSB 1:50.85
3. Peter Richardson, UOP 1:51.04

WOMEN'S 1-METER DIVING
1. Allison Magda, UCI 456.60#
3. Melissa Melmine, UCI 447.50#
3. Lish Davis, CSUN 439.60#

MEN'S 3 METER DIVING
(No Scores Available)

WOMEN'S 400 YD FREESTYLE RELAY
1. UOP 3:23.29+
(Robin Errecart, Heidi Schmidt, Lyndsay McNamee, Shannon Catalano)
2. UCSB 3:29.88
3. U Cal Irvine 3:31.33

MEN'S 400 YD FREESTYLE RELAY
1. UOP 2:59.07+
(Danny Johnson, Todd Schwendinger, Ryan Jones, Vince Martinez)
2. UCSB 3:00.22+
3. UC Irvine 3:09.99