LA JOLLA, Calif. - UC San Diego senior captains Nicholas Korth, Alex Merrill and Anji Shakya combined for four individual first-place finishes on Senior Day for the Triton men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs Sunday at the Canyonview Aquatic Center.
The UCSD women (5-4) comfortably beat the University of the Incarnate Word (0-3), a former NCAA Division II rival out of San Antonio, Texas, now in its first year transitioning into Division I, 205-54. The Tritons were defeated by back-to-back Western Athletic Conference champion and Mountain West Conference newcomer San Jose State (4-2), 140.5-115.5. The Division I Spartans also routed UIW, 180-70.
On the men’s side, UCSD (1-4) was narrowly edged by Incarnate Word (1-2), 134-128. The Tritons trailed 119-107 heading into the last break and final two events of the afternoon. The Cardinals, however, clinched the dual-meet victory with a 1-2 finish in the 200 individual medley. Despite winning the 200 free relay and having a second foursome place third, UCSD was unable to make up all of the 15-point deficit.
In the final home appearance of his stellar career, Korth swept the breaststroke events, timing 55.90 in the 100 and 2:03.38 to win going away in each race. The 100 mark was just .79 seconds off the pool record. For the second straight day, he led a 1-2-3 Triton finish in the 200, with freshman Zach Yong (2:07.40) and sophomore AJ Zavala (2:08.38) following him to the wall. Korth rounded out his afternoon by providing the lead leg of the first-place 200 free relay (1:24.15) ahead of sophomore Cole Heale, freshman Julian Jacobs and junior Jack Galvan.
Two other fourth-year standouts, Shakya (1:51.40) and Merrill (1:42.58), won their best events, the 200 free, for the women and men, respectively.
Galvan produced another one of the more impressive swims in the competition, sprinting 46.79 to take the 100 free. The performance completed a sweep of the sprints for the Triton men, as Heale had moments before gone 21.27 in the 50.
The only other first-place finisher for UCSD was sophomore Naomi Thomas in the 200 fly (2:06.84).
Divers Luke Calkins, Natalie Mouzooni and Megan Zeeb and swimmers John Chang, Reid McCallum (San Diego/Canyon Crest Academy), Ahiram Rodriguez (San Diego/Hoover HS), Sandy Hon, Katie McBride, captain Lindsey Oosterhouse and Erika Rodman made up the remainder of the 13 seniors recognized prior to the home finale of their UCSD careers.
San Jose State’s Darcie Anderson and Riley Spitser (San Diego/Rancho Bernardo HS) swept the breaststroke (1:05.40, 2:21.54) and distance freestyle races, respectively, with Spitser going 10:24.08 in the 1000 and later 5:05.30 in the 500. UIW’s Connor Hennessy duplicated Spitser’s double on the men’s side in 9:43.19 and 4:43.30.
SJSU’s first-place 400 medley relay of Michaela McLean (San Diego/Patrick Henry HS), Anderson, Taylor Curado and Alysha Bush went 3:50.10 to shatter the previous Canyonview record of 3:53.25, set by UCSD’s Alex Henley, Neda Nguyen, current junior Jaclyn Amog and anchor Shakya on Jan. 7, 2012.
UCSD travels to Bakersfield next for a competition at CSU Bakersfield’s Hillman Aquatics Complex on Saturday, Jan. 11, beginning at 12 p.m.