Weekly Awards for Freshman Swimmers Tenny Chong and Ciara Franke
Chong (Arcadia/Arcadia HS) swept the two available awards on the men's side, earning CollegeSwimming Pacific Collegiate Swimming and Diving Conference (PCSC) Men's Swimmer of the Week and PCSC Division II Male Athlete of the Week distinctions. Franke, a San Diego product out of La Jolla High School, is the CollegeSwimming PCSC Women's Swimmer of the Week.
Chong represented UC San Diego at USA Swimming's Winter National Championships in Columbus, Ohio. He made the C final of the 100-yard backstroke on Friday, Dec. 1, turning in back-to-back season-best performances of 49.87 and 49.75 to ultimately place fifth in that bonus consolation, for 21st overall, moving up to sixth all-time at UCSD. On Saturday, Chong advanced to and in fact won the C final in the 100 freestyle, sprinting 44.67, just .08 seconds off his personal record, for No. 3 in program history. That final effort came out of lane one after narrowly squeezing into the C final. His preliminary time of 49.13 in his college debut in the 100 butterfly, is ninth-fastest at UCSD and hit the exact B standard. Chong wound up with two C final appearances, including the win, five season-best swims and his first three NCAA B cuts, entering the top 10 in the program record book in three events.
Franke led the UC San Diego women (2-2), ranked No. 20 in the latest NCAA Division II poll, to the split of a double-dual meet against Division I foes last Friday afternoon in unbeaten host San Diego State (141-148) and PCSC rival Pepperdine (242-48). She placed second in both the 200 free (1:53.56) and 100 free (52.05), narrowly behind Aztec sophomore Peyton Wilson (51.99) in the latter. Both marks were under NCAA consideration qualifying standards, though Franke has been faster in both events earlier this season. She ended her meet by leading off the second-best 400 free relay in 3:33.66, with a 100-yard split of 52.71 seconds.
Chong and Franke are UC San Diego's second and third CollegeSwimming honorees for 2017-18, after junior Garrett Tse on Nov. 7. CollegeSwimming.com expanded its coverage ahead of the 2015-16 season, and the website now selects national swimmers of the week, as well as one male and one female standout for each and every conference, at all levels. Those awards are given not through nominations, but based on quality of swims, individual wins and team scores from all submitted meet results from the week in question.
The PCSC names one male and one female swimmer or diver from each of the divisions represented within the conference as Athlete of the Week. The Tritons have five of those, with Chong their first two-time selection (Oct. 30), alongside Tse (Nov. 6), junior Alejandro Ortiz (Nov. 20) and freshman Rachel Taylor (Oct. 30).
The UC San Diego men and women will return to action right after the new year, on Tuesday, Jan. 2. It will be Senior Day at Canyonview Aquatic Center in La Jolla, with 16 senior recognitions slated to start around 1:40 p.m., and the meet itself at 2 p.m. or shortly thereafter. The Tritons' Division I opponents will be the men and women of Incarnate Word, and the San José State women. Parking and admission on the UC San Diego campus are both free that day.