LA MIRADA, Calif. - The University of California San Diego men and women combined for wins in four of seven events on the first day of the 2018 Pacific Collegiate Swimming and Diving Conference (PCSC) Championships Wednesday at Splash! La Mirada Regional Aquatics Center.
The sixth-ranked UC San Diego women are in first place with 282 points, topping a field of 12 and Azusa Pacific closest (243). The No. 16 Triton men are fourth (172) in a tightly-bunched group of five. Concordia leads by only 35 points (207). The UCSD men and women are both nine-time defending PCSC champions. The men were in third by 127 points after the first night last February.
Brooke Abrantes (San Diego/Santana HS) won her very first PCSC crown, taking the one-meter springboard diving event with a lifetime-best 286.25 points. Fellow San Diego native Delainey Carlin (Carlsbad/Carlsbad HS) picked up a bronze medal (246.55), with a third Triton junior, Patty Sullivan, in ninth (199.90).
The UC San Diego men's and women's 800-yard freestyle relay foursomes both were fastest, winning league titles on the meet's opening night for the eighth consecutive year. The women went first and had junior Amanda Sumrow (San Diego/Patrick Henry HS), freshman Ciara Franke (San Diego/La Jolla HS), sophomore Alayna Gocke and junior anchor Reagan Eickert time 7:23.28, a season best and improved NCAA B cut, to win easily by five-plus seconds. Sumrow's lead leg of 1:50.56 is her Triton best, a B cut, and No. 7 all-time at UCSD. Franke, a two-sport standout, was back with the swimmers after playing five games for the water polo team over the weekend.
The men's quartet of junior Garrett Tse, freshman Zack Reuter, Austin Takeda and anchor Kevin Fink combined for a mark of 6:39.81 to conclude the first night's activity in the 800 free relay. Takeda and Fink are both fourth-year seniors and co-captains, with Takeda on the winning 800 free relay for the second year in a row.
The women's 200 medley relay narrowly touched out Fresno Pacific (1:41.70) on the final stroke with a mark of 1:41.60, barely falling short of the school record of 1:41.48 from the 2016 PCSC meet. The Triton quartet consisted of sophomore Elee Wong, freshman Grace Murphy, and fourth-year senior All-Americans Angie Phetbenjakul and Haley Murphy, the latter Murphy the elder sister. Wong's leadoff leg of 25.84 was nearly a second faster than her previous best. The foursome's combined mark was a season best by almost three seconds, and a first NCAA consideration qualifier.
In the 1000 free to start off the swimming portion, senior Haley Hamza timed a personal-record 10:06.47 to place second behind Fresno Pacific sophomore Laura Fornshell's meet- and school-record 9:54.39, for the second successive year. Hamza had swept the 500, 1000 and 1650 two years ago. She was runner-up in back-to-back years now after a Triton had won that event in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Hamza was already No. 2 in the UCSD record book, behind senior teammate Stephanie Sin (10:03.22), and improved on her prior best of 10:07.00 from 2016, now with a strong NCAA consideration qualifier (10:27.56). Eickert was seventh in 10:21.55.
The men saw their streak of four straight years with a win in the 1000 ended, as 2017 champion Jack Spitser was third behind a pair of FPU entrants. The sophomore from San Diego (Rancho Bernardo HS) timed a season-best 9:34.55. No other school had finished first in the event since it was added to the meet schedule in 2014. Junior Alejandro Ortiz came in fifth in a season-best 9:42.92.
The men's 200 medley relay was second behind FPU (1:27.62) for a second year in a row, going a season-best 1:29.50 with freshman Tenny Chong, sophomore Edgar Chin, Tse and senior Kevin Wylder. Chong's lead backstroke leg of 22.99 was his best as a Triton.
"Our team got off to a great start with our two divers Brooke (Abrantes) and Delainey (Carlin) taking first and third," said first-year UC San Diego head coach David Marsh. "We finished the night with two firsts in the women's and men's 800 freestyle relays. We are off to a great start."
"We did great," added Fink, who had ankle surgery at the end of December, but rehabilitated himself diligently enough to be ready for a fourth and final PCSC meet, and a second conference title after placing first in the 400 individual medley in 2016. "It's good to get a relay win and each day we are going to continue to get faster!"
Thursday is the first full day of the 2018 PCSC Championships, with two sessions. Preliminaries begin at 9:30 a.m., and finals at 4:35 p.m. Events to be contested include the 500 free, 200 IM, 50 free, women's three-meter (prelims), men's one-meter (prelims) and men's three-meter (finals) diving, and the 200 free relay.