GREENSBORO, N.C. - The University of California San Diego compiled 13 All-Americans, two All-America honorable mentions and one school record on a strong second day of the 2018 NCAA Division II Swimming & Diving Championships Thursday at the Greensboro Aquatic Center. Wingate University and the Greensboro Sports Commission are serving as co-hosts.
Through 10 events on the women's side, UC San Diego is now into the top 10, in ninth with 81 points. The Tritons were 17th after Wednesday's action. The UCSD men are up from 21st to 20th (34 points) after 10 events. Queens of North Carolina, the three-time defending champion in both team competitions, easily tops both standings.
The women's 400-yard medley relay of Alex Rodman (Coronado/Coronado HS), Angie Phetbenjakul, Lindsay Clark and captain Haley Murphy went 3:45.52 for seventh, earning All-America distinctions. The quartet put together a time of 3:43.34 out of the outside eighth lane in morning preliminaries, narrowly getting under the previous school record of 3:43.38 from the 2016 Pacific Collegiate Swimming and Diving Conference (PCSC) Championships. The mark was a full 3.90 seconds faster than UC San Diego's best this season (3:47.24), from last month's PCSC meet. The Tritons won the second of four heats, and wound up with the morning's third-best time, after entering as the No. 24 seed.
It was a stellar debut at the NCAA Championships for Clark, a true freshman out of Oxnard who was surrounded by three seniors. Phetbenjakul was the breaststroke leg on that 2016 relay as well. Rodman's time of 55.39 for her 100 yards of backstroke, was a personal record, and moved her up from No. 5 all-time at UCSD, to No. 2 behind Triton great Alex Henley's 54.94.
The women were two-for-two for relays in championship finals on Thursday, as Phetbenjakul, Murphy, younger sister Grace Murphy, and Ciara Franke (San Diego/La Jolla HS) teamed up for a season-best 1:32.81 in the 200 freestyle relay to place seventh. Phetbenjakul's leadoff 50 of 23.71 was her fastest this year. The foursome had gone a then-season-best 1:32.98 in prelims to share the No. 5 spot coming out of the morning session, moving up from their No. 13 seed (1:33.85) heading in. The order in that race was Franke, Haley Murphy, Phetbenjakul and Grace Murphy, with the two true freshmen flanking the fourth-year seniors.
The foursome of freshman Tenny Chong, sophomore Edgar Chin, junior Garrett Tse and senior Kevin Wylder timed a season-best 3:14.76 for seventh in the championship final of the 400 medley relay to conclude the second night. The mark fell narrowly short of the school record of 3:14.67 from 2012. The Tritons found themselves in the A final after initially turning in the ninth-fastest preliminary time of 3:15.16. Fresno Pacific was disqualified soon thereafter, however, due to an early entry on the freestyle anchor leg, to move UC San Diego into the top eight and thus the championship final. The Tritons later even advanced one more position to No. 7 after Lindenwood was disqualified for changing the order of its swimmers. Chong's leadoff backstroke leg of 49.42 in that prelim race matched his best. He lowered it to 48.97 in the final, third in school history. UCSD was the No. 11 seed on entry (3:14.89).
Franke became the first Triton to earn a spot in an A final in an individual event at these championships, in the 200 free, and touched eighth in 1:51.05. She had timed a season-best 1:49.33 to place fourth in the seventh and final preliminary heat, good for the seventh-fastest mark. Franke went into the event seeded 16th with her PCSC title-winning time of 1:49.99, and moved up from No. 6 to No. 5 all-time at UCSD.
Tse and Amanda Sumrow were UC San Diego's first individuals to pick up All-America honorable mentions this week, with top-16 efforts. Tse was fifth in the B final of the 100 butterfly in 48.18, for 13th overall, after his personal-record time of 47.93 was 11th-fastest in prelims. He was already No. 2 in school history behind Wylder (46.97) with his prior best of 48.12. Tse improved on his seed of 17th, to earn a second swim.
Sumrow (San Diego/Patrick Henry HS) rallied late for fifth in the 400 individual medley in 4:29.29, leaving her 13th overall. She thus wound up nine spots above her No. 22 seed. Sumrow's prelim time of 4:27.65 barely snuck her into that B final in 16th by a mere .36 seconds ahead of the 17th-place finisher.
Wylder was one spot off an alternate position in 100 fly prelims, in 19th (season-best 48.55). Fellow senior Kevin Fink was 30th in the 400 IM (4:07.93). True freshman Rachel Taylor went 4:33.57 for 28th in the 400 IM. Sumrow (1:52.54) and fellow junior Reagan Eickert (1:52.83) were 32nd and 35th, respectively, in the 200 free.
The men's 200 free relay of Chong, Wylder, Tse and anchor Austin Takeda went 1:22.18 in prelims, and did not advance. It was a debut at the NCAA meet for Takeda, a fourth-year senior and along with Fink, a team co-captain.
The NCAA Championships continue on Friday, March 16, with morning prelims beginning at 7 a.m. PT, and evening finals at 3 p.m. PT. The lineup consists of the 500 free, 100 back, 100 breast, 200 fly, 800 free relay, and women's one-meter springboard diving at 11 a.m. All sessions can be watched for free online at NCAA.com.
Triton Notes: Through two days in North Carolina, the Tritons have compiled 13 All-America distinctions and 10 All-America honorable mentions ... First through eighth placements at the NCAA meet constitute All-America, with ninth through 16th good for All-America honorable mention ... The morning's women's 400 medley relay was UC San Diego's first school record of this meet, and second of the season after senior Haley Hamza in the 1650 free on the final night of the conference meet on Feb. 17.