The UC San Diego men's and women's swimming and diving teams have one more competition left for the 2013 calendar year, across town at San Diego State on Monday, Dec. 30. The sixth-ranked Triton women take on the host Aztecs and Air Force, both Division I foes, while the men will face Air Force beginning at 2 p.m. at the Aztec Aquaplex. SDSU does not field a men's program. The UCSD women are 2-1 in dual meets this season, with the men an even 1-1.
ABOUT THE AZTECS
San Diego State is the defending Mountain West Conference champion and has won two MW crowns in the last three years. The Aztecs, who sent a program-record seven swimmers to the 2013 NCAA Division I Championships, are 1-0 in dual meets this season following a victory at TCU on Nov. 1. They won the UCSD-hosted Arena Invitational at East Los Angeles College, Nov. 21-23, compiling 1,196.5 points to hold off second-place San Jose State (1,094). The SDSU head coach is Mike Shrader, now in his seventh season. These squads last met on Jan. 6, 2012, with the Aztecs producing a 159-123 home victory. SDSU previously won 207-86 at Canyonview on Jan. 29, 2011, and 184-94 on Nov. 6, 2009 and 140-122 on Jan. 31, 2009, at home.
ABOUT THE FALCONS
The Air Force Academy, located in Colorado Springs, Colo., is a member of the Western Athletic Conference on the men's side, and like SDSU, the Mountain West on the women's. The Falcon men are currently 6-5, while the women are 8-1 in duals, their lone loss coming in their most recent head-to-head contest at Denver on Nov. 2, 139-104. In the only known previous meetings between UCSD and Air Force, the Falcon men took a seven-event relay-only meet at Canyonview on Jan. 4, 2008, 76-37. On Jan. 6, 2006, also a relay meet in La Jolla, the UCSD women won, 150-94, while the men's squads swam to a 172-172 tie. The longtime head coach of the Air Force women is Casey Converse. Rob Clayton leads the Academy men.
The format and program for Monday's meet at San Diego State was not known at press time. The one-meter and three-meter springboard diving events are unofficially thought to be taking place for the women, but not for the men.
Individual events on Monday will be scored to five places (1st-9; 2nd-4; 3rd-3; 4th-2; 5th-1). Relays will be scored to three places (1st-11; 2nd-4; 3rd-2). No more than three individuals or two relay foursomes per team can accumulate points in a given event in each match-up. It is expected that swimmers will not be able to take part in more than four races total (maximum of three individual races) on the day.
STRONG DUAL SCHEDULE
The UCSD men and women both face challenging dual-meet schedules for what is left of the 2013-14 season. Nine of the remaining 11 opponents for the women are members of the NCAA Division I, with former Division II rivals Grand Canyon and Incarnate Word having now reclassified. For the men, four of their last six dual meets down this stretch run come against Division I programs.
The second of three College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) NCAA Division II team rankings, voted on by seven CSCAA member coaches and one member of the media, was released on Thursday, Dec. 19. The UCSD women appear in a tie with Simon Fraser University at No. 6, down from No. 2 on Nov. 15, while the men are No. 8, down from No. 6.
In the most recent Endless Pools/CollegeSwimming.com Division II Top 25 from Dec. 10, accounting for teams' top performances from Nov. 11-Dec. 8, the UCSD men and women are both at No. 4, each down from No. 2. A third ranking system released on Dec. 23, the Endless Pools/CollegeSwimming.com Mid-Season Power Rankings, has both the Triton men and women at No. 7 in Division II.
2014 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS QUALIFIERS
Luke Calkins and Garet Webster became the first two Tritons to qualify for the 2014 NCAA Division II Championships in Geneva, Ohio, in March, winning the one-meter (311.92) and three-meter (314.70) springboard diving events, respectively, with qualifying scores in the season opener with Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Oct. 26. Team captains Nicholas Korth and Anji Shakya joined the two divers with automatic qualifying marks during the Arena Invitational last month. Korth punched his ticket with a time of 1:56.26 in the 200 breaststroke on Nov. 23. Shakya went 4:50.30 in the 500 freestyle on Nov. 21 to send her on her way. It will be a fourth straight trip to nationals for seniors Calkins, Korth and Shakya, while Webster has earned his NCAA debut.
On the men's side, 11 Triton swimmers have at least one B cut, while that number is at nine for the UCSD women. All five relays for the men and women have achieved a consideration qualifier.
TRITONS AMONG NATIONAL LEADERS
According to rankings on CollegeSwimming.com, Shakya currently has the top time nationally in Division II in the 500 free (4:50.30), as well as the second-fastest in the 200 free (1:50.00) and 11th in the 200 back (2:02.83). Korth has the best times in the 100 breast (53.59) and 200 breast (1:56.26). He also ranks sixth (tied) in the 50 free (20.36) and seventh in the 200 IM (1:49.60).
The Triton women have Division II's top times in the 200 free relay and 400 free relay. Shakya anchored Austine Lee, Colleen Daley and Sierra Robbins to a mark of 1:33.72 in the shorter distance at the Arena Invitational on Nov. 21, and Daley, Robbins and Catherine Woo to 3:25.58 in the 400 two days later. UCSD is fifth in the 800 free relay (7:34.98), seventh in the 200 medley (1:44.88) and 13th in the 400 medley (3:51.38). The Triton men are seventh in the 800 free relay (6:42.42), 14th (tied) in the 400 free (3:02.72), eighth in the 200 medley (1:31.11), 13th in the 200 free (1:22.54) and 11th in the 400 medley (3:20.69).
Other top-10 marks for the UCSD women include Erika Rodman (10th, 10:25.44) in the 1000 free, Sierra Gage (eighth, 4:42.82) and Rodman (10th, 4:45.38) in the 400 free, Gage (fourth, 9:35.03) and Rodman (10th, 9:44.36) in the 800 free, and Naomi Thomas in the 100 fly (fifth, 55.93) and 200 fly (sixth, 2:03.11). For the men, Paul Li in the 500 free (sixth, 4:27.62) and 400 IM (eighth, 3:57.10), Kyle Nadler (ninth, 9:25.24) in the 1000 and Sasha Mitrushina in the 1650 (eighth, 15:47.10).
PAIR OF SWIMMER OF THE WEEK HONORS
So far this season, Korth and Shakya have each earned CollegeSwimming.com Counsilman Hunsaker Division II Swimmer of the Week recognition. Korth won the award on Nov. 15 after the dual at UC Santa Barbara, while Shakya was named on Nov. 27 following the Arena Invitational. They marked second career selections for both Triton standouts.
TWO NATIONAL CHAMPIONS
Korth and Shakya are the only two former national champions on the 2013-14 UCSD roster. Korth won the 200-yard breaststroke event as a freshman at the 2011 NCAA Division II Championships, while Shakya is the reigning champion in her specialty, the 200 freestyle. Both performances were in school-record times, with Korth having since lowered that standard in the 200 breast.
UCSD has 12 All-Americans on its 2013-14 roster. Topping the list are Shakya and Korth as 13-time and 12-time All-Americans, respectively. Also back are Alex Merrill (6), Reid McCallum (5), Robbins (4), Jaclyn Amog (3), Daley (3), Thomas (2), Dari Watkins (2), Eva Chen (1), Sandy Hon (1) and Li (1). Calkins and Michael Leung earned All-America honorable mention a season ago.
Team captains for the 2013-14 season were voted on at the conclusion of the prior year, with the senior quartet of Korth, Merrill, Shakya and Lindsay Oosterhouse earning that distinction. Korth and Shakya are now two-time Triton captains. Korth is also the vice president of the Triton Athletes' Council (TAC) for this academic year as a two-time member of the TAC Executive Board.
STRONG STAFF ON THE POOL DECK
The UCSD swimming and diving program has exceptional leadership with top competitive pedigree on the pool deck in 2013-14. Co-head coaches Corrie Falcon and Matt Macedo are in their third season in charge. Falcon was a two-year team captain and national runner-up at USC, while Macedo was a two-time national champion and 20-time All-American at California. Daniel Perdew, a five-time national champion as arguably the greatest sprinter in the history of the UCSD program, is in his third season on the staff at his alma mater and first as the top assistant. Diving coach Michelle Casillas was a multiple-time all-conference performer first at Nevada and then at Florida State. Finally, first-year assistants Emmett Walling and Jamie Saffer were standout swimmers at USC and Tennessee, respectively.
LAST TIME OUT
The UCSD women won all 11 events and comfortably got past Division II opponent Cal State East Bay at home on Saturday, Dec. 21, 146-59. Chen, Daley and Gage each touched the wall first in a pair of individual events, with Daley also anchoring the first-place 400 free relay in the Tritons' first home competition in long-course meters since Dec. 18, 2011. Shakya won the 200 free and led off the fastest 400 medley and 400 free relays. The Triton men have been idle from competition since the Arena Invitational in late November.
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Following Monday's meet, the Triton men and women will both conclude a busy week with two final home meets for the 2013-14 season at the Canyonview Aquatic Center next weekend. The action on Saturday, Jan. 4, begins at 12 p.m., with the first event slated for an approximate 11 a.m. start on Sunday, Jan. 5, following Senior Day festivities.