UCSD Completes Incredible NCAA Meet With Women Third, Men 17th and 36 All-America Distinctions
INDIANAPOLIS - The UC San Diego women completed an extraordinary meet in third place as the 2016 NCAA Division II Swimming & Diving Championships came to a close Saturday night. The four-day meet was held for the second year in a row at the IU Natatorium on the campus of IUPUI, with the University of Indianapolis and Indiana Sports Corp serving as co-hosts.
The Triton women compiled a total of 345 points over the 21 events, holding off perennial power Drury (295) while falling just short of Wingate in second (364.5). They got back into the top three for the first time since another third-place finish in 2013. UCSD was fifth in 2014 and sixth a year ago. The men moved up from 20th after Thursday, to 17th in the end, with 89 points. Queens of Charlotte, N.C., cruised to second straight titles for both its men (449) and women (567).
On Saturday, UCSD produced nine more All-America distinctions, with a trio of All-America honorable mentions and two final school-record swims.
Michael Cohn (Solana Beach/Grossmont College) showed off his back-half skills in his best event, the 200-yard backstroke. After getting off to a slow start in the final, in fourth after 50 yards and third after 100, he rallied for second, shattering his own school record from 1:44.92 down to 1:44.28. The junior fell narrowly short of catching winner Zack Phelps (1:43.87), a senior from Queens. Cohn was over a full second faster than in prelims (1:45.40), from which he came out as the No. 3 seed, winning the third of three heats. He was fourth in this event a year ago.
The women's 400 free relay of Maddy Huttner, Dari Watkins, Natalie Tang and anchor Colleen Daley timed 3:22.04 for second, obliterating the school record of 3:23.10 by over a full second. It marked an inspiring final collegiate swim for seniors Huttner, Watkins and Daley. The foursome had gone 3:23.40 to win the second of three preliminary heats, with Huttner's opening 100-yard split of 51.18 a personal record, after she had just a little earlier posted a prior personal best of 51.19 in prelims of the individual 100 free, coming up just shy of an evening final as the first alternate in 17th. The Air Force transfer made it three for three in terms of PR efforts on the day, by leading off the relay at night in 50.74. UCSD was still just fourth when Huttner was done, and third when Daley hit the water, but the Sacramento native tracked down Drury's senior anchor, Sarah Pullen, and then some, with the Tritons touching out the Panthers by more than a second.
Daley earlier sprinted 50.73 for sixth in the 100 free, with a pair of teammates in the consolation final in fellow co-captain Tang (50.81, 10th) and Watkins (51.09, 13th). Tang was second in her race by .06 seconds, in a personal-record time. Watkins had posted a PR of her own at 51.08 in prelims, to move up from No. 9 to No. 4 all-time in program history. The 24 points that Daley, Tang and Watkins combined for pulled UCSD to within just 23 of Wingate with three events left.
Junior Jaimie Bryan and true freshman Lily Maxfield were absolutely incredible in the 200 breaststroke. They first went 1-2 in the fourth of four morning heats, both easily going personal-record times. Bryan shattered her previous best by over 2.5 seconds, from 2:16.67 down to 2:14.13, and was justifiably giddy after touching the wall, looking up at the scoreboard and seeing what she had just accomplished. Maxfield went 2:14.71, her fastest before being 2:15.65. The times put them 3-4 in the Triton record book, and 2-4 into the championship final. Bryan did a little jig behind the blocks ahead of that final, and then she and Maxfield placed third (2:14.60) and fifth (2:15.13), respectively.
Sophomore Julia Toronczak (Santee/West Hills HS), like Maxfield earned her first career individual All-America honor with an identical fifth-place finish in her specialty, the 200 back. The local product timed a personal-record 1:59.10 in the final after also going a fifth-fastest 1:59.70 in prelims.
The men's 400 free relay of sophomores Kevin Fink and Kevin Wylder, and juniors Chandler Pourvahidi and Cohn, teamed up for 3:05.12 and 19th place in prelims. Pourvahidi returned for the mile, his season-best mark of 15:38.97 ultimately good for 13th and All-America honorable mention after all heats had been completed.
Freshman Reagan Eickert represented the Triton women in the 1650, finishing 22nd with a time of 17:22.81. Other prelim performers were Angie Phetbenjakul in both the 100 free (52.43, 44th) and the 200 breast (2:19.45, 21st), Wylder in the 100 free (45.56, 42nd), and a third sophomore, Haley Murphy, also in the 100 (52.14, T-34th). Phetbenjakul was in fact a third Triton in that same heat of the 200 breast.
Triton Notes: The Tritons finished the 2016 NCAA Championships with 36 All-America distinctions, 10 All-America honorable mentions, eight school-record swims and four wins in consolation finals ... First through eighth placements at the NCAA meet constitute All-America, with ninth through 16th good for All-America honorable mention ... UCSD totaled 20 All-America performances last year.