BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The University of California San Diego produced seven All-Americans, one school record and a national runner-up placement on the third day of the 2017 NCAA Division II Swimming & Diving Championships at the CrossPlex. The city of Birmingham and the University of Alabama in Huntsville are co-hosts.
The Triton women are now in 17th with 67 points through 15 of 21 total events. The men are 18th with 74.5 through 16 events.
Senior Gabriel Hernandez provided a scintillating performance in the championship final of the 200-yard butterfly, turning in a third school record this meet in 1:44.80 for second place. He tracked down Fresno Pacific's Aleksei Averchenko (1:44.86) over the final 25 yards and narrowly out-touched him. Hernandez thus lowered his own school standard of 1:45.11 from last month's conference meet. Queens sophomore Marius Kusch obliterated the NCAA Division II record to win in 1:42.04.
Hernandez and junior Kevin Wylder qualified for the championship final of the 200-yard butterfly together with the second- and sixth-fastest preliminary times, respectively. Hernandez went 1:46.13 to narrowly win an exciting second heat over FPU's Averchenko (1:46.24), while Wylder timed a season-best 1:46.71 as the Triton teammates were two of only six entrants to get under 1:47.00. Wylder was then eighth in the championship final behind his teammate, in an even 1:48.00.
Fourth-year senior Jaimie Bryan also made an A final in her 2017 NCAA Championships debut, advancing in seventh in the 100 breaststroke with a huge personal-record mark of 1:01.90. It fell just .02 seconds shy of arguably the greatest female breaststroker in program history, Rosanna Delurgio, who had gone 1:01.88 all the way back in 2003. Bryan, who thus moved up from fourth to second in the all-time record book, was eighth in the final in 1:02.29.
The women's 800 freestyle relay of junior Haley Murphy, sophomore Reagan Eickert, junior Julia Toronczak (Santee/West Hills HS) and senior anchor Natalie Tang combined for a season-best 7:25.67 for the top time from the morning heats. After the fastest heat was completed in the evening, they settled into eighth place for All-America distinction for all four Tritons.
Senior Michael Cohn placed sixth in the consolation final of the 100 backstroke for 14th overall, in a season-best 48.88. He had timed a season-best 49.22 for 15th in morning prelims. Another All-America honorable mention came from junior Angie Phetbenjakul in the 100 breast, in 16th (1:03.41). The junior was 15th (1:02.84) in prelims.
A quartet of Tritons swam in prelims of the 500 free in Eickert (19th, 4:58.72), junior Haley Hamza (43rd, 5:06.95), freshman Kaitlyn Ritchey (44th, 5:07.15) and Cohn (26th, 4:32.09). Junior Alex Rodman (20th, 56.78) and Toronczak (29th, 58.23) participated in the 100 back. Sophomore Lily Maxfield produced a personal-best time of 1:04.05 in placing 29th in the 100 breast.
The men's 800 free relay of sophomore Garrett Tse, Hernandez, Wylder and Cohn were 20th with a mark of 6:42.13.
The NCAA Championships conclude on Saturday, March 11, with morning prelims beginning at 8:30 a.m. PT, and evening finals at 3:30 p.m. PT. The last two sessions, featuring the 1650 free, 100 free, 200 back, 200 breast, women's three-meter diving and 400 free relay, can be watched live online, free of charge, at NCAA.com/live, with live results here.
Triton Notes: Through three days in Alabama, the Tritons have compiled eight All-America awards, three school records and 26 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 ... All three school records at this meet belong to Gabriel Hernandez, in the 200 IM Wednesday, 400 IM Thursday and 200 fly Friday ... Hernandez lowered his own school standards in all three of those events, and has posted seven school-record swims this season.