The UCSD men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams are headed towards the PCSC Championships, looking for another strong showing at the event that last year led to a third-straight championship for the women and a second-place finish for the men. The four-day PCSC event begins Wednesday, February 7th at Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in Long Beach and will also serve as the last chance for UCSD swimmers and divers to qualify for the NCAA Division II Championships, being held March 14-17 in Buffalo, New York. Thus far, the Tritons have qualified seven men and 12 women for the NCAAs, with head coach Scott McGihon hoping see as many as a half dozen more advance after performances at the conference meet.
The NCAA qualifiers came during UCSD’s impressive showing at the Speedo Cup, also held earlier this season in Long Beach. At the conclusion of the three day Speedo Cup, the UC San Diego women finished in second place, well ahead of Division I opponents USC, UC Irvine, San Jose State, Colorado State, Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, Cal State Northridge, New Mexico, Air Force and University of San Diego. Susan Bell, Emily Harlan, Andrea Lippin, Lauren O’Neill, Liz Whiteley, Heather Szmidt, Katie Baier, Kendall Bohn, Aubrey Panis, Shannon Simonds, Jennifer Sims and Karla Holman all qualified for the NCAA Championships during the meet. The Triton men finished in sixth place, just behind UC Irvine and USC, and ahead of UC Davis and Cal State Northridge. Tim Fuller, Jesse Marin, Evan Hsiao, Devin Ancona and Steven Hardy all qualified for the NCAA Championships with their performances.
Both teams also put on a strong show at home against Cal State Bakersfield, with the women gaining a 141-102 victory as senior Emily Harlan won both sprint events and fellow senior Susan Bell led the team to victories in both relay events. On the men’s side, senior Tim Fuller won the 200 free (1:42.77) and 100 free (46.10), while also part of the winning 400medley relay team, as UCSD captured a 147.5-95.5 victory, the third straight win over Cal State Bakersfield, and only the third win against the perennial Division II powerhouse in school history.
Last year, the Tritons sent 11 women and nine men to the NCAA Championships, finishing 3rd and 5th, respectively. Senior Andrea Lippin earned All-American status after finishing 4th in 1,650, 5th in the 1000, and 4th in the 500, breaking the five-minute barrier for the first time in the latter. Bell reached the finals in three events as well, notching a 3rd place finish in the 200 IM and 5th place in the 400 IM. On the men’s side, Fuller earned All-American status for the second time, junior Evan Hsiao finished 4th in the 100 breaststroke, and sophomore Steven Hardy, the only freshman on the squad last season, recorded a lifetime best swim with his lead-off time of 1:44.34 in the 800 free relay, helping the team to a 5th place finish, while also contributed to 4th and 5th place finishes for the 200 medley and 400 medley relay teams.
The conference championships will run from Wednesday, February 7th through Saturday, February 10th at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in Long Beach and all qualifying Triton will then head to the NCAA Championships in Buffalo, New York, beginning Wednesday, March 14th.