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Photo by: Ken Grosse/UCSD Athletics
The 800 free relay team of Alex Merrill, Michael Lorch, Julius Espiritu and Adam Rice.
Four Relay Wins Highlight Opening Day of PCSC Championships
Release: Thursday 02/08/2012 
by UCSD

LA MIRADA, Calif. - UC San Diego won four relay events Wednesday to highlight the opening day of the Pacific Coast Swim and Dive Conference Championships at the Splash! La Mirada Regional Aquatic Center. 

UCSD is shooting for its fourth straight PCSC titles on both the men's and women's sides. After day one, the women are in first place with 194 points. Cal Baptist is second (177) and Pepperdine is third (163). The men are also leading the pack with 205 points as Cal Baptist sits in second (168) and Concordia is third (156)

The Triton men, ranked third in the country, qualified five more swimmers for the upcoming NCAA Championships, while the No. 1 women added two more to its list..

The UCSD team of Alex Merrill, Julius Espiritu, Adam Rice and Michael Lorch set a new school and meet record in the 800 free relay with a winning time of 6:38.30. Espiritu, Lorch and Merrill qualified for NCAAs in the event. The previous record was 6:39.26, set at last season's NCAA Championships by the same squad.

In the men's 200 medley relay, Eric Owens, Nick Korth, Rice and Reid McCallum combined for the victory in 1:30.00. Rice and McCallum posted NCAA qualifying splits.

"We did what I expected, but it was still incredible," said UCSD co-head coach Matt Macedo. "From top-to-bottom, we had great swims, great splits. We've never been this good, this early at this meet. Michael Lorch's anchor leg in the 800 free was amazing - he was so sick Monday he couldn't train."

For the women, Alex Henley set a new school record in the 200 freestyle, leading off the 800 free relay with a time of 1:48.27. She broke her own record, which was a 1:48.73 set in November of 2011.

Henley combined with Jessica Norgaard, Anji Shakya and Bethany Dong to win the 800 free in 7:25.21, with Dong qualifying for NCAAs in the process.

Mercedes O'Brien qualified for the NCAA Championships in the women's 200 medley relay. Sandy Hon, O'Brien, Olivia Fountain and Michelle Robbins swam a 1:43.68 to win that event.

"We achieved all of the things we set out to do today," said UCSD co-head coach Corrie Falcon. "The women's 200 medley relay team swam very well, considering three of the four were not rested or shaved. I'm excited to see what that group will be able to do at NCAAs. I think we will be a championship contender. These two opening swims really take the pressure off for the rest of the meet."

The women's three-meter and men's one-meter dive events were also contested Wednesday. Tyler Runsten placed second (345.05 points), Luke Calkins was fourth (285.55) and Adam Springer finished seventh (216.10) on the men's side. For the women, Jamie Leigh Pearce was sixth (230.20) and Natalie Mouzooni placed eighth (193.75).

"I couldn't have asked for a better day - all four of our men finished top eight in the prelims and I was really satisfied with the way our women pushed each other," said UCSD diving coach Michelle Casillas. "It was a great start and creates good momentum for the rest of the week, particularly since our better events on both sides are still remaining."

Action resumes Thursday at 9 a.m. in La Mirada. Events on the slate include the 500 freestyle, the 200 individual medley, the 50 freestyle, the 200 freestyle relay and women's one-meter diving.

For complete information on the PCSC Championships, please visit pacificswimanddive.org/champresults.html.

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