LA MIRADA, Calif. - There wasn’t any doubt left heading into the day, but now it’s official.
The UC San Diego men’s and women’s teams each put the finishing touches on their sixth straight league crowns on the fourth and final day of the 2014 Pacific Collegiate Swimming & Diving Conference (PCSC) Championships Saturday at the Splash! La Mirada Regional Aquatic Center.
The ninth-ranked Triton men totaled 1604 points through 21 events, topping a field of seven programs with Concordia Irvine (1306) a distant second. The No. 5 UCSD women finished with 1564 points, well ahead of Cal State East Bay (1116.5) and nine other schools.
Of the 12 final events contested Saturday, Triton swimmers won six, including a sweep of the meet-ending 400 free relays. Naomi Thomas repeated her first-place effort from 2013 in the 200 butterfly (2:03.01), with fellow sophomore Alex Moshensky completing his sweep of the backstroke events with a win in the 200.
Moshensky, the 100 winner Friday, earlier in the day broke the UCSD program’s oldest record with his preliminary time of 1:47.50. Travis Miller, among UCSD’s inaugural Hall of Fame class this past September, had held the mark at 1:48.13 since March 19, 1994. Moshensky ultimately went 1:49.32 in finals to win by more than three seconds over sophomore teammate Micheal Leung (1:52.35) in second.
Freshman Sierra Gage won her first conference title by finishing first (16:59.31) in the longest event of the competition, the 1650 free. She beat out teammate and defending champion in the event, senior Erika Rodman, who placed second in 17:08.11.
When all was said and done, Triton sophomore Paul Li earned Male Swimmer of the Meet honors as the highest point-getter on the men’s side. Senior co-captain Anji Shakya fell one point shy of garnering that distinction for the second year in a row, as Cal State East Bay’s Caitlin DeNise edged her out.
“Paul is one of those guys who’s following in the footsteps of Nick Korth, doing everything right,” said UCSD co-head coach Matt Macedo. “He works hard, is a team leader, set a school record in the 500 freestyle (Thursday), and had all best times in his primary events. He deserved to be recognized as the top swimmer here, and what he did looks real promising for not only NCAAs, but the future of the men’s team.”
Luke Calkins, who swept the one-meter and three-meter springboard events, was the Male Diver of the Meet.
Shakya, sophomore Colleen Daley, freshman Catherine Woo and junior Sierra Robbins went 3:25.27 for first place in the 400 free relay. On the men’s side, it was Merrill, Heale, McCallum and Leung winning in 3:01.95. Both were season-best times.
Freshman Sasha Mitrushina was second in the men’s 1650 (15:39.40). Daley (51.30) and Shakya (51.51) went 2-3 in the 100 free behind DeNise (50.94). Daley had won the 50 on Thursday night for her first individual PCSC title.
Freshman Jaimie Bryan (2:17.91) and junior Eva Chen (2:18.35) were 2-3 in the 200 breast, as were freshman Zach Yong (1:59.87) and senior co-captain Nicholas Korth (2:02.71) on the men’s side. Korth, the PCSC champion in the event in each of his first three years at UCSD, was essentially saving himself for a post-meet time trial in the 400 medley relay. Yong fell a mere .49 seconds shy of his first conference title.
Sophomores Dari Watkins (2:06.19) and Jessica Norgaard (2:06.77) were 3-4 behind Thomas in the 200 fly. Senior co-captain Lindsay Oosterhouse was fifth in the 200 back in a season-best 2:05.94. Another fourth-year Triton senior, Ahiram Rodriguez, placed third in the 200 fly (1:51.36).
“I think we swam as well as we had hoped, and it was such an improvement over the Arena Invitational, our other big meet this season,” concluded Macedo. “We were truly the team we want to be, swimming fast and enjoying it.
“We came in expecting to win, but it felt like we just dominated the meet. I don’t think we’ve had a better conference championship in terms of atmosphere and performance in my time at UCSD. We have 13 seniors and it was great to see them have such a powerful showing.
“NCAA berths are not going to be released for another week and that waiting game is going to be tough, but we’re optimistic that we will have a full roster on both sides, which would be incredible.”
Next up for UCSD is the 2014 NCAA Division II Championships in Geneva, Ohio, March 12-15. The full list of Tritons qualifying for the meet is expected to be determined next Sunday, Feb. 23.