The third-ranked Triton women eased past both of their Division II foes, downing sixth-ranked Grand Canyon by the score of 114-85 and defeating Cal State East Bay, 132-67. The fifth-ranked Triton men dropped a 128-77 decision to third-ranked Grand Canyon.
Tritons turned in the top time in 11 of the 22 combined swimming events, including nine of 11 for the women. With the results, the UCSD women are now 3-1 in dual meets this season, while the Triton men are 1-2. The Antelope men improved to a perfect 4-0, while the women moved to an even 3-3 having topped East Bay, 153-51. The Pioneers dropped to 5-3 with their two losses.
Beth Dong and Anji Shakya were top highlights for UCSD, the co-captains combining for four individual triumphs and aiding in two relay wins. Dong was fastest in her signature event, the 400 IM (4:26.96), as well as the 200 back (2:06.37). The senior broke the school record in the 400 IM (4:18.01) at November's Arena Invitational, qualifying her automatically for the NCAA Championships in March. Junior teammate Shakya topped the field in the 200 free (1:53.10) and 500 free (5:02.40).
"Individually, I was pumped about my races," remarked Dong. "Coming off of hell week, it's hard to swim fast when you're not rested, shaved or tapered. I was excited to put those times up today, because now I know that I can go even faster when we are shaved and tapered. That goes for our whole team. Our women rocked today. I'm very proud of them, because we basically are really tired right now, so winning and putting up times that are good in-season marks is exciting on the road to nationals."
Dong and Shakya were also on the victorious 400 medley relay team that posted a B-cut time of 3:56.22 to open the meet. The other half of that foursome was made up of freshman Naomi Thomas and senior anchor Katherine Tse, both of whom also turned in the top mark in an individual event, in the 200 fly (2:05.97) and 100 free (53.01), respectively. Thomas touched second (4:36.73) in her first career 400 IM.
A highlight for the Triton men was Paul Li, who led a 1-2-3 sweep in the 1000 free with a time of 9:48.25, with fellow freshman Kyle Nadler (9:52.67) and Jeremy Smith (10:04.39) following him to the pads. The Fullerton native later swam 500 yards in 4:37.47 to place second in one of Saturday's more entertaining races, as Grand Canyon freshman Jack Feely (4:36.51) held off all of Li's charges.
Sophomore Dane Stassi (1:49.95) won an exciting 200 fly, holding off Antelope junior Ivan Nechunaev (1:51.87). The two standouts began the day ranked first and fourth nationally in Division II in the event.
In a similar battle between nationally-ranked breaststroke specialists, ‘Lopes senior Eetu Karvonen (1:59.91) defeated junior Triton co-captain Nicholas Korth (2:04.05) in the 200. They are second and third, respectively, in Division II in the event.
Grand Canyon was able to win the men's meet largely on the basis of 1-2-3 sweeps of the points in both of the 50- and 100-yard sprints.
The UCSD women jump right back in the water on Sun., Jan. 6, hosting Division I foe San Jose State (4-1), the defending Western Athletic Conference champion, at the Canyonview Aquatic Center. The first of 14 swimming events is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m., with diving also set to go at 11 in the adjacent pool. Admission is free.
"Tomorrow is going to be rough, because we're coming off of today, which was coming off of hell week," concluded Dong. "San Jose State is a really fast team with tough competitors, but we are, too. We race tough, and we can pull some things out, so I'm excited just to see where we're at and how we do. It's really all about this camaraderie and having fun."
Triton Notes: Saturday marked the fifth straight season in which the Tritons hosted Division II rival Grand Canyon in dual meets, with the women a perfect 5-0 against the ‘Lopes and the men now 3-2 after two straight losses ... UCSD exhibitioned the final two events in the women's meet ... With Grand Canyon and Cal State East Bay not fielding diving programs, the Triton divers staged exhibition dives Saturday at Canyonview, with senior All-American Tyler Runsten, the three-time defending conference champion on the three-meter springboard, back in action ... Another UCSD senior All-American back in the water was Adam Rice, who swam 52.13 in a 100 butterfly time trial following the conclusion of the meet ... Triton freshman Howie Chang was unavailable to compete ... A sizeable alumni contingent included Kyle Begovich, Griffin Bracke, Alex Henley, Todd Langland, Michael Lorch, Neda Nguyen, Eric Owens and Kelsey Quigley.
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