GENEVA, Ohio - Three school records and 10 All-America performances highlighted UC San Diego’s day Wednesday at the 2014 NCAA Division II Swimming & Diving Championships.
The four-day meet began Wednesday morning and runs through Saturday, co-hosted by Edinboro and the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission at the SPIRE Institute Natatorium. Geneva is located about 45 miles east of Cleveland.
The Triton men picked up 69 points to take the third position behind first-place Drury, the nine-time defending national champion from Springfield, Mo., with 144.5. Florida Southern is second with 83. UCSD’s women are 12th with 29 points. Wayne State leads those standings (120).
Freshman Chandler Pourvahidi produced the top individual finish by a Triton. His first race at the national championships made him a first-time All-American as the product of El Dorado Hills in the Sacramento area went an incredible 9:13.96 during the morning portion of the 1000 freestyle. The time was second-best at that point, and held firm at fifth following the final, fastest heat to begin the evening segment. The time moved Pourvahidi up from No. 4 all-time at UCSD to No. 3, right behind Kyle Nadler’s 9:13.52 from the conference meet.
Nadler, who entered as the seventh seed based off of that winning time at the Pacific Collegiate Swimming & Diving Conference (PCSC) on Feb. 12, swam in the fast heat at night and wound up 11th with a time of 9:19.83. Freshman Sasha Mitrushina was 15th (9:24.23).
Korth touched the wall seventh in 20.23 in his first championship final of the 50 freestyle as the PCSC champion. He entered the event as the fifth seed and had the sixth-fastest time of the morning of 20.21, just off his personal best of 20.20 from the PCSC final a month ago. The Santa Clarita native, who only began to sprint regularly as a senior this season, ranks No. 2 at UCSD in the event with that best mark.
Sophomore Cole Heale turned in a pair of personal records in the 50, of 20.37 in prelims and 20.33 in the consolation final, placing second in the latter race and 10th overall in the event.
The men’s 200 medley relay of junior Sean Malley, Korth, freshman Julian Jacobs and Heale as the freestyle anchor, blazed to a school-record time of 1:27.95 in achieving the third-fastest time in morning prelims. That mark eclipsed the previous school standard of 1:28.56 by almost a second, turned in at the 2012 NCAA Championships on March 14, 2012, by Eric Owens, Korth, Adam Rice and Blake Langland. Malley’s leadoff backstroke leg of 22.45 gave the transfer sole possession of that school record, having previously held a share of it with a time-trial effort at the conference meet in La Mirada last month.
The foursome then produced the rarity of the exact same time in the championship final, matching the standard it set just hours before and finishing fourth.
“I was pleased with how I performed today and thought both teams had a very good first day,” remarked Heale. “This is as big as it gets in college swimming, and it’s my first time at this meet. I was a little nervous coming in, but I decided to just go out and have fun and it turned out well. I think we’re positioned to have a big meet.”
The women's 200 medley relay of senior Sandy Hon, freshman Jaimie Bryan, junior Jaclyn Amog and sophomore Colleen Daley timed 1:43.30 to advance to the evening final with the sixth-best time. The foursome then broke the five-year-old school record in the event at night, swimming 1:42.23 for fifth place. Anju Shimura, Mercedes O’Brien, Jessica Ferguson and Aubrey Panis went 1:42.56 at the 2009 NCAA Championships on March 11, 2009.
“Putting both relays in the finals and setting two school records was a huge achievement, particularly for the women,” said UCSD co-head coach Corrie Falcon. “That mark had been there for five years.”
All eight relay swimmers earned All-America status for their top-eight finishes, with Jacobs parlaying his entry as a relay alternate into some hardware to take home. With two more tonight, Korth is now a 15-time All-American for his career.
Zach Yong was the lone UCSD representative in the men’s 200 individual medley (26th, 1:51.94), with fellow freshmen Austine Lee (17th, 2:05.67) and Bryan (28th, 2:07.27), and sophomore Naomi Thomas (34th, 2:08.87) competing for the women. Lee fell a mere .03 seconds short of a chance at the consolation final.
Remaining Tritons in the men’s 50 free were fourth-year senior Reid McCallum (T23rd, 20.54) and junior Jack Galvan (50th, 21.02). Women’s participants were junior Sierra Robbins (17th, 23.56), Daley (21st, 23.62), Lee (34th, 23.99), Amog (43rd, 24.23), and freshmen Catherine Woo (48th, 24.33) and Natalie Tang (51st, 24.41).
“The first day at this meet is always one of the hardest,” concluded Falcon. “We’ve seen both highs and lows in the past. I would call this solid. It was not our best, but it was strong. We’ve told the team that we don’t necessarily need miracles to do well. We just need to be consistent and solid.
“The men had a lot of good swims and seeing them in third right now is extremely exciting. The people we thought would score scored, and getting points from three swimmers in the 1000 free (Pourvahidi, Nadler, Mitrushina) was huge. On the women’s side, we had some good swims, but we have to do better. We need to get some scoring from individuals. Tomorrow is going to be a really important day.”
The second day of the 2014 NCAA Championships, consisting of the 200 free relay, 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free and 400 medley relay, gets under way Thursday at 7:30 a.m. PT. Senior co-captain Anji Shakya will begin her final NCAA meet while defending her 2013 national title in the 200 freestyle. She is seeded sixth. Evening finals start at 3 p.m. PT. All sessions this week can be watched online, free of charge, at NCAA.com, with live results here.