The UC San Diego men's and women's swimming and diving teams head to La Mirada on Tuesday, Feb. 12, to compete in the four-day Pacific Collegiate Swimming & Diving Conference (PCSC) Championships at the Splash! La Mirada Regional Aquatic Center.
The Tritons enter the meet as the four-time defending conference champions in both the men's and women's divisions.
The UCSD women, ranked third nationally in the NCAA Division II, finished 8-3 in dual meets this season. The fourth-ranked Triton men completed their dual schedule at 8-2 with seven straight victories. The teams are coming off of triumphs over Division I foes University of San Diego (Feb. 2) and Cal Poly (Jan. 26), respectively.
TRITONS RANKED IN TOP FIVE
The third of three national poll releases by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) for the 2012-13 NCAA Division II season was unveiled on Jan. 31. In it, the UCSD women remained at No. 3, while the men moved up from No. 5 to No. 4. The respective squads were third and fifth in the Dec. 19 installment, and first and third on Nov. 14.
PCSC CHAMPIONSHIPS PREVIEW
UCSD co-head coaches Matt Macedo and Corrie Falcon will be able to call this week on the services of six swimmers who have previously won individual conference titles. On the men's side, junior co-captain Nicholas Korth is a two-time defending league champ in three events, the 100 and 200 breaststrokes and 200 IM. Adam Rice won last year's 200 butterfly and 400 IM, as well as the 100 butterfly in 2011, while fellow seniors Adam Yen (100 butterfly) and Tyler Runsten (three-meter diving) will be looking for back-to-back wins in their specialties. In fact, Runsten is the three-time defending PCSC three-meter champion.
On the women's side, junior co-captain Anji Shakya took the 200 and 500 freestyle in both 2011 and 2012. Senior co-captain Beth Dong was the 2011 PCSC champion in the 1650 freestyle. The Triton men and women swept all 10 relay races in 2012.
As a team, the UCSD women compiled 1663.5 points to outdistance Cal Baptist (1268.5) and Fresno Pacific (733) a year ago, while the men accumulated 1649 points to cruise past Cal Baptist (1422) and Concordia (1133). This year's meet will feature a new team in Canadian outfit and fellow Division II member Simon Fraser from Burnaby, British Columbia, accepted into the PCSC just within the last month.
The 2013 PCSC Championships were officially moved recently from longtime home Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in Long Beach to the Splash! La Mirada Regional Aquatic Center in La Mirada. Belmont Plaza, also the annual site of the Arena Invitational, hosted by UCSD, was temporarily shut down at the time due to safety issues, and has since been permanently closed. The PCSC Championships also were moved from Long Beach to the Splash! complex late last season.
The PCSC Championships consist of 40 events in all, 20 men's and 20 women's. The total includes the five relays for each division, as well as the one- and three-meter springboard diving competitions. The women's races take place before the men's.
The short day-one swim program on Wednesday, Feb. 13, features the 200 medley relay and 800 free relay, with just one evening session beginning at 4:30 p.m. The men's one-meter and women's three-meter will also be held, with prelims at 11 a.m. and finals at 3 p.m. The 500 free, 200 IM, 50 free and 200 free relay take place on Thursday. The women's one-meter has prelims at 12:40 p.m. and finals at 3:30.
Friday sees the 400 IM with top seed and heavy favorite Beth Dong in the water for the Tritons, alongside the 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast, 100 back and 400 medley relay. Diving concludes with the men's three-meter at 1:30 p.m. for prelims and 3:30 for finals as Tyler Runsten vies for a fourth successive league crown. The championships end on Saturday, Feb. 16, with the mile, 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, 200 fly and always-exciting meet-concluding 400 free relay. Preliminaries for the swimming events on Thursday, Friday and Saturday begin at 9 a.m., with the evening finals sessions at 4:30 p.m. on all four days of the meet.
PAIR OF TRITONS EARN DIVISION II SWIMMER OF THE WEEK HONORS
UCSD sophomore Dane Stassi was named on Jan. 30 by CollegeSwimming.com as the Counsilman Hunsaker Division II Men's Swimmer of the Week. Stassi swept his specialty butterfly events for the second straight Saturday at Cal Poly on Jan. 26, while also participating in two first-place relays. His split of 21.55 to lead off the winning 200 free relay at the end of the day would have been fast enough to take the 50 free earlier. Stassi became the second Triton swimmer to earn the national award this season. Senior co-captain Beth Dong was the women's winner on Jan. 8.
Twelve Tritons are currently qualified automatically for the 2013 NCAA Division II Swimming & Diving Championships in Birmingham, Ala., March 6-9. Those athletes are Beth Dong, Olivia Fountain, Nicholas Korth, Sierra Robbins, Anji Shakya, Dane Stassi, Amber Tan, Naomi Thomas, Katherine Tse, Dari Watkins and divers Luke Calkins and Tyler Runsten. UCSD will look to double that contingent and then some this week, to get much closer to the maximum of 17 swimmers and divers per squad. The Triton men have reached that number in each of the past two seasons.
TRITONS AMONG NATIONAL LEADERS
Nicholas Korth's season-best mark in the 200 breaststroke of 1:58.18 was second-fastest among swimmers of all divisions at the time that he posted it on the final day of the Arena Invitational on Nov. 17. It now ranks 24th among all divisions and third in the NCAA Division II. Korth ranks fourthin Division II in the 100 (54.21).
Dane Stassi tops the Division II leaderboard in the 200 butterfly (1:45.65), and is third in the 100 fly (48.13).
On the women's side, captain Beth Dong is fastest among Division II swimmers in the 400 IM (4:18.01), third in the 1000 (10:17.01), fourth in the 500 free (4:56.06) and 1650 (16:57.77), sixth in the 200 fly (2:03.06), and seventh in the 200 back (2:01.20). Fellow senior Olivia Fountain is third in the 100 fly (54.95), with freshman Naomi Thomas behind her in sixth (55.82). Fountain has the seventh-best 50 free mark at 23.32, and Thomas is second in the 200 fly (2:01.68).
Junior Anji Shakya is fastest in the 500 free (4:53.30), third in the 200 free (1:49.73) and seventh in the 100 free (50.82).
Other Triton individuals in the top-eight nationally are Reid McCallum (50 free, 7th, 20.40), Paul Li (200 free, 7th, 1:38.47 and 500 free, 7th, 4:28.39), Jeremy Smith (1650 free, 7th 15:43.27), Korth (200 IM, 7th, 1:48.62) and Erika Rodman (1650 free, 7th, 17:07.85). The UCSD men's 800 free relay is sixth (6:38.84), with the 200 free relay eighth (1:22.09). The Triton women are second in the 400 free relay (3:24.52) and 800 free relay (7:28.23), third in the 200 free relay (1:33.76), and eighth in the 200 medley relay (1:44.41).
LAST TIME OUT
The UCSD men cruised past Division I Cal Poly, 179-115, in San Luis Obispo on Jan. 26, while the women snapped a two-year winless streak against crosstown Division I rival University of San Diego with a dramatic win at home, 156.5-143.5, on Feb. 2.
ENDLESS POOLS POLL
The Triton women continue to top the latest installment of the Endless Pools/CollegeSwimming.com Division II Top 25. It is the ninth week the Tritons have led the poll this season, with the most recent rankings accounting for performances between Jan. 7-Feb. 4. The UCSD men, who were No. 1 in this ranking earlier in the year, are at No. 4. Points for the Endless Pools/CollegeSwimming.com Top 25 are calculated using the average percentile rank of each team’s top 27 swimmers in each meet. The Top 25 is ranked on the basis of each squad’s highest-scoring competition over the preceding month.
Team captains for the 2012-13 season were voted on at the conclusion of the prior year, with Nicholas Korth, fellow junior Anji Shakya, and seniors Beth Dong and Julius Espiritu earning that distinction.
Following Saturday's final day of the PCSC Championships, the Triton men and women will have 17 days of preparation remaining before the 2013 NCAA Division II Championships in Birmingham, Ala., Wednesday through Saturday, March 6-9.
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