BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -
The UC San Diego men are in sixth-place and women in 10th after the first night of the 2013 NCAA Division II Swimming & Diving Championships Wednesday at the Birmingham CrossPlex.
The four-day championships are being held as part of the NCAA Division II National Championships Festival, co-hosted by the Gulf South Conference and the city of Birmingham and featuring over 1,000 student-athletes from five sports that will crown their team champions this week.
The Triton men picked up 66 points to take the sixth position behind first-place Drury, the eight-time defending national champion from Springfield, Mo., with 109. UCSD's women have 36.5 points, with Drury also leading those standings with 104.
UCSD had six individuals and both relays qualify for evening finals from morning preliminaries, and wound up with six All-America performances as junior co-captain Nicholas Korth and fourth-year senior diver Tyler Runsten had top-eight finishes, as did the men's 200 medley relay of senior co-captain Julius Espiritu, Korth, sophomore Dane Stassi and junior Reid McCallum.
Korth touched sixth in the championship final of the 200 individual medley, and is now an 11-time All-American for his college career. He improved on his personal-best time of 1:47.55 from morning prelims, fifth-fastest, and went 1:47.34 in the evening, No. 2 all-time at UCSD behind current teammate Adam Rice (1:46.99).
Rice was third in the consolation final of the 200 IM, good for 11th overall, in a season-best 1:47.99 (1:48.61 in prelims). Wayne State sophomore Piotr Jachowicz won the event with the first meet record of the week, in 1:44.82.
Runsten moved up to a final placement of fourth on the three-meter springboard with a score of 526.90 after sneaking into the eight-diver finals with the eighth-best prelim score of 480.05. The 2011 silver medalist at three meters is now a four-time All-American. Junior Luke Calkins' point total following the 11-dive trials portion in the afternoon was 423.90, good for 16th out of 18 competitors to open.
Espiritu, Korth, Stassi and McCallum sped a season-best 1:28.83 for eighth-place in the championship final of the 200 medley relay to conclude the first night, just off the school record of 1:28.56. The group went 1:28.89 earlier to get into the championship final in sixth. Florida Southern (1:27.21) touched out Grand Canyon (1:27.23) at the wall for a new NCAA Division II record.
Olivia Fountain tied for 10th in the 50 free, sprinting 23.39 (23.60 prelims) in the consolation final while fellow fourth-year senior Katherine Tse was 16th in 23.86 (23.61 prelims).
Sophomore Eva Chen placed 13th in the 200 IM with a time of 2:05.07 after just missing the championship final by .10 seconds in the morning, qualifying for the consolation in ninth in a season-best time of 2:04.72.
The 200 medley relay of junior Sandy Hon, fifth-year senior Mercedes O'Brien, Fountain and anchor Tse timed 1:42.73 to win the consolation final for ninth-place overall, narrowly falling short of the school record of 1:42.56. The foursome shaved nearly three seconds off their trials mark of 1:45.51. Sophomore Jaclyn Amog swam the morning butterfly leg before giving way to Fountain at night, who promptly turned in the top 50-yard fly split by anyone on the entire day, in just 23.66.
Beth Dong's time of 10:10.18 in the 1000 free in the morning session, her first race of a full seven-event program for the senior co-captain this week, wound up 10th-best after the final heat to begin the evening segment. It was fifth-fastest heading in, as well as a personal best by over three seconds (10:13.57). The mark improved on Dong's No. 2 ranking in the Triton record book.
Junior transfer Erika Rodman, in her first NCAA Division II Championships, timed a season-best 10:18.72 for 20th.
Senior Jeremy Smith swam a season-best 9:17.14 to win his heat of the 1000 free, with true freshman Paul Li behind him in sixth in a personal-record 9:33.22 for his first-ever race at an NCAA meet. Smith's mark, third-fastest at the end of the morning session, ultimately put him ninth, just outside of the All-America slots, through the day's final heat. Li was 22nd.
Remaining Tritons in preliminaries of the women's 50 free were true freshman Colleen Daley (23.86, 28th) in her NCAA Championships debut, sophomores Sierra Robbins (23.93, 31st) and Amog (season-best 23.98, T35th), senior Amber Tan (24.04, T38th) and Hon (24.39, 55th). UCSD men in the 50 were McCallum (20.68, 29th), Stassi (20.83, T37th) and junior Alex Merrill (21.14, 53rd).
Another UCSD freshman competing in her first race at nationals Wednesday was Naomi Thomas, who was 25th in prelims of the 200 IM in a collegiate-best 2:07.01.
The second day of the 2013 NCAA Championships, consisting of the 200 free relay, 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free and 400 medley relay, gets under way Thursday at 8 a.m. PT. Dong has the top mark this year in the 400 IM, while junior co-captain Anji Shakya will open her 2013 NCAA account with the nation's fastest time in the 200. Evening segments begin at 3:30 p.m. PT through Saturday, Mar. 9.
-- UCSDtritons.com --