LONG BEACH, Calif. - University of California San Diego senior Gabriel Hernandez has been named the 2016-17 Pacific Collegiate Swimming and Diving Conference (PCSC) Male Swimmer of the Year.
Hernandez, a transfer from Golden West College in Huntington Beach, native of Valencia, Venezuela, and member of the Venezuela national team, excelled in his lone year at UC San Diego. He won three individual titles at the PCSC Championships in Monterey Park in February, all in school- and meet-record times, before earning two All-America distinctions and two All-America honorable mentions at his first and only NCAA Division II Championships in Birmingham, Ala., in March.
All told, Hernandez produced seven school-record swims this past season, and was the only Triton, male or female, to set a new program standard in 2016-17.
Hernandez gives UCSD at least a fourth PCSC Swimmer of the Year in a row on the men's side, following breaststroke great Nicholas Korth in 2014 and senior teammate Michael Cohn back-to-back in 2015 and 2016. With his maximum 96 points from the three individual PCSC wins, Hernandez was also designated the PCSC Championships Male Swimmer of the Meet.
Hernandez's three victories at the PCSC meet came in the 200-yard individual medley (1:46.89), 400 IM (3:49.95) and 200 butterfly (1:45.11). He also anchored the PCSC champion 800 freestyle relay (6:36.33) ahead of Cohn and juniors Austin Takeda and CJ Pais, and competed in preliminaries of the 500 free (4:28.48) and 200 breaststroke (1:57.93).
At the NCAA Championships, Hernandez won the consolation final of the 200 IM in a school-record 1:46.39 for ninth overall and All-America honorable mention. Then on the second and third nights, he placed third in the 400 IM (3:48.52) and second in the 200 fly (1:44.80), respectively, lowering his own program standards in both of those championships finals for All-America honors. He completed his season and Triton career with an 11th-place effort in the 200 breast (1:57.85) on the meet's final night. That mark is No. 2 all-time at UCSD behind Korth's tough-to-beat 1:54.45.