The University of California San Diego men's and women's swim teams are across town this week for their top competition annually on the fall schedule, the A3 Performance Invitational. UC San Diego will serve as the off-site host institution for the ninth consecutive year, in fact as a co-host this year as the Aztec Aquaplex on the campus of San Diego State University serves as the venue for the first time. The meet runs Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 16-18. The previous four editions were held at East Los Angeles College in Monterey Park. A3 Performance is in its fourth year as the title sponsor.
This year's A3 Performance Invitational features eight women's and two men's squads. The women's programs present are Azusa Pacific, Cal State East Bay, Fresno Pacific, Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, San Diego State, UC San Diego and the University of San Diego. The men's competition will have Fresno Pacific and UC San Diego.
A total of 18 swimming events, with 13 individual, five relay and no diving, will be contested. Each day of the meet will begin with preliminaries at 9 a.m. Finals start at an earlier 4:30 p.m. on all three evenings, a late change after having traditionally started at 5 p.m. in past years.
Thursday's program has the 200 freestyle relay, 500 free, 200 individual medley, 50 free and 400 medley relay. The 200 medley relay, 400 IM, 100 butterfly, 200 free, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke and 800 free relay take place on Friday. The 2017 A3 Performance Invitational concludes Saturday with the 1650 free, 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, 200 fly and 400 free relay. Slower heats of the 1650 free will be held beginning at 10:30 a.m., with the fastest women's and men's heat each in primetime after 4:30 p.m.
Single-day tickets for the 2017 A3 Performance Invitational are $15 for general admission and $5 for students (with identification), children (7 and older) and seniors (65 and older). Children under the age of seven are admitted free of charge. A three-day session pass can be purchased on Thursday only, for $30, with a two-day pass available on Friday only, for $20. Meet programs will be sold in a limited quantity for $3.
The A3 Performance Invitational will be live-streamed for the first time, through FloSports and FloSwimming. The-pay-per-view broadcast can be purchased here. For the fourth edition in a row, live results will be on the Meet Mobile application, available for download through iTunes (requires iOS 7.0 or later) and compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Meet results through the app come at an annual subscription cost of $5.99, or monthly fee of $1.99, both of which renew automatically unless cancelled at least 24 hours before the end of the subscription period. Heat sheets for this meet are free. Click here to access it. The meet homepage can be accessed by clicking here.
COLLEGIATE PARA SWIMMING SERIES
UC San Diego is proud to announce its participation in the 2017-18 Collegiate Para Swimming Series, which will kick off in conjunction with this week's A3 Performance Invitational. The series, made possible through a generous grant from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, is the product of collaboration between U.S. Paralympics, a division of the USOC, the NCAA, and host institutions, like UC San Diego. The goal of the series is to expand awareness and create more opportunities for student-athletes with disabilities to compete at the collegiate level. Swimming is a highly inclusive Paralympic sport with eligibility categories spanning physical, visual and intellectual impairments. As part of the series, the 2017 A3 Performance Invitational will include in its schedule, three men's and women's Para swimming events, those being the 50-yard freestyle on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 100-yard backstroke on Friday, Nov. 17, and the 100-yard freestyle on Saturday, Nov. 18.
The A3 Performance Invitational has been called the Nike Cup, Toshiba Classic and Arena Invitational, among other names, over the years. The UC San Diego men (1189 points) were runners-up a year ago to UC Santa Barbara (2026), with the women sixth (575.5) in an 11-team field that UCLA (1400.5) easily topped. In 2015, the Triton men placed fourth (813) as Stanford cruised to victory (2016). UCLA (1295) won on the women's side, with the Tritons fifth (675.5) out of 12. Hawai'i and UC Santa Barbara took the men's competition in 2013 and 2014, respectively, both ahead of second-place UCSD. The Tritons (1246.5 points) narrowly held off Cal Poly (1211.5) in 2014. The women of San Diego State defended their 2013 crown in 2014, and are back for a second straight edition after being absent in 2015. UCSD wound up sixth among 15 squads in 2014, with 543 points. Powerhouses Stanford and California had taken the men's and women's crowns, respectively, both over the previous two editions of the annual meet.
ROAD TO GREENSBORO
The 2018 NCAA Division II Swimming & Diving Championships will take place in Greensboro, N.C. Like it does every November, UC San Diego looks to qualify its first crop of swimmers to nationals at the A3 Performance Invitational this week. The qualifying standards for the NCAA Division II for both the men and women are available. Three Triton females have achieved NCAA B standards in the early going in sophomores Alayna Gocke (200 free, 1:53.08) and Kaitlyn Ritchey (1000 free, 10:27.45; 1650 free, 17:27.32), and freshman Rachel Taylor (200 breast, 2:17.59).
The first in-season College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA)/TYR Top 25 Poll for the NCAA Division II was released on Tuesday. In it, the UC San Diego men are No. 14, with the women at No. 20. The Triton men and women were No. 7 and No. 10, respectively, in the preseason.
HEAD COACH DAVID MARSH
David Marsh, a top-level coach of elite swimmers for over 30 years who guided the 2016 U.S. Women's Olympic Team to 16 medals, was named the head coach of the UC San Diego men's and women's swimming and diving programs on June 27, 2017. He is back in college swimming for the first time in a decade, having directed his alma mater, Auburn, to 12 combined men's and women's NCAA Division I team national championships between 1990-2007. Marsh led the women of Team USA to unprecedented success at the 2016 Rio Olympics, with a final medal haul of eight gold, four silver and four bronze. That contingent featured the likes of Katie Ledecky, Simone Manuel, Maya DiRado and Lilly King. He headed cross country to La Jolla from Charlotte, N.C., where he spent the past 10 years as the CEO and Director of Coaching of SwimMAC Carolina. Within that structure, Marsh established and coached Team Elite, which includes SwimMAC's impressive list of professional swimmers.
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Following the conclusion of this week's activity, senior Angie Phetbenjakul and Tenny Chong will head to Columbus, Ohio, for U.S. Winter Nationals, Nov, 29-Dec. 2. The UC San Diego women then round out the 2017 calendar year with a double dual against Division I foes San Diego State and Pepperdine back at SDSU's Aztec Aquaplex on Friday, Dec. 1, at 2 p.m.