INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - UC San Diego is sending 27 swimmers and divers to the 2013 NCAA Division II Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving Championships, following the official announcement of the qualifiers' list by the NCAA Wednesday.
The four-day meet will be held at the CrossPlex Complex in Birmingham, Ala., March 6-9. The fourth-ranked Triton men have finished as NCAA Division II runners-up in each of the past two seasons to perennial power Drury. The UCSD women, ranked No. 3, have placed third in four consecutive years and 10 of 12 since the program moved up from Division III to Division II for the 2000-01 season.
UCSD's contingent includes 15 swimmers on the women's side and 10 on the men's, alongside a pair of divers in senior Tyler Runsten and Luke Calkins.
Top contenders for individual national titles for UCSD include Nicholas Korth, who won the 200 breaststroke as a freshman in 2011 and is one of only two Tritons returning to the NCAA meet as a past national champion. Fellow junior co-captain Anji Shakya (200 free, 500 free), senior co-captain Beth Dong (400 IM) and sophomore Dane Stassi (200 fly) also will vie for gold medals as they head to Alabama boasting the top time nationally this season in at least one individual event.
The other former national champion in the Tritons' 2013 field is fifth-year senior Mercedes O'Brien, who swam the breaststroke leg of the first-place 200 medley relay as a freshman back in 2009. She will be making her third appearance at nationals, and first since 2010. Fellow senior Casey Adams also earned her first return trip since her freshman year in 2010.
The full men's field is made up of senior co-captain Julius Espiritu (fourth trip), Korth (third), freshmen Michael Leung and Paul Li (first for each), juniors Reid McCallum (third) and Alex Merrill (third), seniors Adam Rice (third) and Jeremy Smith (second), Stassi (second) and senior Adam Yen (third). Runsten, the 2011 national runner-up on the three-meter springboard, makes his fourth NCAA field, and Calkins his third.
For the women, Adams (second trip), sophomores Jaclyn Amog (second) and Eva Chen (second), freshman Colleen Daley (first), Dong (third), senior Olivia Fountain (third) junior Sandy Hon (third), O'Brien (third), sophomore Sierra Robbins (second), junior transfer Erika Rodman (first), Shakya (junior), senior Amber Tan (fourth), freshman Naomi Thomas (first), senior Katherine Tse (fourth) and redshirt freshman Dari Watkins (first) are off to Alabama.
The Tritons, along with Wingate, will have the fifth-largest men's swimming presence in Birmingham, behind eight-time defending national champion Drury (15), Incarnate Word (13), Florida Southern (12) and Grand Canyon (12). A total of 159 men's swimmers will represent 31 different programs. UCSD freshman Howie Chang is also named among five alternates on the men's side.
UCSD's women will have the second-largest contingent on hand, falling short of only the 16 sent by Drury, the 2009, 2010 and 2011 national champion. Incarnate Word (12), Wayne State (11) and Wingate (11) are providing double-digit entries as well. Wayne State edged Drury by a mere point, 497-496, for the 2012 national title. Forty teams will be sending 183 female swimmers to the meet in all.
-- UCSDtritons.com --