Gauchos taken down by local-laden Trojans

Now in his 34th season, Gregg Wilson has accomplished some amazing things as head coach of the UCSB swim team — 26 Big West men’s titles, 13 Big West women’s titles, 23 Big West Coach of the Year awards, etc…

But his 34th attempt at beating USC fell short in front of a big crowd on Saturday at Campus Pool, and he’ll have to wait until the 35th attempt to see if he can finally get a win over the Trojans.

USC — which features Santa Barbara products Lolo Blair, Lindsay Parrish, Sarah Webb and Matt Talmadge — defeated the Gauchos 143-11 in the women’s competition, while the men’s competition came down to the final events before the Trojans won 139-123.

“I think they want to win and I think they can win, but in order to beat a team like SC you can’t have any misses. We had some misses,” said Wilson.


Finally breaking the streak was a reachable goal this year, according to Wilson.

“Naya (Higashijima), my assistant, came up to me and said ‘We can win this. We can win eight events and win this,'” recalled Wilson. “The goal for both the women and men was to not lose the meet.”

But the Trojans brought a whole heap of talent t0 the pool deck, as evidenced by the presence of Olympic rings tattooed on a few of the Trojan swimmers who swam in Beijing’s Water Cube two summers ago. Those tattoos might intimidate opponents, but the Gauchos tried to use it to their advantage.

“I think that’s a motivating factor for all of us, to turn any anxiety or intimidation into positive energy to push you toward that wall,” said Gaucho star Ann Marie May, the NCAA’s fastest 50-meter freestyler this year.

May won three events on the day, taking the 50 freestyle in 23.59 seconds and the 100 free in 51.31 seconds. She also swam on the winning 200 freestyle relay team along with Naomi Javanifard, Courtney Bauer and Sasza Lohrey, which clocked in at 1:34.31.

The men’s 200 freestyle relay squad won the day’s final event by less than three tenths of a second. The packed bleachers went bonkers down the stretch as UCSB senior Scott Vogelgesang touched the wall in 1:21.97. His teammates in the event were sophomores Chris Peterson and Kevin Ferguson as well as freshman Ryan Hanni.

Lindsay Parrish (all photos courtesy of James Nguyen)

Peterson was a “very pleasant surprise” according to Wilson, winning the 50 and 100 freestyle while also swimming on UCSB’s winning 200 individual medley relay team. UCSB freshman Emily Adamczyk won the 200 breaststroke and was second in the 100 breaststroke. She also swam on UCSB’s winning 200 individual medley relay squad.

The UCSB Track and Field team is the brother/sister program of the swimmers, and the tracksters made their presence felt in the stands.

“I think this is the best crowd we’ve had here all season. I can’t tell you how much of a difference that makes for us to know how much support you have behind you, and it’s intimidating if you go to another school and there’s that much support,” said May.

There was also plenty of support for USC and its local swimmers. Talmadge, a sophomore out of Dos Pueblos, took sixth in the 100 and 200 breaststroke races and swam on the Trojans’ third-place team in the 200 medley relay. Webb, another sophomore DP grad, took seventh in the 50 freestyle and eighth in the 100 butterfly.

Blair and Parrish, both freshmen out of Santa Barbara High, swam in two events each. Blair was fourth in both the 100 and 200 backstroke while Parrish was seventh in the 100 butterfly and swam on the 4th-place 200 freestyle relay team.

Matt Talmadge

“I love this team so much. It’s so competitive all the time,” said Parrish. “And I love swimming back here at home because I know half the people in the stands.”

She hopes to swim on a relay team in the NCAAs this year and make a final at the Pac-10 Championships.

Both teams had come off of grueling training weeks, and Blair she definitely felt it.

“I did okay, but I’ve been really tired from training and everything,” she said. “The training trip was really fun but also a lot of hard work… It’s a lot more intense and specific at this level.”

The Gauchos were missing two key female swimmers due to illness and had a handful more under the weather. The Trojans were likely dealing with the same issues, but Wilson keeps waiting for that perfect year when everything falls into place for the fall of Troy.

The men’s competition came down to the final event about 25 years ago, but the Gauchos fell just short.

“You can never take away anything they do. You don’t count on them making mistakes,” Wilson said, before jokingly adding “I’m getting to old for this.”

UCSB's Travis Jepson


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  2. Swimming is a very common and popular sport, as a recreational activity as well as in competitive racing events.

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