Gaucho seniors leave Campus Pool on high note

On yet another beautiful Saturday at Campus Pool, the UCSB swimming and diving teams closed out their 2011-12 dual meet schedule with a pair of wins over visiting Cal Poly.

The men posted a 163-124 victory and improved their record to 6-0, marking the first undefeated dual season in program history. The women, meanwhile, won their fourth straight dual by way of a 169-129 score and finish the year with a 6-3 record. They also avenged their Nov. 5 loss at Cal Poly.

Eleven Gaucho seniors, who were competing for the final time at Campus Pool, were honored during the meet: Kevin Ferguson, Laurel Ferguson, Ryan GarciaKevin Kuhn, Sasza Lohrey, Kendall Neely, Chris Peterson, Katie Reeves, Miranda Schneider, Evan Simoni and Garrett Thompson.

UCSB’s 200 medley relays got the swimming events off to a strong start as both teams took first and second. On the women’s side, the ‘A’ team of Allie Knight, Sophia Yamauchi, Andrea Ward and Neely touched first in 1:45.50. The men’s ‘B’ team beat out the ‘A’ squad by .31 seconds. Randy Aakhus, Ferguson, Templeton and Kuhn brought home the win for the Gauchos.

After a strong Cal Poly showing in the women’s 1000 free and men’s 1650 free, UCSB came roaring back in the 200 free with Ward (1:52.20) and Thompson (1:39.53) capturing consecutive first-place finishes. The pair began a streak of 11-straight swimming event wins by Gaucho swimmers.

Current MPSF Athlete of the Week, Allie Knight, won the 100 backstroke in 57.29 seconds before Aakhus won the men’s heat in 52.20 seconds. In the 100 breaststroke, Yamauchi captured first in 1:03.19 and Simoni followed suit, touching the wall in 58.25 seconds.

Ward posted the second of her three individual event wins in the 200 butterfly (2:04.77) and Dylan Templetonwon the men’s side in 1:54.17. The UCSB streak continued into the sprint free events where Neely (23.97) and Peterson (20.35) won the 50 free and Sasza Lohrey (52.91) and Andrew Latimer (47.37) posted the fastest times in the 100 free.

Knight went on to win two more events for the women – the 200 back (2:03.54) and the 200 individual medley (2:06.90) – while Ward captured a third top finish in the 100 fly (55.95). Yamauchi was also a repeat winner, taking first in the 200 breast (2:16.99).

Simoni tripled up on individual event wins as well. After capturing the 100 breast, he then took first in the 200 breast (2:06.80) and the 200 IM (1:53.06). Like his classmate, Garcia bid farewell to Campus Pool with a victory in his final event, the 200 back (1:51.15).

Wade Allen rounded out the individual event winners with a victory in the 100 fly, coming in at 49.99 seconds.

With the meet win comfortably secured, the Gauchos swam the final two relays exhibition. The women’s team of Neely, Lohrey, Emma Hunt and Yamauchi touched first during the 400 free relay in 3:30.64, but chose to forgo the first-place points.

The Gaucho men’s relay teams followed by touching first through third. The senior relay team of Peterson, Kuhn, Thompson and Ferguson had the top time in 3:02.33.

Next up for the Gauchos are their respective conference championships. The women will be up first as they head to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships, which runs Feb. 15-18. The men will compete in the Pac-12 Championships the weekend of Feb. 29-Mar. 3.