Ward, Yamauchi ready for NCAA Championships

Sophomores Andrea Ward and Sophia Yamauchi will be representing UC Santa Barbara at the 2012 NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships, which are being held Thursday through Saturday at Auburn’s James E. Martin Aquatics Center. This marks the first NCAA Championship appearance for both swimmers.

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Ward qualified for the championships in the 100 butterfly and has also been invited to swim in the 200 fly. She is seeded 28th in the former and 40th in the latter event. The sophomore was named the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Athlete of the Year after winning three individual events and three relay titles at the conference championship. In just two seasons at UCSB, Ward has already set school records in the 200 free (1:48.55), the 100 fly (52.98), the 200 fly (1:59.16), the 500 free (4:48.60), the 1000 free (10:03.01), and the 800 free relay (7:17.82).

Yamauchi gained entry into the championship field in the 200 individual medley and has also been invited to compete in the 100 and 200 breaststroke. She is seeded 27th in the 200 IM and 36th and 46th, respectively, in the breaststroke events. Yamauchi set a new school record in the 200 IM (1:58.56) at the MPSF Championships. She owns the third fastest times in UCSB history in the 100 breast (1:00.48) and 200 breast (2:12.27).

Yamauchi will be first to compete as the 200 IM is on Thursday. The 100 Butterfly and breaststroke are on Friday, with the 200 butterfly and 200 breastsroke happening on Saturday.

Yamauchi and Ward are the first Gauchos to qualify for the NCAA Championships since Anne Marie May did in 2010. The last time two UCSB women qualified in the same year was the previous season when both Katy Freeman and May represented the blue and gold

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