With the talented group of freshman sprinters staying home to study for finals this weekend, an elite group of 19 veteran swimmers and divers made the journey to the Texas Hall of Fame Invitational. Their small numbers, however, didn’t keep the Bruins from having their most successful weekend of the season.
“You knew everyone who was there really wanted to be there,” senior Lauren Hall said. “Everyone there was just on top of it and ready, which was really encouraging.”
Hall was one of several Bruins to win an event, clinching a 400 individual medley victory in 4:09.03. This time placed her in the top 10 in the NCAA and less than two seconds shy of an NCAA “A”-cut.
Hall’s domination continued throughout the weekend ““ her third-place time of 4:45.68 in the 500 free is a “B”-cut, a personal record and the eighth-fastest time in UCLA history.
She also earned “B”-cuts in the 200 IM with a third-place, season-best time of 1:58.50, as well as in the 200 freestyle (1:49.15), the 200 breaststroke (2:13.50), and the 200 butterfly (1:58.93).
“Knowing that this is our last meet before Christmas training, everyone just wanted to knock it out of the park and see what we could do,” Hall said.
Senior Brittany Beauchan had the most outstanding performance of the weekend with her second-place finish in the 200 breast, earning the Bruins’ first “A”-cut with a time of 2:09.69. She also placed fifth in the 100 breast with a “B”-cut of 1:00.58.
“Brittany making the “˜A’ qualifier, which only three or four kids in the country make, means she’s really a big-time player,” coach Cyndi Gallagher said.
Other standout performances included senior Sam Vanden Berge’s first-place finish in the 1650 freestyle, which she won with a “B”-cut time of 16:16.70, and junior Yasi Jahanshahi’s second-place finish in the 100 butterfly with a time of 52.94 ““ a “B”-cut that was just 0.32 seconds shy of the all-time UCLA record.
“Everybody did really well,” Gallagher said. “It wasn’t perfect, but everyone figured out what they needed to do. It was just really easy.”
The dive team also had strong showings throughout the weekend. UCLA swept ninth through 12th place in the one-meter competition, with senior Laura Winn’s score of 275.45 leading the way. In the three-meter competition, senior Karina Silva earned eighth place with a score of 259.00.