The only thing stopping the UCLA swim and dive team from celebrating after its win against Arizona on Saturday was the thought that the team had not really won fair and square.
For the first time in 12 years, the Bruins beat the No. 9 Wildcats with a score of 157-141, giving them a record of 8-0 in season meets and 4-0 in Pac-12 play. The key to this victory, however, was the fact that both of Arizona’s relay teams were disqualified because of last-minute changes in the events.
“There was some miscommunication, so it was very confusing and it was a mess,” junior freestyler Ting Quah said. “We won at the end, but it was kind of a weird feeling.”
The Wildcats were under the impression that they were swimming a 400-meter freestyle relay, even though the coaches from both teams talked about changing the event to a 200-meter freestyle race earlier that day.
Amid all the confusion, the Bruins were not sure they deserved the win. Later, however, they learned that UCLA’s diving scores meant they would have won the meet whether the Arizona teams were disqualified or not.
“I still wish we could have swam the relay with them because relays are fun and I want to know that we could win,” Quah said.
This weekend, the team emphasized going into both meets with an open attitude. The women knew the weekend was going to be mentally and physically draining, especially going against strong schools, but they felt that their positive attitude was what pushed them past Arizona State and San Diego on Friday and Arizona on Saturday.
“(Arizona is) a better team than we are, but we swam better (on Saturday) and that’s the great thing about swimming,” coach Cyndi Gallagher said.
The Bruins had a strong start on Friday, defeating the Arizona State Sun Devils 190.5-108.5 and dominating the San Diego Toreros 198-92.
Sophomore diver Emma Ivory-Ganja helped the team with three first-place wins and one second-place finish in the weekend’s diving events. She could have topped the scoreboard with four event wins, but lost her momentum for the last one due to small technicalities.
“I just didn’t get the best takeoffs that I wanted and it kind of affected my dives, but it’s something I can fix and do better for the next time,” Ivory-Ganja said.
The team said it felt a difference from past meets in its swimming this weekend, as many swam season bests and broke meet records. It hopes the strong momentum from these home meets will help carry it through the next few weeks on the road.
“A big thing we were stressing was “˜live in the present’ and that’s exactly what we did,” senior swimmer Laurence Delisle said.
“If we win, we win, if we lose, we lose, but we’re going to try our hardest. I think that was the big difference from the last three years that I’ve been here.”