UCLA swimming and diving will come together this weekend to take on two Pac-12 dual meets – one against Stanford and another against California.
The Bruins (5-3, 2-2 Pac-12) will face the No. 3 Cardinal (5-0, 4-0) on Friday, and the No. 5 Golden Bears (7-0, 4-0) on Saturday. Both of their challengers are undefeated.
This is UCLA’s penultimate weekend of competition before the Pac-12 championships in February. The swimmers took home a dual-meet victory last weekend over Oregon State (0-5, 0-3) and the divers amassed top finishes in the Bruin Diving Invitational. The team hopes to perfect its work further so that it can be prepared for the end of its season.
“At this point in the season, we basically have all of our dives done and we are just fine-tuning all of the details,” said junior diver Traci Shiver. “We know we can do the dive – we just have to fix the little stuff.”
Diving coach Tom Stebbins said that the divers aspire to have as few imperfections in their dives as possible.
“The absolute is 10; it’s absolute perfection,” Stebbins said. “You are always fighting and striving to kind of move yourself closer to that mark.”
The Bruins will be swimming and diving at Spieker Aquatics Center for both meets this weekend. This will be the divers’ second weekend in a row competing in their home pool. Stebbins said that being at home is a good thing for the team for more reasons than one.
“I think, quite honestly, the biggest thing is sleeping in your own bed,” Stebbins said. “And, of course, it’s great being on your own diving boards. Every diving board feels and bounces just a little bit different.”
This weekend will be the swimmers’ first time competing at home since October. Swim coach Cyndi Gallagher said that, while being at home will be good for the team, she does not think it should change its performance in a big way.
“Of course, water is the same in every pool. Swimming is the same everywhere,” Gallagher said. “But, in terms of the effect, I’d say it is good for the team to have their home crowd cheering them on.”
Freshman swimmer Jennifer Lathrop said she is looking forward to experiencing the Pac-12 dual-meet environment and is focusing on improving her performance.
“I’m just working more on my competitiveness in my racing, because we’ve been training for so long that the foundation is already set. I’m just polishing up some details,” Lathrop said. “It’s absolutely more of a mental thing than a physical one at this point.”
The Stanford dual meet will begin at 1 p.m. Friday, followed by the California dual meet at noon Saturday, both at the Spieker Aquatics Center.