The Bruins came away from their rivalry meet with a tie and new records.
UCLA swimming and diving (5-5-1, 2-4-1 Pac-12) tied with No. 13 USC (6-2-1, 3-2-1) this weekend, 150-150, for the first time in the history of the rivalry.
Junior swimmer Emma Schanz and sophomore swimmer Kenisha Liu each won two events Friday. Schanz took first in the 200-yard breaststroke and 200-yard individual medley, and Liu in the 200-yard freestyle and the 100-yard freestyle.
Junior Sandra Soe established a new pool record of 16:11.22 in the 1650-yard freestyle, with fellow distance swimmer senior Margaux Verger Gourson taking second. Later in the day, the teammates switched places in the 500-yard freestyle, with Verger Gourson coming from behind to take first at 4:45.62, just 0.01 second ahead of Soe.
Verger Gourson said that she trusted her race plan and didn’t worry about being behind at the beginning of the race because she knew that she could catch up.
“I’d rather build it up and usually that’s what works for me, and thankfully it worked today,” Verger Gourson said.
The Bruins also posted a new school and meet record in the 200-freestyle relay, securing the overall tie.
“They weren’t afraid to go for it,” said swimming coach Cyndi Gallagher. “They believed in themselves, and they believed in their teammates, and that’s what you want.”
In diving, junior Eloise Belanger returned from competing in her home country of Canada’s Winter Senior National Diving Championship to take first in both the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard Friday, and platform Saturday. Belanger notched a 72.00 on her fifth dive of the 3-meter competition and a 69.75 on her final dive to take the victory by over 50 points, posting overall score of 343.35, a personal best.
“(Belanger’s) fifth dive on 3-meter was probably the best dive I’ve ever actually seen her do in competition, and then I think that really buoyed her up into the last round,” said diving coach Tom Stebbins. “I thought she managed herself incredibly well today.”
The combination of the rivalry and senior day meant that there was a lot of emotion and excitement for the Bruins at this meet. Senior diver Ciara Monahan, who placed third in the 1-meter, said that she was very grateful to have been able to be a Bruin for four years.
“It’s pretty surreal that this is the last time for a dual meet here,” Monahan said.
With this last home meet, the Bruins are now focused on getting ready for the Pac-12 swimming and diving championships in two weeks. Gallagher said that the team needs to keep working on continuous improvement, and that competing against highly ranked team such as Stanford, Cal, and USC so recently will help them team get ready for that next level of competition.
“We’ve already met them, we’ve already seen them,” Gallagher said. “I’m feeling good about it.”