The Bruins were tested this weekend.
UCLA swim and dive (3-0, 3-0 Pac-12) finished in fifth place with an overall 425.5 points in the Georgia Fall Invitational against various NCAA teams, all but one outside of the Pac-12.
“We want to be our best at Pac-12s, but even better at NCAAs,” said swimming coach Cyndi Gallagher. “That was really the focus of the meet: Let’s see what we can do.”
The Bruins came out strong on the first day, with their A team – freshman Claire Grover and juniors Kenisha Liu, Maisie Jameson and Amy Okada – earning fifth place in the 200-yard freestyle relay.
In the finals of the 50-yard freestyle, the Bruins had three swimmers place in the top 13, led by Grover with a time of 22.44.
Grover continued her momentum into the second day of the invitational.
With a time of 1:00.77 in the preliminary round of the 100-yard breaststroke, Grover placed fourth, gaining her a spot in the A-Final. She swam a 1:01.08 in the final to earn eighth place – UCLA’s best individual result that day.
The Bruins also had three B cuts on day two of the invitational. An A cut is an automatic invite to the NCAA championship meet, and the rest of the spots are filled with B cuts.
Senior Sandra Soe finished the third day with a B cut time of 16:20.87 in the mile, earning her fourth place overall.
“We really came together as a team,” Soe said. “By having so many girls swim well, we were really feeding off each other’s energy.”
Soe said her attention to detail was what fueled her success this weekend and that she remembered everything the team has worked on in practice.
On the last day of the invitational, the Bruins earned their best results of the weekend. They placed within the top four in the 1,650-yard freestyle as well as platform diving.
Senior diver Traci Shiver received second place overall in the platform event. Her score of 241.00 was a season high and qualified her for NCAA Zones.
“For me, I really need to work on the little details,” Shiver said. “I want to be more confident when diving; it helps me do a lot better in the meets.”
Gallagher said that the goal for the upcoming weeks is focusing on creating a cohesive team.
“We want to get everybody on the same page,” Gallagher said. “What we did well, what we saw and what we need to work on is what we will be sharing with the team.”
The Bruins will not compete for the rest of 2018 and will be back Jan. 7 to host Harvard and San Diego at Spieker Aquatics Center.