With decisive victories to open 2019, the undefeated Bruins are back in action.
UCLA swim (5-0) faces a quick turnaround as it prepares for its second doubleheader meet in four days, when it will square off against UC San Diego (7-3) and UC Santa Barbara (1-0) at Spieker Aquatics Center on Friday.
The meet was initially scheduled for early November, but was postponed due to poor air quality from nearby fires at the time.
UC San Diego opened its season with wins over Boise State, San Diego State, UC Davis and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. It finished fifth out of nine schools in the UNLV Invitational and has since split its remaining six meets at an even 3-3.
UC Santa Barbara earned its sole victory against Cal Poly on Oct. 27, and has yet to take part in another meet. The Gauchos participated in the Roadrunner Invitational in Bakersfield, California, garnering a second-place finish out of six teams, as well as the UNLV Invitational, where they placed first out of nine schools.
“Both of them are very good, and they compete with a lot of energy,” said swimming and diving coach Cyndi Gallagher. “We lost to Santa Barbara last year in a close one, so you can never overlook anyone in this sport.”
Despite returning to the pool only four days after their most recent competition, the swimmers said they are unfazed by the short rest.
Senior swimmer Sandra Soe, who outraced the competition in both the 500-yard and 1,000-yard freestyle with times of 4:55.03 and 10:00.68, respectively, expressed confidence in the training she had undergone during the winter.
“We just got out of winter training, which was very tiring,” Soe said. “But we didn’t think about how tired we were when we raced Harvard and San Diego. We stayed in the moment, remembered our training and just battled. We’re going to keep on doing that this week.”
Junior swimmer Amy Okada, who also finished with two wins in the 100-yard and 200-yard butterfly Monday, echoed Soe’s sentiments.
“As a team, we really want to keep our momentum going,” Okada said. “They (UCSB) beat us last year, and we’re really eager to show them how much we’ve improved.”
This will be the Bruins’ last swim meet before entering strictly Pac-12 competition.
“We’re really trying to continue focusing on the things we do well, and on improving ourselves as we approach Pac-12 play,” Gallagher said. “This team has great leadership, and I see a lot of potential in this group.”
The diving team has the week off, but will next compete when it hosts the three-day Bruin Diving Invitational from Jan. 18 to Jan. 20.