The Bruins first meet of the season was highlighted by multiple top-three finishes.
No. 21 UCLA swim and dive (1-0) sent swimmers to dual meets at San Diego and the Southern Methodist University Classic.
The Bruins beat the Toreros 160-96 and won all but two events.
The SMU Classic featured three top-10 competitors – No. 5 USC, No. 6 Michigan and No. 10 Louisville – along with SMU and Miami. UCLA took fourth place overall.
“I thought that speed came a little bit easier than it usually does at the beginning of the season,” said senior Katie Grover. “We’ve really been working on technique and keeping speed and that’s just been a big way for us to make changes and get better.”
Coach Cyndi Gallagher said she thought the team did better as the meet went on and was happy with its performances at both SMU and San Diego.
Grover led the Bruins in individual events with two third-place finishes in the 100-yard butterfly and the 200-yard butterfly, posting times of 52.90 and 1:57.10, respectively.
“Katie Grover swam outstanding this weekend.” Gallagher said. “She was injured last year at this time so she didn’t get to come here, so I think she’s just really appreciative of every opportunity she has to race and be with the team and lead.”
Of the eight swimmers who competed at the SMU Classic, Jennifer Lathrop was the only freshman.
“She was a little shaky her first race, but then she settled down and she had the ability to switch gears and make the change in her second race, which was only a half an hour later,” Gallagher said.
UCLA took fourth in each of the relays with the exception of the 200 freestyle relay comprised of sophomore Isabella Goldsmith, senior Sarah Kaunitz, Grover and sophomore Kenisha Liu.
Two of the Bruins had false starts, causing the relay to be disqualified.
“I like them to make mistakes and just see how far they can push it,” Gallagher said. “Especially in that short relay, you can’t sit on the blocks and so I didn’t really say anything and they let it fly. … I’d rather have them push it now when it doesn’t really matter than sit on the block and not be able to go.”
Ciara Monahan was the sole diver to compete this weekend for UCLA and came away with two third-place finishes. The senior finished with a 258.55 – less than 1.5 points out of first place – in the 1-meter.
“She made a little mistake in her last dive and I think that’s what ended up costing her that title,” said dive coach Tom Stebbins. “She rushed as she was coming off the board, so she didn’t leave herself a lot of room or space on the bottom to kind of really get the dive lined up to drop in the way she normally does.”
Monahan also took third in the 3-meter competition with a score of 256.60. The senior diver said the meet showed her she needs to work on improving her entry on her twister dives.
The Bruins will face UC Santa Barbara this upcoming weekend and will also begin the USA Swimming College Challenge.