Wednesday, February 26

Swim and dive hopes to continue undefeated run during trip to USC

Junior Amy Okada finished last weekend's meets with consecutive wins in the 200-meter butterfly and 100-meter butterfly. The Bruins will split up this weekend as the swimming team hosts UC San Diego and UC Santa Barbara and the diving team travels to USC. (Andy Bao/Daily Bruin)

The Bruins will be splitting up this weekend.

The UCLA diving team is heading to USC (3-0) for the Trojan Diving Invitational running Friday through Sunday, while the UCLA swimming team (3-0) will host UC Santa Barbara (1-2) and UC San Diego (1-3) on Saturday.

The Bruins are in the midst of an undefeated start to the season after defeating the Arizona Wildcats and Arizona State Sun Devils last weekend.

“The level of the competition (this past weekend) was better because of what we brought in,” said associate head swimming coach Naya Higashijima.

In the 2017-2018 season, the Bruins faced the Gauchos and lost 123.5-137.5. The Gauchos picked up seven wins and a relay to surpass the Bruins, while the UCLA swimming team has not faced UC San Diego in recent years.

“We focus on the process to get better,” Higashijima said. “It doesn’t matter who we are swimming against, we are just working on being better.”

UC Santa Barbara is 1-2 coming into this weekend with both of its losses coming at the Roadrunner Invitational and its lone win coming against Cal Poly.

UC San Diego is currently changing from a Division II college classification to Division I, preparing to face more competitive sports teams.

“(UC San Diego) is in the transitional period,” Higashijima said. “They brought in a well-known, experienced high-profile coach, so they are gaining more resources.”

UC San Diego has fallen to UC Davis, San Diego State, Boise State this season, but has won against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.

“San Diego is going to be a race,” said junior Amy Okada . “They put up a fast time at the Trojan Invite so I think it’s going to be a really good mix for us.”

Okada walked away from last weekend’s meet with consecutive wins in the 200-meter butterfly and 100-meter butterfly. During one of her races, Okada was the only swimmer to finish under the two-minute mark, grasping first place in the process.

“Working with the team in practice has helped my confidence,” Okada said. “If I train hard during practice, I do my best during the meets.”

After taking home three wins last weekend, redshirt senior diver Maria Polyakova will not be diving with this weekend due to service with the Russian national diving team.

“We really just want to focus on what we do best going into this weekend,” Okada said.

Sports reporter

Britton is currently a Sports reporter on the men's water polo beat. She was previously a contributor on the swim & dive and women's water polo beats.

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