Wednesday, January 29

Swim and dive jumps into new year taking first place in doubleheader meet

Junior Amy Okada took home wins in the 100-yard butterfly and 200-yard butterfly at the Bruins' meet(removed "on") Monday against Harvard and San Diego. UCLA finished first at the meet to continue its undefeated start to the season. (Tanmay Shankar/Daily Bruin)

After five weeks away from the pool, UCLA has started 2019 with a win.

UCLA swim and dive (5-0) took home first place in a doubleheader meet against Harvard (4-1) and University of San Diego (4-3) at Spieker Aquatics Center.

“People were extremely focused on the controllables of the meet,” said swimming and diving coach Cyndi Gallagher. “They made choices about their attitude and that has been really great.”

During the five weeks the team was not competing, Gallagher said they were focusing on their training and being the best team that they could be.

“All the team did was eat, swim and sleep these past five weeks,” Gallagher said. “But they are feeling really confident with that work and getting to know their teammates better.”

Freshman Claire Grover earned a B cut at the Georgia Fall Invitational in both the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard breaststroke. A B cut means if a player is in the top 39, they qualify for NCAA. In the 50-yard freestyle, Grover received a top-13 finish and in the 100-yard breaststroke, a team-best eighth place.

“These past couple of meets I’ve been trying to accept that if I fail it is alright,” Grover said. “I have to realize that I will practice it next week.”

Grover walked away from Monday’s meet with two wins in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 51.10 and the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:02.73.

“We’ve been incredibly encouraging and really energetic,” Grover said. “Just having winter training has made us stronger.”

Junior Amy Okada finished Monday with a win in both the 100-yard and 200-yard butterfly with times of 55.10 and 2:01.50, respectively.

“I really want to improve my race strategy and (finalize) it for meets,” Okada said. “This meet was a good time to apply what I did winter training.”

Junior Kenisha Liu walked away with a win in the 200-yard freestyle with her season-best time of 1:47.82.

On the diving side, redshirt senior Maria Polyakova finished first for UCLA in the 3-meter with a score of 326.10 and sophomore Alice Yanovsky finished third with 275.15.

Senior Traci Shiver finished in seventh place in the 3-meter with a score of 254.50. Senior Madeline Russell clinched her season-best score of 232.40 to win 10th place.

For the 1-meter, Polyakova finished in first place with a score of 317.75. This was her second-best score of the season, with her best being 355.50 on Nov. 3.

UCLA swimming will return to Spieker Aquatics Center Friday for a doubleheader meet against UC Santa Barbara and UC San Diego. UCLA diving will be competing in the Bruin Diving Invitational on Jan. 18.

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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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