It was close at times, but the Bruins pulled out two wins in the desert this weekend.
No. 23 UCLA swim and dive (5-0, 3-0 Pac-12) won both of its dual meets over the weekend, defeating Arizona (2-3, 0-3) 176-124 on Friday before narrowly edging out No. 25 Arizona State (1-2, 1-2) 156-142 on Saturday. The meet against the Sun Devils had the closest margin of victory for the Bruins so far this season.
UCLA won 11 of the 16 events in Friday’s meet, including the 200-yard medley relay and the 200-yard freestyle relay – the latter of which UCLA was competing in for the first time this season.
Seniors Amy Okada and Kenisha Liu won multiple individual events, and Liu also swam on both winning relay teams. Okada was also a member of the 200-yard medley relay team.
In addition, freshman Rachel Rhee picked up her first career win with a time of 50.66 seconds in the 100-yard freestyle.
The match against Arizona marked the debut of UCLA’s divers, and members of the Bruin squad took first in both the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard competitions.
In her first collegiate competition, junior Ruby Neave scored a 271.95 on the 1-meter to take the gold, with junior Alice Yanovsky and freshman Hannah Butler also earning points in the event by placing third and fourth, respectively. Yanovsky also took first in the 3-meter competition, with Neave claiming second.
Despite UCLA’s final success on Saturday, the meet with Arizona State started out with three-straight wins for the Sun Devils, including a win in the 400-yard medley relay by just 0.02 seconds over the UCLA A-team.
But the Bruins won the next three races – the 100-yard backstroke, the 100-yard breaststroke, and the 200-yard butterfly – to draw almost even with the Sun Devils, and the score went back-and-forth the rest of the afternoon. Sophomore Ella Kirschke clinched the victory with a win in the penultimate event, the 200-yard individual medley.
The Bruins finished the meet with wins in nine out of the 16 events. Swimmers Okada, freshman Sophia Kosturos and sophomore Claire Grover won two events each to lead the team.
On the diving side, Neave swept the competitions, taking first again in the 1-meter event and claiming her first collegiate victory in the 3-meter.
With her winning mark of 285.60 in the 1-meter, Neave secured a postseason slot in the event, as she surpassed the minimum score of 265 needed for a diver to qualify for the NCAA zone meets with both of her dives in the 1-meter this weekend.
The Bruins will compete only in invitationals for the rest of 2019, as the divers will compete again next weekend at the three-day Trojan Diving Invitational from Friday through Sunday at USC. The rest of the team will have a couple of weeks off until the Ohio State Invitational, running from Nov. 21-23.