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Swim and dive’s perfect record sinks to ranked opponents Stanford, Cal

UCLA swim and dive suffered its first losses of the season last weekend when it hosted No. 5 Stanford and No. 2 California at Spieker Aquatics Center. (Andy Bao/Daily Bruin)

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No. 5 Stanford178
UCLA119
No. 1 California186
UCLA114

By Ethan Cruz

Feb. 2, 2020 5:15 p.m.

The Bruins suffered their first two losses of the season this weekend to Pac-12 rivals.

UCLA swim and dive (7-2, 4-2 Pac-12) hosted two of the best teams in the country in No. 5 Stanford (6-0, 5-0) and No. 2 California (7-0, 5-0) but was unable to pull out a victory in either matchup.

The losses ended the Bruins’ perfect record, but coach Jordan Wolfrum was still very happy with the team’s performances and said this weekend was more of a learning opportunity.

“I was very pleased with our performance over two days. It was some of the best swimming we had done all year,” Wolfrum said. “We talked about how when you do back-to-back meets, they are very similar to a championship meet and, when having elite competition, you got to focus on the things that you can control: your strategy, swimming in your own lane and doing it against the best.”

The Bruins faced off against the defending national champion Cardinal on Friday, but ended up suffering their first loss of the season.

Freshman Rachel Rhee was the Bruins’ only first-place finisher Friday, finishing the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 50.56 seconds.

The Bruins also had multiple second-place finishes, including freshman Sophia Kosturos in the 100-yard backstroke, sophomore Claire Grover in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard breaststroke, sophomore Emily Lo in the 200-yard breaststroke, and senior Amy Okada in the 100-yard butterfly.

On the diving side, freshman Hannah Butler finished second and third in the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard, respectively. Her final scores qualified her for NCAA Zones Championships in both events, making her the fourth Bruin this year to do so.

Butler said she was excited about qualifying for Zones, but she knows that her work is far from over.

“I was really happy, but I know there is still a lot to do for the rest of the season, so I just need to keep going,” Butler said. “It was a goal I really thought was achievable, so I was definitely really happy and my teammates were happy for me.”

Junior Ruby Neave also finished second in the 3-meter springboard and fifth in the 1-meter.

The Bruins had a chance to bounce back against the Bears on Saturday but once again suffered a loss.

After finishing second the day before in the 100-yard breaststroke, Grover came back the next day and finished first in the same event.

The Bruins also had a number of second-place finishes in Kosturos in the 100-yard backstroke, Rhee in the 100-yard breaststroke, freshman Daniella Hawkins in the 1,000-yard freestyle, Okada in the 100-yard and 200-yard butterfly, Grover in the 100-yard freestyle, Lo in the 200-yard breaststroke, sophomore Ella Kirschke in the 400-yard individual medley and the UCLA A relay team in the 200-yard freestyle.

The Bruin divers also came away with multiple wins, with Neave finishing first in both the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard events.

Butler said the Bruins were unfazed by the reputations of the Cardinal and Bears going into both meets.

“I think we did a really good job of not letting big names and reputations get in our head and affect our performance. We just went out and did the best that we could do, regardless of whether it was diving or swimming,” Butler said. “It is definitely going to be helpful for the rest of the season.”

The Bruins will be competing at the USA Swimming President’s Day Senior Classic starting Feb. 14 and will follow that by hosting rival USC. Wolfrum said the team is looking forward to matching up with the Trojans.

“It’ll be a really competitive meet. We’re going to have to do our job, we’re going to have to be really ready, and ready to swim fast,” Wolfrum said. “USC still has some very high-level talent that is going to make us work for it. We just have to get back to work and focus on us and take a look at what we need to do to get better.”

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Ethan Cruz | Sports contributor
Cruz is currently a Sports contributor on the swim & dive beat.
Cruz is currently a Sports contributor on the swim & dive beat.
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