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UCLA swim and dive prepares to take on final meets in home territory

Coach Jordan Wolfrum yells directions to her team. Wolfrum has led her team to an undefeated season in dual meets by highlighting winning habits and positive energy. (Joseph Jimenez/Assistant Photo editor)

By Sabrina Baker

Jan. 13, 2023 12:38 a.m.

For one last time in the 2022-2023 season, the Bruins will compete at home.

UCLA swim and dive (5-0, 3-0 Pac-12) is set to have not one, but two meets at Spieker Aquatics Center this weekend. The first meet, the Bruin Diving Invitational, will take place from Friday to Sunday. The second will be a dual meet against a nonconference opponent, Denver (4-5), on Saturday.

The meet against the Pioneers will also act as senior recognition night for the Bruins. The blue and gold will honor 10 senior swimmers and one senior diver.

Coach Jordan Wolfrum said she is excited to honor the seniors because many have been swimming for her since her first year of coaching at UCLA.

“Our seniors have been amazing, not just this year, but throughout (the years),” Wolfrum said. “There is a number of these seniors who have been major scoring contributors, NCAA qualifiers, Pac-12 relay members, and big scorers for us, forever.”

Beyond the senior recognition, the dual meet gives the Bruins the opportunity to extend their undefeated record in dual meets this season. UCLA is coming off a win against UC San Diego from last Saturday.

Junior swimmer Maddie Wright was a part of the previous weekend’s podium sweep in the 50-yard freestyle. She took home bronze in that event.

Wright said the team’s current momentum can be correlated to the conversations that Wolfrum has had with the team on winning habits, grit and pride.

“It’s really nice to have a teamwide focus,” Wright said. “Swimming is an individual sport, but it really makes a difference when we perform as a team.”

The dual meet will mark a first for the Bruins, a match-up against the Pioneers. In every other dual meet that UCLA has competed in this season, their opponent has been familiar. But on Saturday, the blue and gold will have an opportunity to start a winning resume against a new opponent.

Wolfrum said she views this meet as an opportunity to solidify their standing for the remainder of the season.

“This is our last home meet, and we are heading into our last couple Pac-12 competitions,” Wolfrum said. “This meet will help us make decisions about travel teams and conference squads going forward. But really, more than anything, this meet is one last opportunity, on the swimming and diving side, to put our hard work to the test.”

On the diving side of the weekend, the four blue and gold divers will compete in various events over the three days. They will be competing against 19 teams, three of which are fellow Pac-12 competitors.

Last year, in this same invitational, the Bruins saw four top-10 finishes by sophomore diver Zoe Jespersgaard and senior diver Hannah Butler. This year, the blue and gold will have a new addition to the lineup, freshman diver Eden Cheng.

Cheng said she is looking forward to competing in the platform event on Saturday.

“Platform is my specialty,” Cheng said. “I am coming off of an injury, so I am just excited to get back out there and compete in an event that I feel comfortable in.”

The last time the Bruins competed at home was more than two months ago in their two home meets against Arizona and Arizona State.

Wright said the home pool advantage will come into play in this weekend’s events.

“It is always exciting having the last home meet of the season,” Wright said. “We get to have all of our friends and family come out. It’s our home pool, and it’s the seniors’ last time in this home pool, so I think there is going to be a lot of extra energy.”

The diving will commence on Friday, and the dual meet will start at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday at Spieker Aquatics Center.

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Sabrina Baker | Sports contributor
Baker is currently a Sports contributor on the swim & dive beat.
Baker is currently a Sports contributor on the swim & dive beat.
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