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UCLA swim and dive loses 1st dual meets of season against Stanford, Cal

Sophomore swimmer Eva Carlson swims breaststroke. Carlson had three individual event wins over the course of the weekend. (Joseph Jimenez/Assistant Photo editor)

Swim and Dive

No. 24 UCLA116
No. 3 Stanford176
No. 24 UCLA125
No. 11 California169

By Sabrina Baker

Jan. 29, 2023 11:51 a.m.

This post was updated Jan. 29 at 11:06 p.m. 

The Bruins’ win streak has been snapped.

No. 24 UCLA swim and dive (6-2, 3-2 Pac-12) traveled north this weekend to compete against No. 3 Stanford (7-0, 6-0) and No. 11 California (7-1, 5-1) in two dual meets. The blue and gold lost its first two dual meets of the season, with Stanford winning by 60 points and Cal winning by 44 points.

Sophomore swimmer Eva Carlson led the weekend with three individual event wins, with the first coming in the 100-yard breaststroke against Stanford on Friday. To follow up her performance, Carlson took both the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke against Cal on Saturday.

Carlson said she was most proud of her performance in the 200-yard breaststroke.

“That (event) is usually the one that I struggle with a little more,” Carlson said. “I’m definitely better at the 100. But to be able to put up a good race is mostly what I am proud of from that.”

Alongside Carlson, sophomore swimmer Zoe Jespersgaard claimed first in the 3-meter diving event against Stanford.

In addition to the only two Bruin wins of the day, the team saw four second-place finishes in swimming and two in diving. Two of the second-place finishes came from senior swimmer Rachel Rhee in the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle events.

Coach Jordan Wolfrum said Carlson’s and Rhee’s performances were outstanding.

“Rachel Rhee and Eva Carlson were real difference-makers,” Wolfrum said. “Rhee and Carlson were the standouts in terms of consistency and really making an impact.”

Senior swimmer Rachel Rhee stands outside of the pool. Rhee notched two second-place finishes against Stanford on Friday. (Alice Yang/Daily Bruin)

The Bruins had a night to recover between the back-to-back Northern California dual meets.

Carlson said recovery was essential between the two meets and involved lots of refueling.

“After the Stanford meet, we got back to the hotel pretty early,” Carlson said. “We just rested and tried to take some time away from the pool mentally too.”

Against Cal, Rhee secured the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle events for the Bruins. In the latter, she was one of two swimmers to break the 50-second mark with a time of 49.73 seconds.

Since Cal did not enter any divers, Jespersgaard won the 3-meter diving event and freshman Eden Cheng took the 1-meter diving event, based on both their performances the day prior.

The next time the Bruins will compete against the Cardinal and the Bears is at the Pac-12 championship meet at the end of February. Last year, the blue and gold finished fourth behind Stanford, Cal and USC.

Wolfrum said the biggest lesson of the weekend is that UCLA can compete with top-tier teams.

“What I told the team before the weekend is that these two teams don’t take us seriously,” Wolfrum said. “So make sure when we leave here, they have to. And I think that was the result of (Saturday’s) meet for sure.”

On Feb. 10, UCLA will face off against No. 10 USC at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center in both teams’ last dual meet of the season.

Wolfrum said the team will begin to slow the intensity of practice to prepare for the rivalry meet and the following championship meets.

“We can really focus on top competition at the right time and what we are going to do under the bright lights,” Wolfrum said. “At this point, it’s rest and recovery and sharpening our skills.”

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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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