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UCLA swim and dive wins Fresno State Invitational by 350-point margin

Members of UCLA swim and dive celebrate with their teammates at the conclusion of a relay at the Blue and Gold Intrasquad meet. The divers switched disciplines and competed in a 75-yard freestyle relay. (Felicia Keller/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Swim and Dive

Fresno State Invite

First place (1207 points)

By Sabrina Baker

Oct. 9, 2023 11:25 a.m.

This post was updated Oct. 10 at 8:15 p.m.

The Bruins have emerged victorious in Fresno for the second consecutive year.

UCLA swim and dive won the Fresno State Invitational by 350 points – a win margin more than twice as large as the squad’s victory at the same meet last season. The two-day invitational from Oct. 6 to Oct. 7 saw a pool of four other teams, with San Diego State clinching silver and Pac-12 rival, Washington State, bringing home the bronze.

Coach Jordan Wolfrum said this meet will usher confidence to the Bruins as they head into the rest of the season.

“It’s a meet that shows off our depth really well,” Wolfrum said. “We’ve got great depth, so that’s what helped us win that meet. It’s a good opportunity to start building up our best lineup and our confidence.”

The Bruins managed first or second place finishes in every event they competed in except for the 100-yard backstroke. Two of their 11 first place finishes were courtesy of junior Ana Jih-Schiff’s performance in the 100-yard individual medley and 200-yard individual medley. Jih-Schiff won the latter by nearly a 1.5-second margin.

Jih-Schiff said a key to her success this weekend was maintaining her composure before the race.

“When you get to big competitions, it’s easy to think about how fast you are going,” Jih-Schiff said. “But, when we are at these competitions, it’s more about practicing your race routine and giving 100 percent of what you have.”

UCLA also swept the podium in the 400-yard individual medley, 100-yard individual medley and the 1-meter diving event. The diving sweep was headlined by freshman Lauren Hallaselkä, followed by junior Zoe Jespersgaard and closed out by graduate student transfer Savana Trueb.

Wolfrum said this meet demonstrated Jespersgaard’s leadership among the divers.

“It was really cool to go on the road with Zoe, who’s been a leader on the team essentially since she was a freshman,” Wolfrum said. “But have her really lead a young squad and a new squad and show them the ropes.”

The invitational also acted as a debut meet for some Bruin swimmers, including freshman Sarah Bennetts.

Bennetts competed in four relays and four individual events, with her best individual result coming from her second place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke.

The Davis local said she was most proud of her second-place performance.

“I really liked how I did in my 100 breaststroke,” Bennetts said. “I think it was probably one of my best pre-season times ever.”

The Fresno State Invitational will serve to be a good scouting report for UCLA’s next competition as it will face a familiar competitor in Washington State.

Wolfrum said competing against Washington State at the invitational taught UCLA what it needs to focus on ahead of Friday’s meeting.

“We got to see a lot of what they are working with,” Wolfrum said. “They are going to be a really strong opponent this year, so that’s exciting. We love going up against tough schools.”

The Bruins and Cougars will hit the pool this Friday at Gibb Pool in Pullman, Washington.

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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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