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Breaststroke performances propel UCLA swim and dive to split results

Junior Ana Jih-Schiff plunges back into the water during a breaststroke race for UCLA swim and dive. (Nicolas Greamo/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Swim and Dive


No. 21 Arizona State175
No. 23 UCLA125
Arizona147
No. 23 UCLA152

By Felicia Keller

Nov. 5, 2023 7:07 p.m.

This post was updated Nov. 6 at 1:04 a.m. 

Four wins with three podium sweeps.

Through split results, breaststroke reigned supreme.

UCLA swim and dive (4-1, 2-1 Pac-12) fell to Arizona State (2-4, 1-1) on Friday by 50 points before heading further South to beat Arizona (1-2, 1-2) on Saturday by a mere five points.

“Big props to our breaststrokers today, going 1-2-3 in both the 100 (100-yard breaststroke) and the 200 (200-yard breaststroke),” said associate head coach Karissa Kruszewski after Saturday’s win. “That really helped the team in points.”

In addition to the podium sweeps Saturday from the breaststrokers – headlined by two wins from junior Ana Jih-Schiff – the Bruins picked up the top two spots in the 100-yard, also won by Jih-Schiff, and swept the 200-yard Friday. Freshman Sarah Bennetts flipped the script to stand atop the 100-yard breaststroke Friday, with Jih-Schiff and fellow junior Eva Carlson tying for second.

The battle has been tight between Jih-Schiff and Bennetts all season with the two exchanging places.

“I always look at the board, looking for Eva and Sarah’s name and all three of us going in a row, which is super exciting,” Jih-Schiff said. “We said to each other before the race, ‘We can do this, we can sweep this and go 1-2-3.’ And it was super fun to do it yesterday (Friday) and today (Saturday) back to back.”

Overall, Jih-Schiff and the rest of the Bruins earned 12 wins through 28 swimming events across the first of two double dual-meet weekends in their season.

Kruszewski said the team members proved to themselves that they could race fast despite being tired.

In addition to the swimmers’ own grit, tech suits contributed to increased race times. Arizona State has been using the swimsuits that produce faster times in its dual meets this year, so UCLA matched for the weekend.

Junior Paige MacEachern – who won the 400-yard medley Saturday – said this weekend’s meets were her quickest dual meets, due to a combination of the tech suit and practice.

“I did invest time in the 200 IM and the 1000 (freestyle),” MacEachern said. “Just a good feeling that the training is paying off.”

Kruszewski said the team will be using the tech suits in the end-of-fall invitational from Nov. 15-17, and therefore using them this weekend served as good learning for the swimmers.

“Both today and yesterday where we got to race in suits, get a feel for how we’re going to swim those races – because it is a little bit different when you have suits on,” Kruszewski said.

While Friday’s meet had a 50-point final differential – on Saturday, the score went back and forth between the teams, with the Wildcats leading 73-58 at the first break of the meet.

Both MacEachern’s 400-yard medley win and Jih-Schiff’s 200-yard breaststroke win followed the first break. But beyond mentally focusing during a meet, the Bruins had to regroup from Friday’s loss heading into Saturday.

“The thing we just tried to do is living in the moment – just forget what happened, and be able to move on with a fresh clean slate and do our best to beat U of A (Arizona),” MacEachern said. “Even though it was pretty hard, we were all tired, but we were able to bounce back and push through.”

Another key piece over the weekend for the Bruins was the performances from divers, where three athletes picked up 56 points across the two meets.

This weekend marked the conclusion of the Bruins’ dual-meet schedule until January. They will complete their fall slate with the Art Adamson Invitational later this month.

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Felicia Keller
Keller is a 2023-2024 assistant Sports editor on the men’s soccer, swim and dive, women’s water polo, and softball beats. She was previously a contributor on the swim and dive and women’s water polo beats and a contributor in the News and Photo sections. She is also a second-year sociology student.
Keller is a 2023-2024 assistant Sports editor on the men’s soccer, swim and dive, women’s water polo, and softball beats. She was previously a contributor on the swim and dive and women’s water polo beats and a contributor in the News and Photo sections. She is also a second-year sociology student.
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