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UCLA swim and dive breaks school records, takes fourth at Pac-12 championships

UCLA swim and dive junior Paige MacEachern dives off the blocks. (Giavonna Crupi/Daily Bruin)

By Aaron Doyle

March 5, 2024 12:59 p.m.

This post was updated March 5 at 8:32 p.m.

Another day, another school record for the Bruins.

On the final three days of the last edition of the Pac-12 championships, the Bruins broke school records in various events.

UCLA swim and dive (5-4, 3-4 Pac-12) took fourth place at its final Pac-12 Championship, matching last year’s finish. Multiple Bruins claimed individual podium finishes in various events, and across the four-day event, the Bruins recorded 1089 points, 58.5 more than last year’s score.

Sophomore Rosie Murphy, sophomore Eden Cheng and junior Paige MacEachern had school record-breaking performances. On the diving side, Cheng notched a school record score in the preliminary round of the platform diving event. The trio set a total of four UCLA records throughout the meet.

History repeated itself when MacEachern placed second in the 400-yard individual medley for the second year in a row. With a time of 4:03.47, the junior broke her own record in the same event that she set during last year’s Pac-12 championship, but this time nearly three seconds faster.

“I love that race, and I keep on improving in it,” MacEachern said. “It’s fun to see the improvement after each year being able to see where I was last year, and even faster this year by breaking it.”

Murphy followed suit with a fourth-place finish in the event with a time of 4:06.00.

On day two, Murphy and MacEachern had record-breaking performances in the 200-yard individual medley. MacEachern began her day by breaking the school record in the event with a 1:55.97, becoming the first Bruin in program history to swim below the 1:56.00 mark in the event.

Minutes later, Murphy swam in her own heat and broke the school record again, besting MacEachern’s time by just .04 seconds.

“Rosie is always calm, cool and collected. She knows how to get things done,” said associate head coach Karissa Kruszewski. “She’s just one of our most consistent racers, and no matter what, she’s racing from her heart and for this team, regardless what the time is on the board. The time is just a bonus for her.”

In the A final, MacEachern out-touched Murphy in the event, and the two finished in sixth and seventh place.

Murphy followed up her school record in the 200-yard individual medley with another in the 200-yard backstroke. The performance earned her the first Pac-12 podium of her career with third place.

“I was really happy that I was able to get on the podium. That was my goal,” Murphy said. “I touched the wall, and it just felt like I did everything right, and everything was paying off. It was just the best feeling.”

During the platform dive prelims, the Bruins broke another school record, this time coming from Cheng. Cheng’s performance notched her second place in the final. Graduate student Savana Trueb finished off of the podium in fifth place.

The Bruins took a fifth-place finish in the 200-yard medley relay and second place in the team diving event. Both Bruin teams had season-best finishes, with the relay team notching a 1:37.68 time and the divers grabbing a team-record score of 330.40.

Senior Maya Wilson grabbed an eighth-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle A final, the first Pac-12 A final of her career. Graduate student Brooke Schaffer swam in the B final, finishing 13th overall with a 22.48.

In the diving competition, junior Zoe Jespersgaard and Trueb competed in the 1-meter dive A final, while freshman Lauren Hallaselkä and Cheng took spots in the consolation final.

In the A final, Jespersgaard was the top Bruin, claiming sixth place. Hallaselkä took the win in the B final and finished ninth overall. Cheng placed third in the B final, taking 11th overall.

In the 3-meter dive event, Cheng, Hallaselkä and Trueb all qualified into the A final, with Cheng notching the only podium finish for the Bruins, placing second after taking fourth in last year’s championship. Hallaselkä and Trueb finished off the podium, notching fifth- and sixth-place finishes, respectively.

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Aaron Doyle
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