By Tadzio Garcia
Three records were broken in four events last night, Feb. 20 at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation’s Swimming Championships held at the historic East Los Angeles College pool. The University of Nevada Las Vegas, the number 25-ranked team in the country, toppled the 800-yard medley freestyle record by three seconds breaking the University of Wyoming’s record set one year ago.
“It’s pretty good when you break a record by one second. Three seconds, well, that was the highlight of the first day,” Dale Lundin, time-system operator said. Lundin swam at local Alhambra High School, Occidental College and the University of Southern California.
UNLV’s 200-yard medley relay swam to an NCAA Division I cut qualifying for the NCAA Division I Championships next month.
When asked how the University of California, Davis women’s team will fare, Aggies Head Coach Pete Motekaitis coaching his 18th season said, “Let’s see where we finish in the 800-yard freestyle. We have a goal of setting a new meet record.”
The Aggies set a new meet record and lead in the women’s team standings with 74 points followed by the universities of California, Santa Barbara (72) and Hawaii (70). The defending champion Brigham Young University followed in fourth place (60).
UCSB is in line to give UC Davis a run for the women’s title. The Gauchos edged the Aggies by .14 of a second to win the 200 medley relay to kick off the night. “We will go for the (team) win, which we lost last year to BYU by 30 points. We feel good,” said 37th year Head Coach Gregg Wilson.
BYU is also the men’s defending champions. The Cougars will have a tough test on the men’s side from UNLV. The Rebels are riding an eight-dual winning streak.
“We have a faster swim team this year and have a shot to repeat (as champions),” said Gary Arthur of the BYU men’s team. Arthur grew up in Southern California and graduated from L.A. Valley College and Kennedy High School. Arthur is swimming in his third finals in the ELAC pool. He swam in the CCCAA Swim & Dive finals in his sophomore year and is competing in his second-straight MPSF championship finals.
“The design is deep on both sides and all the way across the pool. The gutters are deep and wide and the pool is not rounded at the bottom, which makes this pool fast,” Head Coach of the ELAC Swim and Dive team Erik Matheson said.
Lundin added, “Yes, the key is the depth. Shallow water at one end of the pool creates turbulence,” Lundin said.
The MPSF finals begin with each team surrounding the pool rooting their teammates on to deafening sounds while the fans scream.
“It gets loud here at night,” the University of North Dakota Head Coach Steve Parsons who is coaching his fourth year said.
The swimming events run through Saturday. The diving events begin today hosted by the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Day two of the swimming events at the ELAC Swim Stadium will include the 500 free, the 200 individual medley and the 50 free. Preliminaries begin at 10:30 a.m.; finals begin at 6 p.m.
Tickets per evening session are $15 adults, $10 seniors over 65, youths and students with ID. All-session passes are $40 adults and $30 for seniors over 65, youths and students with ID.
“We started without a hitch. Three records fell with one being an NCAA Div. I cut. There is much more exciting swimming to see through Saturday in the ELAC Swim Stadium,” said Matheson.
Men’s Championship Standings, Day 1
1. UNLV, 80 points
2. Wyoming, 66
3. University of Denver, 64
4. Cal State Bakersfield, 60
5. U.S. Air Force Academy, 56
6. University of the Pacific, 48
7. Seattle University, 44
8. BYU, 28
9. University of Hawaii, 26
10. North Dakota, 18
Women’s Championship Standings, Day 1
1. UC Davis, 74 points
2. UCSB, 72
3. Hawaii, 64
4. BYU, 60
5. University of San Diego, 54
6. Pacific, 52
7. Cal Poly SLO, 48