The men’s and women’s squads from the Air Force Academy (AFA), the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW), and UC San Diego (UCSD), as well as the San Diego State (SDSU) women met in San Diego, CA on Monday, December 29th.
The Aztecs of SDSU were led by sophomore Anika Apostalon, who achieved All-American honors last year for her strong showing at NCAAs as a freshman. Apostalon won the 100 backstroke (56.52) with ease, and would have won the 200 backstroke as well (2:03.07) were she not swimming exhibition in that event. She also anchored the victorious 200 medley relay to kick off the meet, and led off the Aztecs’ 400 free relay in 51.66, which posted a field-leading time of 3:30.55 to beat their B relay by over four seconds. However, the Aztecs had since secured their team victory, and this relay was one of the events that they swum in exhibition, so the AFA women took the victory in 3:36.15.
The AFA women got off to a great start despite losing the medley relay, with Falcons Genevieve Miller and Sara Menke going 1-2 in the 1000 free, posting respective times of 10:22.24 and 10:26.96. Miller got right back in for the 200 free but could not take down SDSU’s Natilee Ruiz, who won in a time of 1:52.08. Miller was only eight tenths back, and might have been able to make things more interesting if she hadn’t had the grueling 1000 right before the event.
SDSU’s onslaught didn’t let up after Ruiz’s clutch win. Aztec Laura Day felt the heat from UCSD’s Austine Lee in the 100 breast, but touched first in 1:05.93 to Lee’s 1:06.11. Frida Berggren led a 1-2-3 finish in the 200 fly for the Aztecs, posting a 2:04.29 for the victory. She was followed by teammates Caroline Mitchell (2:05.77) and Loreen Whitfield (2:06.57).
Getting into the sprint free events, SDSU excelled despite having Apostalon, All-American in the 50 free and All-American honorable mention in the 100 free, swimming only backstroke individually. The key to their success in this stretch of the meet was Chelsea Bailey, who won both the 50 (23.87) and 100 free (52.21). Aztecs Taylor Johnson (24.11) and Whitney Weisz (24.19) followed through for another 1-2-3 sweep for SDSU in the 50, although UIW’s Lana Nguyen was able to break up the SDSU sweep in the 100. She finished second (52.63) to Bailey and just ahead of Weisz (52.82) to avenge her 4th place finish in the 50. At this point in the meet, SDSU had secured a team victory, and they competed for the remainder of the meet in exhibition.
DIVING: UIW’s Kali Lents stole the victory on the 1-meter board from four SDSU divers. She finished with 281.30 points, and only 21.05 points separated the top 5 finishers. Lents was unable to win both diving events, however, as SDSU’s Alexandria Caplan won 3-meter by more than 30 points over Lents.
UC San Diego 180.50 – 114.50 Univ of The Incarnate Word
U.S. Air Force Academy 168.00 – 124.00 Univ of The Incarnate Word
UC San Diego 151.00 – 132.00 U.S. Air Force Academy
San Diego State University 142.00 – 133.00 Univ of The Incarnate Word
San Diego State University 151.00 – 127.00 UC San Diego
San Diego State University 141.00 – 135.00 U.S. Air Force Academy
The AFA men won a host of events and notched two pool records en route to a sweep of the UIW and UCSD men’s squads in San Diego.
Following a close AFA win over UCSD in the 200 medley relay, 1:32.55 to 1:32.89, Falcon junior Nick Jackson broke the pool record in the 200 free for the victory (1:41.34), winning by well over a second and a half. Devon Davis won the 100 back (51.21), leading a 1-2-3 AFA sweep, and Michael Barnosky took top honors in the 100 breast (57.00). Sean Ledford posted a time of 1:53.62 for a very narrow win over UIW’s David Moore (1:53.74) in the 200 fly, yet another AFA win. However, at the 50 free, the Falcons would suffer a loss.
Arthur Heale of UCSD was the only sprinter sub-21.00 in the splash-and-dash event, going 20.97 to hand the Falcons the loss. Later, Jackson came back to win the 500 in another pool record. His time of 4:36.77 was nearly five seconds ahead of the next best competitor as he continued to rewrite the record books in San Diego.
A very close race in the 100 fly ended with another Falcon victory, as Kevin Mitchell posted a time of 51.66 to edge out Kevin Wilder of UCSD (51.70) and his teammates Grant Temple (51.98) and 200 fly winner Ledford (52.18).
UCSD’s AJ Zavala, who was in seventh at the back-to-breast turn, had the back half of a champion in the 200 IM to end up winning by well over a second. Aaron Moran of UIW was 2nd (1:58.13) and Davis of AFA was third (1:58.51). AFA wrapped up the meet with a convincing 400 relay win, posting a time of 3:06.44. UCSD was second back at 3:10.17 and AFA’s B relay posted a 3:11.85 for third.
DIVING: Adam Springer of UCSD and Brandon Schaffer of UIW traded wins in the 1 and 3 meter diving events. Springer took the 1 meter with 254.65 points to Schaffer’s 245.70, while Schaffer won the 3 meter with 277.25 to Springer’s 248.90.
UC San Diego 196.00 – 102.00 Univ of the Incarnate Word
U.S. Air Force Academy 192.00 – 96.00 Univ of the Incarnate Word
U.S. Air Force Academy 173.00 – 115.00 UC San Diego
SDSU Women and UIW women will meet again in La Jolla, CA, on January 3rd to compete with Grand Valley and UCSD. The AFA women will be back in San Diego for a meet on January 4th.
The AFA men will swim against UCSB in Los Angeles, CA, on January 3rd. UIW will face UCSD in La Jolla, CA, on January 3rd.