UCSB Sweeps Women's Honors, CP And UCI Collect Men's Awards
The 2008 Big West Swimming & Diving Champions, UC Santa Barbara, picked up four of the six Big West Swimming & Diving annual honors and Cal Poly and UC Irvine each collected one conference award.
The Gauchos swept the women's awards with Anne Marie May tabbed Big West Swimmer of the Year, Sara Nicponski collecting Big West Freshman of the Year honors and head coach Gregg Wilson named Big West Coach of the Year. For the men, Wilson also picked up coach of the year, while UC Irvine's Eddie Erazo brought home Big West Athlete of the Year honors and Matt Waggoner was the Big West Freshman of the Year selection.
May was explosive at this year's Big West Swimming & Diving Championships, tallying six first place victories - 50 and 100 free, 200 and 400 relays and 200 and 400 medley relays. The Carmel, Calif., native, and her teammates broke school records in all of the aforementioned events. Her time of 22.21 in the 50 free at the Big West Championship set a new meet record, along with the 200 free and 200 medley relay teams shattering conference marks. May becomes just the fourth female UC Santa Barbara to receive the Big West Swimmer of the Year accolade.
Also a member of the record-breaking Gaucho relay teams is Nicponski - Big West Freshman of the Year. While being a part of the championship 200 and 400 medley relays at the conference championships, she placed second in the 100 and 200 breaststroke and fifth in the 200 individual medley. Nicponski has recorded NCAA automatic qualifying times in all three events.
Setting a new conference meet record in the 100 backstroke with a time of 47.98 helped Erzao earn Big West Male Swimmer of the Year. This marks the second year-in-a-row an Anteater has walked away with the top prize, with Randall Tom earning the distinguished honor in 2007. Erazo, earning two swimmer of the week honors this year, set two UC Irvine program records this season in both the 100 and 200 backstroke. The San Diego, Calif., native also holds the conference record in the 200 butterfly.
Waggoner, not only scored the most individual points by a freshman swimmer, he was the only freshman swimmer to win an event at the Big West Championships. He won the 1,650 free, placed second in the 1000 free and finished sixth in the 500 free. During his first year as a Mustang, Waggoner set new Cal Poly top times in all three distance events.
Guiding the UC Santa Barbara men’s program to their 26th title, third in the past five years (‘04, ‘06), and the women’s team to its third straight conference champion, Wilson was named both the men’s and women’s Big West Coach of the Year. This is his 14th men’s honor and 11th women’s coaching accolade. Wilson’s Gauchos were impressive during last week’s swimming & diving championship, setting eight meet records.