2009-10 Big West Swimming & Diving Season Set to Commence
The pools around the Big West will once again be full of life this fall as the five conference swimming & diving teams start the opening acts of the race toward the Conference Championships February 17-20 in Long Beach.
Defending men's and women's champion UC Santa Barbara is out for more hardware as the Gaucho men will aim for their third consecutive and 29th title overall, while the UCSB women are looking for fifth straight crown and 14th in program history. The Gauchos have plenty of talented swimmers in the fold as a roster of two men’s individual winners and 10 top three finishers and three women’s individual champions and 15 top 3 finishers return in 2009. Leading the charge on the men's side is Scott Vogelgesang, Kevin Ferguson, the 2009 Men's Freshman of the Year and Kevin Kuhn, while the UCSB women are led by veterans Anne Marie May, Naomi Javanifard and Nadia Dwidar.
UC Davis looks to halt the UCSB title run as the Aggies finished second in both the men's and women's races at last season's Championships. UCD returns both the 2009 Big West Men’s Athlete of the Year and Women’s Athlete of the Year in Scott Weltz and Heidi Kucera, respectively. The two seniors lead a horde of talented swimmers for head coaches Peter Motekaitis and Barbara Jahn, who can also count on divers Shiree Segev, Paul Navo and Jason Andrade in the Aggie hunt for the Big West title.
Cal Poly had a jump start on the 2009 season as women’s team christened the newly remodeled Anderson Aquatic Center with a meet against California on September 18-19. Head coach Tom Milich hopes the club's early start, combined with a few alumni and intrasquad meets as well as a new diving program, offer the Mustangs the kind of ammunition needed to move to the top of the Big West. The squad is led by a duo of record breaking distance swimmers in Lacey Buck, the 2009 Women's Freshman of the Year, and Matt Waggoner, as well as a slew of swimmers such as Peter Kline and a host of talented underclassmen.
Despite losing key veterans on both sides, including NCAA Championships competitor Jenny Lewis, the Pacific Tigers have a lot of optimism for a strong 2009-10 season. The club is led by Jaymie Swalin, K.C. Albiston and Brooke Cashion on the women's side, while Dave Mathews heads the men's contingent. The two squads are also buoyed by head coach Adam Kennedy's recruiting efforts as 20 new swimmers will don Tiger colors this fall.
Cal State Northridge is ready for 2009-10 thanks to the return of many talented swimmers from last season's club. Jeff Raimondi, Hank Weinberger and Chris Grafton lead the men's contingent, while the women’s team hopes to move up the Big West charts behind the efforts of Bethany Scamara, Shannon Colavito and Olesya Senicheva.