Santa Barbara, Calif. - Taking on the perennial mid-major power of UC Santa Barbara on the road, the Tiger women dominated the day in the pool on Friday, Jan. 23 as Pacific took 10 of 14 events to claim the victory over the Gauchos, 149-to-108. The win for the women was their first over the Gauchos since the 2004 season. In addition, the Tigers claimed victory over Loyola Marymount, 170-to-79, as the Lions joined the fun on the women's side as a late addition. On the men's side, Pacific came up just short as UC Santa Barbara was able to hold serve in its home pool with a 131-to-108 win.
"This was a fantastic win for the women today," said head coach Peter Richardson. "The victory was a complete team effort from top to bottom and is a huge deal for the program. To come down to Santa Barbara and beat the Gauchos on the road is a really big deal. UC Santa Barbara has been the model of consistency and excellence as a top mid-major program throughout the last 30 years."
The Tigers flew out of the gates on Friday afternoon as Pacific took the first four events to set the tone for the rest of the meet. The women grabbed both of the top two spots in the 200 Medley Relay as top team of Haley Preston, Cristina Mardones, Kenna Ramey, and MaryElla Randall posted the best time of the event at 1:44.80. Their time just beat out the Tigers' second team which out-touched the Guachos top relay squad by just .05 seconds, 1:46.85 to 1:46.90. The win for Preston kicked off a day of supremacy in the pool as the junior went on to win three more events with victories in the 100 and 200 Back as well as the 100 Fly.
After taking the opening event, the Tigers looked to their ace to keep the momentum going as sophomore Margaux Verger Gourson jumped in the pool to begin her quest for another go at the 200, 500, and 1000 Free triple. With the long distance event first, Verger Gourson came up with an easy win in the 1000 as the second-year sensation posted a time of 10:03.30 to win by nearly :30 seconds. Getting little rest, Verger Gourson put the Tigers well ahead of the field with their third win as she took the 200 Free with a time of 1:48.04, just ahead of senior teammate Haley Shillington. Verger Gourson would go on to dominate the triple with a win in her signature event of the 500 Free as she again just out-touched Shillington with a time of 4:58.45. She would go on to make it four-for-four in her events on the day as she came up with the top time in the 400 Free Relay alongside of her teammates, Shillington, Ramey, and Vaiva Gimbutyte.
For Shillington, her near misses just behind Verger Gourson would not dampen the day for the senior as she came up with a win in the 100 Free with a time of 51.61. She actually bested her 100 clip in the 400 Relay to end the meet when she shaved off a tenth of a second by posting a split time of 51.53. Not to be outdone, Ramey came up with an individual win of her own as she out-sprinted the competition in the 50 free with a time of 24.17, adding the win to her pair of relay runs that bookended the meet for Pacific.
"On the men's side of the meet we swam well, but came up just a little short of what we needed to take down the Gauchos," said Richardson. "I'm proud of how the men swam against one of the best programs in the country. It was impressive to see the guys step up in places and put together a strong performance."
Freshman Miles MacKenzie came up with some of the Tigers' top performances of the meet as he posted the top split time in the 200 Medley Relay to begin the meet as he posted a time of 20.23 to close out Pacific's B team's performance. Against one of the Gauchos' top sprinters and an NCAA Qualifier, MacKenzie just missed the upset in the 100 Free as he touched the wall at 46.22 to finish just behind Chase Lemley who posted a time of 45.97.
In addition to MacKenzie's performance, the Tigers picked up strong showings from Brandon Chandler and Curtis Klein, who each picked up individual victories in the meet for Pacific. Chandler showed off his stamina in the distance events for the Tigers as the senior came home with wins in both the 500 and 1000 Free events. In the 1000, Chandler won by :16 seconds with a time of 9:23.26 while in the 500 he posted a time of 4:34.50. In each of the events, the senior's closest competition came from his teammates as the Gauchos trailed behind in third place. For Klein, the second-year swimmer won the 200 Back with a time of 1:48.75 before finishing with a win in the 400 IM over the reigning MPSF swimmer of the week, Dylan Kubick. Klein's time of 4:00.53 was his best-ever showing in the event as he beat his career-best time by nearly four seconds.
The Tigers are back in the pool on Saturday, Jan. 24 when the women take on San Diego State at Aztec Aquaplex beginning at 11:00 am.