Women’s swim and dive gets ‘wake-up call’

by Joseph Faria, Contributor

San Diego State women’s swim and dive suffered its first loss of the season in a dual-meet against Washington State on Saturday. SDSU did split the overall event by beating the University of New Mexico after the loss.

The final results of the meet had the Cougars beating the Aztecs by a score of 161.5-132.5, and the Aztecs over the Lobos by a score of 208-92.

“The competition today was the best we’ve faced all year,” head coach Mike Shrader said. “That was a great test for our team and I was really proud of the way they responded and how they raced today. We’re excited going forward.”

The Aztecs’ home dual-meet win streak ended at seven in Saturday’s meet. The team hadn’t lost at the Aztec Aquaplex since Jan. 31, 2009.

“You’ve got to look at it as a wake-up call (for us),” Shrader said. “You can’t just show up and beat anybody. You’ve got to be prepared.”

Being down early, the Aztecs made an impressive effort to rally for a comeback against the Cougars, but fell just short.

“Our turns were a little bit off today, so we can get better there,” Shrader said. “But we did race well and had a high level of enthusiasm. Our effort and attitude were outstanding.”

Although the Aztecs suffered a disappointing loss, there were many milestones in the meet that didn’t go unnoticed.

The 200-yard freestyle relay team of senior Taylor Johnson, freshman Cailey Steffens, junior Sami Guttmacher and senior Whitney Weisz set a new Aztec Aquaplex record in that event with a time of 1:33.07. The old Aquaplex record was 1:33.08, set in October 2014.

Also, Johnson’s time in the 50-yard freestyle (23.15 seconds) was the second-fastest ever at the Aquaplex, and her mark in the 100-yard free (51.26 seconds) was the sixth-fastest ever at the facility.

“(As a team,) we were real supportive of each other and battled the whole way,” Shrader said. “And (Johnson) has never swam that fast before. She won two events and led off our winning relay. She is ahead of pace right now.”

The Aztecs won four of the 16 events in the meet, three of those victories led by Johnson.

“Today I felt really good in the water,” Johnson said. “I’m just trying to get ready for our big Texas A&M meet and work on the little things like my turns, my starts and being powerful in the water.”

Johnson set career-best times in her three events. And there’s no stopping her effort to keep improving as the season marches on.

“I think I could have still been tighter on my starts that could improve my 50 (freestyle),” Johnson said. “And in my 100, just need to be able to hold my breath count longer. That will drop a little bit of time.”

Johnson knows the team needs to recover from this defeat and bounce back in its upcoming meets.

“All the hard work is behind us,” Johnson said. “So now we’re focused on resting and working on technique in practice and going forward from there. We just need to make sure we take care of our bodies outside of the water as well, with nutrition and hydration.”

The Aztecs will be on the road starting Nov. 19 when they travel to College Station, Texas, to race in the Art Adamson Invitation against Texas A&M University. That meet will be followed by traveling to race against Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on December 18.

The team’s next home meet will be on Jan. 22 against crosstown rivals, the University of San Diego.