Swim & Dive takes down crosstown USD on Senior Day

A+San+Diego+State+swimmer+competes+in+the+breaststroke+in+the+Aztecs%E2%80%99+first+home+meet+of+the+season+against+Pepperdine+and+Boise+State+on+Oct.+18%2C+2019+at+the+Aztec+Aquaplex.

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A San Diego State swimmer competes in the breaststroke in the Aztecs’ first home meet of the season against Pepperdine and Boise State on Oct. 18, 2019 at the Aztec Aquaplex.

by Breven Honda and Brandon Freed

San Diego State Swimming and Diving defeated its cross- town foe, University of San Diego, on Jan. 24 for Senior Day at the Aztec Aquaplex. 

Here are three observations from the meet. 

Swim overcomes illness to give their all

The Aztecs were able to beat the Toreros for the second time this season, 153-128. 

Head coach Mike Shrader said the team takes pride in giving its best effort.

“Going into our meet, we had the mindset of giving our best effort and maintaining a positive attitude and those were off the charts,” Shrader said. 

Seniors Kassidy Henson and Courtney Vincent won their respective races, despite being ill. Henson won the 500-meter freestyle with a time of 5:07.86 and Vincent won the 100-meter butterfly with a time of 53.31.

Shrader said he was impressed by both of their performances.

“Those were two big time highlights and many others, but those two stood out since they were under the weather,” Shrader said. 

Shrader, who has been at SDSU for 13 seasons, said he has been proud of the team all year long. 

“We’ve been working really hard,” Shrader said. “The girls are sore, they’re tired and we’ve had some really nice performances. The good Lord has blessed me with just some outstanding young ladies.”

Senior captain, McKenna Meyer, was one of many SDSU swimmers that came victorious today by winning the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:52.25.

Gonzales sets record, entire team advances

The Aztec divers were just as successful as the swimmers.

All seven SDSU divers qualified for the NCAA Zone E Diving Championships in both the 1-meter and 3-meter dives.

Aztecs’ diving coach Roland McDonald said the results of the meet were a significant accomplishment. 

“Today was a real good day for us,” McDonald said. “All seven of our divers made a qualifying score for the NCAA Zone Championships and that’s our means of getting to the NCAA Championships.”

McDonald said having all seven divers advance to Seattle for the Zone Championships is great for the program because the entire team will have the chance to compete at a higher level.  

“It’s huge,” McDonald said. “There’s not going to be too many schools that have that many or more (competitors). We’ll probably have the largest team there.”

Shrader said it is a once-in-a-lifetime moment for the diving program to have every member compete at the next level. 

“It’s always special when you have an opportunity to go to a national level meet and when your entire program makes it, I don’t know that you can say any more than that,” Shrader said. “Roland has done an outstanding job as our diving coach. He’s as good as anyone in the country.”

In addition, sophomore Ximena Lechuga Gonzalez set a new school and pool record in the 3-meter dive, posting 383.03 points.  

Shrader said Gonzalez’s record is a result of her coach and her qualities she brings to the program.

“(Gonzalez) is very humble, is a hard-worker, is not afraid to try new things and she does a great job listening to Roland,” Shrader said. “She gets up there and she’s a special young lady. We’re very proud of her.”

Senior enjoy final day at Aquaplex

The team recognized nine seniors (seven swimmers, two divers) who participated in their final meet at the Aztec Aquaplex. 

For the final event, Shrader built a senior team for the 400-yard freestyle relay composed of Vincent, Meyer, Alma Thormalm and Peyton Wilson.

The team won the relay with a time of 3:26.64. 

Shrader said it is a testament to the hard work the seniors put in to embrace the final moments they have in their final moments as an Aztec. 

“It’s always special,” Shrader said. “We always got to put a senior relay at the end to give them an opportunity and it was a really fast time. We were really happy and impressed.”

Senior day festivities continued near the diving board as they honored Marie Yacopino and Delaney Gallagher who finished second and third in the 1-meter springboard event.  

Gallagher said her relationship with Yacopino has been fun. 

“Marie and I have been together since freshman year and she’s been my ride-or-die,” Gallagher said. “It was really nice to finish out at a good meet.” 

Up next, the Aztec diving team heads to Flagstaff, Arizona for the Northern Arizona Diving Invitational #2 from Jan. 31 to Feb.1 before both the swimmers and divers head to Minneapolis for the Mountain West Championships from Feb. 19 to 22. 

Breven Honda and Brandon Freed are both juniors studying journalism.

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