Cal Poly will play host this weekend as Cal State Bakersfield and UC Santa Cruz, among others, gather to compete in the second annual Mustang Invitational swim meet.
This year’s two-day event takes place at Sinsheimer Park in San Luis Obispo.
The schedule begins at 11 a.m. tomorrow and culminates at 10 a.m. Saturday.
As Cal Poly enters this year’s invitational, a handful of standout athletes highlight the swim team’s path to victory.
Head coach Tom Milich has been coaching for the past 33 years, the last two at Cal Poly.
He said he knows true talent when he comes across it and this year’s mostly freshman group has definitely got it.
“We have a pretty awesome group this year,” Milich said. “Records have been broken all across the board and they’re going to keep getting broken.”
One of those top athletes who is swimming laps around the competition is biochemistry freshman Matthew Waggoner.
Milich had much to say as he proudly discussed some of Waggoner’s many swimming related accomplishments.
“Matthew was a high school All-American who qualified for the United States Olympic Trials in the 1500 meter freestyle” Milich said. “He had a top-ten time in the 800 meter freestyle and also qualified for the 400 meter freestyle in the National Championships.”
“He comes in with a great work ethic and he’s pretty much prepared and on schedule.”
Some of the other stats that Waggoner currently uphold include records in the 500, 1000 and 1650 meter free-style.
He is also the recent leader in the Big West Conference for the 500 and 1000 meter free-styles.
Another talented swimmer making waves in the freshmen ranks is business major Melody White.
White said that when she decided to attend Cal Poly, she was already familiar with the university because both of her parents are Cal Poly alums.
White said one of the things she is definitely looking forward to is her dad’s impending visit.
“I’m excited because my father is flying out tonight,” White said. “I’m really happy that he will be here to see me swim.”
As she talked excitedly about the upcoming meet, White said that she is eagerly looking forward to all the different aspects that will be happening.
“It will be good to get out there and swim different events, get new times and race against the other swimmers in the competition,” White said.
In relation to Olympic timing qualification, White said she is looking forward to improving her times, and with it her chances of someday going for the gold.
“I definitely think this weekend will put me closer to a qualifying time,” White said. “If not an Olympic trial grade, I definitely want to get a national cut.”
One more athlete currently making a splash on the scene is kinesiology freshman, Gloria Benefield.
Her current ranking status includes the title for the 400 individual medley.
Her time rated an impressive 4:30.76. Benefield’s standing in the Big West Conference places her second for the 200 backstroke, with an overall time of 2:02.70.
She is also ranked number four for the 200 butterfly, as well as fifth for the 400 individual medley.
Benefield has also recently qualified for the Olympic trials this summer in Indiana.
She said that the experience was humbling as well as overwhelming.
“I’m still in shock from the whole thing,” Benefield said. “The competition was so rough but I’m so excited to be racing against the best in the entire country.”
“We’ll just have to wait and see what happens, I guess.”
Wait and see is exactly what will be happening as these talented and driven individuals swim their way to probable victory in this weekend’s competition.