Junior Peter Kline, junior Matt Waggoner and freshman Angie Haven are three Mustangs participating in the conference championship this week. Photo by Ryan Sidarto- Mustang Daily

The Mustangs may be young, but that doesn’t mean they can’t strive for championships. Cal Poly’s swimming and diving team, who holds just two seniors, will send three record-breaking swimmers to the Big West Conference Championship this week.

The competition started this Wednesday and will run through Saturday at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in Long Beach

With the women’s team finishing fourth last year and the men’s team finishing fifth, the Mustangs are looking to improve their standing this season. Head coach Tim Milich said he feels his team is peaking right in time for the conference championships.

“We’ve done a very good job of getting up and racing. We’re young, we’re inexperienced, but we’re racing faster than we’ve ever swum before,” he said.

The Mustangs have had three swimmers surpass the B qualifying standard for the NCAA Division I National Championships.

This year, junior Matt Waggoner qualified provisionally in the 1650 freestyle, an event in which he won the Big West title for in 2008, with a time of 15:31.28. He is also responsible for three best conference times this season in 500 freestyle, 1000 freestyle and 1650 freestyle.

Joining Waggoner is junior Peter Kline who has also met the provisional qualifying standard in the 200 backstroke, 200 individual medley and 400 individual medley.

Kline broke school records, and holds best conference times, in both the 200 backstroke and 400 individual medley (IM).

On the women’s side, freshman Angie Haven has provisionally qualified in the 100 meter and 200 meter breaststroke. Haven has broken four school records this season in the 100 butterfly, 100 breaststroke, 200 breaststroke and 200 IM. She also owns the conference record for the 100 breaststroke, 200 breaststroke and 200 IM. She is responsible for the conference best times in the 100 breaststroke, 200 breaststroke and 200 IM.

Coach Milich is happy with the progress that his team has made this season and believes his team will be ready to give it their all this week.

“It’s been a great year for us … We’ve already had (three) kids make NCAA B standards; two of them are ranked in the top 15 of the country,” Milich said. “We’re pretty solid right now where we are, we haven’t really rested for our meets so now we’re at the time of the year where we get to rest … we’re moving in the right direction (and) the program is moving in the right direction.”

Last year’s Big West freshman of the year Lacey Buck won both the 1,000 and 1,650 freestyle at conference championships. This year she owns the conference best times in the 500 freestyle, 1000 freestyle and 1650 freestyle.

Coach Milich feels that his swimmers have come together as a group, and that has led to a different type of team.

“That’s the thing that has changed most dramatically with this group is that they are a team, everything they do is as a team. When I first got here, we didn’t have team sweats, we didn’t have team caps, we didn’t have a lot of stuff. Now they’re always as a team,” Coach Milich said.

Kylie France broke the school record in the 400 IM, and Katrina Anderson owns the conference best time in the 200 backstroke.

In the women’s 800 freestyle relay, the group of Anderson, Karin Schleicher, Chrissy Thomas and Camille Duckett nabbed the best time in the conference.

Last year, Cal Poly produced three Big West champions. Lacey Buck won both the 1,000 and 1,650 freestyle on her way to Big West female freshman of the year honors while Gloria Benefield, who is currently redshirting this season, won the 200 freestyle.

Despite breaking 19 school records during the Big West meet in 2009, Cal Poly placed fourth on the women’s side while the men’s team finished fifth.

Cal Poly has not had a swimmer qualify for nationals since elevating the program to Division 1 in 1994.

—Zach Lantz contributed to this article

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