Lauren Rabaino

The Cal Poly men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams, which have broken seven of their prior records since the beginning of the season in September, compete today through Saturday in the 2008 Big West Championships today at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in Long Beach.

“We’re going to have a pretty good showing all the way across the board,” head coach Tom Milich said.

Milich said that the teams posing the most competition are UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine and Pacific.

The Mustangs, whose men’s and women’s teams each placed fifth in the coaches’ preseason poll, look to upset those predictions, while UCSB is favored to win both Big West Conference crowns.

“This is what the season is all about for these kids,” Milich said of the championships.

Milich predicted that freshman Matt Waggoner, who holds three Cal Poly records, will lead the men’s team. Waggoner is presently the second-fastest in the Big West in the middle-distance events of the 500, 1000 and 1650 freestyle.

Freshman Peter Kline, who broke the Cal Poly record in the 200 backstroke this season, will compete in that event as well as the 400 IM.

Sophomore Carter Richards, Cal Poly’s leader in the 100-and- 200 breast stroke, will compete in the aforementioned events.

“The guys freshmen class is ultimately talented, but we still don’t have a ton of depth,” Milich said.

Milich said that Cal Poly’s representation at the championships is a great improvement compared to last season because on the men’s side, there is at least one competitor in every event except the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle.

Freshman Gloria Benefield, along with Waggoner, boasts three Cal Poly records and is figured to be one of the leaders for the women’s team.

She is ranked in the Big West top three in the 200 and 500 freestyle and the 200 fly as well.

Freshman Melody White will compete for Cal Poly in the 1000 freestyle and senior Stacey Sorensen will compete for top spots in the sprint events.

“Our girls added a great deal in depth,” Milich said of the improvement in the women’s team from previous seasons to now.

Qualifying rounds will begin at 10:30 a.m. and final rounds will be held later at approximately 6 p.m.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *