Swim team faces California conference opponents

WSU brings its 2-1 overall record to Los Angeles for a couple meets against USC and UCLA


RYAN PUGH | Daily Evergreen file

Junior swimmer Jasmine Margettes finishes first place in the butterfly competition Oct. 14 at Gibb Pool against No. 24 Arizona.

JACOB MOORE, Former Evergreen sports editor

WSU swimming (2-1, 0-1) will compete against a couple California teams, beginning with No. 4 University of Southern California (2-0) tonight. WSU will stay in Southern California through the weekend as the team prepares for University of California, Los Angeles (1-1) on Saturday.

Cougar Head Coach Tom Jager saw his team win their first two meets of the season in California at the end of September. However, WSU has scored less points in each succeeding meet thus far.

Most recently, the team held the first-ever Cougar Alumni Exhibition. Before that they lost in a Pac-12 matchup against a ranked Arizona team. WSU barely notched triple-digits in points with 101 in the loss to the Wildcats.

Still, Jager was not disappointed in the results.

“Very proud these athletes came in and fought,” he said after the loss. “I believe that when this team is on the same page, we are formidable in this conference and I’m proud of them.”

Unlike the Cougars, USC has yet to lose this season. However, the Trojans were not scheduled to swim against a conference opponent until tonight.

“They battled in every race, and struck gold in a lot of events,” USC Head Coach Dave Salo said after his team’s most recent victory. “It’s a great start to the season, learning to win against tough competition.”

Trojan swimmers will look to continue their undefeated start as they’re currently one of the most highly-regarded teams in terms of national rankings.

In fact, USC swimming historically is a winning program. The team has not posted an overall losing record since the 2004-2005 season.

WSU has yet to win against the Trojans in six meetings, but the Cougars are familiar with breaking streaks. They notched their first program win in 12 meetings last year against UCLA. A victory over the Bruins on Saturday would make it two in a row.

Head Coach Cyndi Gallagher is in her 30th season with the Bruins, and is one of the few coaches to lead her alma mater. In nine of her previous 29 years, the Bruins finished as one of the top-10 nationally-ranked teams.

UCLA is hosting its annual Pink meet, which University of California, Davis; Arkansas; WSU and the Bruins will participate in. Andrew Sinatra, UCLA assistant director of athletic communications, said the meet is pink-themed.

“It is the program’s way of recognizing those who have fought, continue to fight and will fight breast cancer,” Sinatra said. “Just a positive day that is about a lot more than just swimming and diving.”

All proceeds from the $5 admission benefits the Iris Cantor-UCLA Women’s Health Center, he said, which provides programs that encourage women’s health.

Cougar swimming gets under way against UCLA at 11 a.m. Saturday, but they will first take on the Trojans. That meet is scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. today in Los Angeles.