UCLA seemed to dominate the first few events in their home pool, with wins in the 200 medley relay, 1000 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 200 butterfly, and 50 freestyle in the first half of the meet.
After the break, the Sun Devil swimmers saw an opportunity against a weak breaststroke team and seized it. After junior Chloe Isleta won her second event of the day in the 100 backstroke, a quick 1-2-3 punch followed as sophomore Nora Deleske finished in 2:17.83. Not far behind were senior Marlies Ross in 2:17.93 and junior Silja Kansakoski in 2:18.73. The momentum followed in the 200 individual medley, as Chloe Isleta won her third individual event of the day.
Finishing second and third were Marlies Ross and Nora Deleske. However, the comeback was cut short in the closing 200 freestyle relay as UCLA picked up a win in the event, securing the meet. With a final score of 160-140, the loss marks the end of a weekend trip to Los Angeles for the Sun Devils, and another scoreline that doesn’t tell the full tale of the tape.
Chloe Isleta swam the 100 backstroke in 54.72 against USC, and dropped nearly a third of a second against UCLA Saturday morning, as she touched the wall in 54.40. She was not the only Devil with solid improvements, as Silja Kansakoski dropped her 200 breastroke time by a full second between this weekend’s meets.
Whenever the Devils moved up, the Bruins seemed to be right behind them, largely due to their depth as a team. When sophomore Erica Laning pulled ahead to win the 200 freestyle, UCLA junior Kenisha Liu and freshman Delaney Smith finished behind her. In the following event, Chloe Isleta won the 100 backstroke, although the Bruins cancelled out her winning points with a 2-3-4 finish from senior Emma Schanz, freshman Mara Newman, and sophomore Jennifer Lathrop. The same result occurred in Isleta’s win in the 200 backstroke.
There’s a second part of the name to swim teams everywhere often neglected: diving. ASU’s divers will prove to be the x-factor in several close meets, just as they kept ASU in this meet while competing against redshirt senior Maria Polyakova. Sophomores Ashley McCool and Frida Kaellgren scored points for the Devils in second and third place. Polyakova, on the other hand, won the three-meter event with a score of 339.75, a season best for her.
Looking forward, divers from top competitors such as Cal (January 25thin Tempe), Stanford (January 26thin Tempe), and U of A (February 9thin Tucson) are no match for the Sun Devil Diving crew, as they outscore divers from those programs in dual meets this season. They’ll have the opportunity to showcase their standouts at the Texas Diving Invitation in Austin from November 14th to the 16th.
The women from Tempe will almost certainly be counted out by many after this 1-3 (1-2 in PAC-12) start, but they are wrong in doing so. As the latter half of the season approaches for the Devils, this is a team that will certainly turn heads with substantial improvements all around. As the divers head to Austin in two weeks, the teams will travel to Bloomington, Indiana on November 15th for the prestigious Indiana Invitational.