CBU swim and dive preps for first WAC championship event

Reagan Lee | Banner | Andrea Laliena, senior psychology major, swam for California Baptist University in the Jan. 5 tri-dual meet against Grand Canyon University and University of Wyoming.

The California Baptist University swimming and diving team will compete Feb. 27 to  March 2 at the Western Athletic Conference swim and dive meet in Houston, Texas.

Rick Rowland, head coach of swimming, is well aware that the meet will be challenging.

“On the men’s side it’s going to be a competitive meet between Grand Canyon (University), (University of) Wyoming, CBU and UNLV (University of Nevada, Las Vegas), who is coming in late; they just beat Grand Canyon in a dual meet,” Rowland said. “On the women’s side, I think we’re right there to be a top-four team; we already beat Grand Canyon and (California State University), Bakersfield.”

This conference championship is the last meet of the season for most of the swimmers.

“Our past meets were great but this upcoming one will be the best so far,” said Alina Jungklauss, sophomore physiology major. 

Jerome Heidrich, senior psychology major, said GCU will be the men’s team’s toughest opponent.

“(GCU) has a lot of fast swimmers,” Heidrich said. “Last year, they had no depth; now they do.”

CBU lost a dual meet against Wyoming earlier in the season, but Heidrich said he is not worried about Wyoming as an opponent.

“We did really badly during the (CBU versus Wyoming) competition,” Heidrich said. “If we did just the average we would beat them easily.”

Having beaten GCU and CSUB in dual meets, Rowland said the women’s team is a top-four contender.

“Our women’s team will bring a lot of energy to the meet,” Jungklauss said. “I’m very confident we will achieve at least top-three this year.”

During its first year in the WAC, after competing in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, the diving team will be competing in new events.

“This is the first year where they are going to compete on one-meter, three-meter and platform, so we’re super-excited to see how we’re going to do in our inaugural year in DI,” Rowland said.

Heidrich said the key to success would be for every swimmer to swim well at preliminaries.

“Really focusing on good swims in the morning (preliminaries) and making sure we fill most of the A (championship) finals,” Heidrich said.

After the WAC championship meet, some of the swimmers will compete March 14 to 16 at the College Swimming Coaches Association of America National Invitational Championships in Cleveland, Ohio.

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