March 5, 2010
The Pac-10 Championship was fantastic- easily the best conference meet I have been able to be a part of as a UCLA swimmer. As a senior prior to the meet, I felt confident that I knew what to expect. In swimming, the Pac-10 is easily the fastest conference and is incredibly deep, so it is always an honor to represent yourself and your team on that kind of stage. All of the teams in attendance combine to create a pressure-packed environment that is only enhanced by the setting at Belmont Pool in Long Beach. It is a pretty old facility, so all of the teams crowd on rattling bleachers around the competition pool, while the spectators fill the stands above. Before every race in finals, especially relays, the cheering would become so intense that no one could hear the officials call the swimmers to the blocks.
Our team came in ready to go and started things off right away the very first night. I thought maybe the school record in the 800 free relay on Wednesday night would be a highlight of the meet, but records continued to drop constantly over the next three days. My favorite night of the meet was easily Friday night, where in the warm-down pool following my race, I continued to watch my teammates step up one by one and swim amazing races, each one building off of the next. It was the best feeling to gather with my teammates after warm-down and congratulate each other and then run back up behind the blocks to cheer for the next Bruin. I don¡¦t think I¡¦m ever going to forget Andrea Riegel¡¦s face after her 100 back swim! :)
One of the things we talked about with former Bruin Brian Goodell before the meet was being able to be focused during competition, but relaxed outside of the pool- so every night I would always look forward to our dinners at the hotel, where we would eat, tell stories, laugh, and joke around as a team before going back to our rooms to get ready for the next session. Each night before bed, I loved winding down with my roomie Rachel Godfred, eating snacks from our goodie bags and watching the Winter Olympics.
Overall I was very proud of the team and everyone¡¦s accomplishments at the meet. We weren¡¦t perfect, but we were close. Now that NCAAs is fast approaching, we are busy preparing so that Halls, Britt, Sam, Bee, Yaya, and Laurence (we don¡¦t have a nickname for her yetfº )** will be able to swim out of their minds with all of our Bruin Pride and represent UCLA well.
**Hall-Lauren Hall, Britt-Brittany Beauchan, Sam-Sam Vanden Berge, Bee-Bianca Casciari, Yaya-Yasi Jahanshahi, Laurence-Laurence Delisle