The Bruins traveled across town this weekend for a meeting with the Trojans.
No. 25 UCLA swim and dive (8-3, 4-3 Pac-12), however, was bested by its hometown rival No. 15 USC (7-2, 5-2), losing 181-117.
“We absolutely had some fantastic swims this weekend,” said coach Cyndi Gallagher. “Those swims came from a place of heart, not rest.”
Senior Sandra Soe earned two wins in her distance events, competing for only the second time this season in the mile.
“Since I swam it in December, training has been really tough and good,” Soe said. “So having those good training partners is key.”
Soe was close to beating UCLA’s school record with a time of 16 minutes, 2.88 seconds. Her time qualified her for an NCAA B Cut and was less than three seconds off the school standard.
Soe noted that while the team had some of its best times this season, she also knows there is still work to be done before the Pac-12 championships.
“We need to keep our momentum and rest a little bit this week,” Soe said. “We need to make sure we are focusing on the little details before the championship.”
Freshman Claire Grover was UCLA’s top finisher in the 100-yard breaststroke, falling just behind USC’s Riley Scott.
“When we do certain exercises, I think about how this will affect my kick and pulldown,” Grover said. “I do a lot of thinking before practicing.”
Grover said winning the last relay gave the team momentum going into the Pac-12 championships.
“Because of that meet, we feel really amped up for the championships,” Grover said.
Junior Amy Okada also beat her previous season-best time in the 200 butterfly by about three seconds.
Senior diver Eloise Belanger had a strong outing against the Trojans, winning both the 1-meter and the 3-meter.
Belanger’s score in the 3-meter topped that of USC’s Madison Witt by a 46.80 margin, beating her 346.80 to 300.00.
For Belanger, the 1-meter championship was a bit closer. Belanger and her opponent, Naomi Gowlett, went into their final dive only separated by less than a point.
For both the Trojans and Bruins, the swimming teams only competed Friday, whereas the diving teams competed on both Friday and Saturday.
This was both teams’ last dual meet before the Pac-12 championships.
“For the championships, it’s all a mental game,” Gallagher said. “We’re focusing on the details and our team because we know the best is yet to come.”
UCLA will travel to Federal Way, Washington, on Feb. 27 to compete in the Pac-12 championships at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center.