MONTEREY PARK, Calif. - Freshman Solie Laughlin captured Mountain Pacific Sports Federation titles in the 400-yard individual medley and 100-yard backstroke, then led off a third championship in the 400-yard medley relay, helping to extend UC Davis’ team lead after Friday’s Day 3 action at the conference championships meet at East Los Angeles College.The Aggies finished the session in first place with 512 points. Hawai’i trails in second with 439 while UC Santa Barbara is close behind the Wahine in third at 418.5. Pacific (332.5), Brigham Young (321), San Diego (184) and Cal Poly (140) round out the remainder of the seven-team field.
Laughlin began the day with a 4:19.95 in the 400 IM prelims, then improved to a career-best 4:14.80 to win the championship final – just one-tenth off Heidi Kucera’s 2011 school record of 4:14.70 and nearly five seconds faster than the NCAA ‘B’ qualifying standard of 4:19.39. The Aggie rookie from Ventura added a winning 54.40 in the 100 back final, prevailing in a close finish with runner-up Cheyenne Low of UC Santa Barbara, who touched in 54.57. Laughlin led the prelim session at 54.12, good for another NCAA ‘B’ mark and putting her third in school history behind only Hilary Hunt (53.68, 2013-14) and Ashley Chandler (54.03, 2009-10).
The foursome of Laughlin, Hailey Ferko, Hilvy Cheung and Kirsten Brand ended the night with a winning 3:40.34 in the 400 medley relay. Laughlin opened with a 54.95 split in the backstroke not long after her 100 back victory, Ferko caught the Aggies to within a tenth of then-leader Pacific with her breaststroke, then Cheung swam a 52.64 split in the butterfly leg to give UC Davis the lead. Freestyler Brand anchored the event, making contact with the finish pad just five-hundreths of a second in front of the Tigers’ Vaiva Gimbutye for a thrilling finish.
In all, Laughlin ended the day with 40 individual points plus her share of the 40-point score in the relay victory.
Overall, UC Davis piled up points due to its depth in nearly Friday event. Eva Chung, another Aggie freshman, also advanced to the 400 IM final with Laughlin. She nabbed the eighth spot after her 4:27.29 in the morning session, then lopped almost a quarter of a second from that time with her sixth-place 4:27.06 in the evening. Seniors Cara Silvas and Lexy Troup added second swims to the consols to help the Aggies to a 38-point push in the long IM event.
In the 100 fly, Cheung first broke her own school record with a 53.18 prelim time to lead the morning field. She improved to a 52.73 in the final, good for second place in the event and well ahead of the NCAA ‘B’ cut of 54.49. Overall, the Aggies sent three to the championship heat: freshman Mia Facey improved from her 55.04 in the prelim to a 54.43 in the final for fifth place, while senior Brittany Rojo added eighth-place scoring with her 55.29. In all, the three finalists combined for another 42 points in the team race.
Likewise, UC Davis sent three swimmers – Ferko, junior Elise Roberts and freshman Iris Brand – to the 100 breaststroke final. Ferko finished fourth at 1:03.08, while Roberts and Brand placed sixth (1:03.28) and seventh (1:05.06), respectively. Freshman Kristin Schumann added her consols finish to provide 44 points in the championship’s 11th event.
Meanwhile, at Pasadena’s Rose Bowl Aquatics Center, UC Davis enjoyed a sizable scoring push from its depth in diving. Senior Lucy Lafranchise placed fourth on the three-meter board with a 283.35 total in the final, while Serena Yee placed seventh at 262.95. Meanwhile, the foursome of freshman Shaifali Goyal, senior Audrey DeNeffe, freshman Jessica Fernandez and sophomore Angelina Proshak swept the top four places in the consols. In all, the diving squad accounted for 54 team points on the high board.
Junior Kirsten Brand was the lone Aggie to advance in the 200 freestyle. She hit a personal-best 1:49.75 in the prelim to move on to the championship heat, then touched home in 1:50.34 for fifth place.
UC Davis looks to capture its fourth MPSF team title in six years as the meet concludes on Saturday. The final day features the 1,650 free, 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, 200 fly and the 400 free relay.
2016 MOUNTAIN PACIFIC SPORTS FEDERATION SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS, DAY 3
East Los Angeles College (Monterey Park, Calif.)/Rose Bowl Aquatic Center (Pasadena, Calif.)
Women’s finals only • Winners plus UC Davis competitors.
TEAM SCORES (through 14 events) - 1. UC Davis, 512; 2. Hawai’i, 439; 3. UC Santa Barbara, 418.5; 4. Pacific, 332.5; 5. Brigham Young, 321; 6. San Diego, 184; Cal Poly 140.
400 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY - 1. Solie Laughlin, UC Davis, 4:14.80 (4:19.95 prelim)... 6. Eva Chung, 4:27.06 (4:27.29 prelim); 13. Cara Silvas, 4:30.19 (4:33.34 prelim); 16. Lexy Troup, 4:31.24 (4:27.59 prelim).
100 BUTTERFLY - 1. Kenna Ramey, Pacific, 52.57... 2. Hilvy Cheung, 52.73 (53.18 prelim); 5. Mia Facey, 54.43 (55.04 prelim); 8. Brittany Rojo, 55.29 (55.01 prelim); 22. Sara Ramos, 57.24 (56.80 prelim).
100 BREASTSTROKE - 1. Anna Dahl, BYU, 1:01.34... 4. Hailey Ferko, 1:03.08 (1:03.07 prelim); 6. Elise Roberts, 1:03.28 (1:03.00 prelim); Iris Brand, 1:05.06 (1:03.92 prelim); 13. Kristin Schumann, 1:05.07 (1:04.86 prelim); 18. Courtney Schultz, 1:06.12 (1:05.90 prelim); Exh. Madeline Benavidez, 1:06.43.
3-METER DIVING - 1. Aimee Harrison, UH, 329.15... 4. Lucy Lafranchise, 283.35 (279.15 prelim); 7. Serena Yee, 262.95 (260.90 prelim); 9. Shaifali Goyal, 259.15; 10. Audrey DeNeffe, 257.25; 11. Jessica Fernandez, 250.20; 12. Angelina Proshak, 248.90.
400 MEDLEY RELAY - 1. UC Davis ‘A’ (Laughlin, Ferko, Cheung, Brand), 3:40.34.