Cal State Northridge swimming Coach Barry Schreifels is optimistic as his team heads into this week’s Pacific Collegiate Swimming Conference championships at Belmont Plaza in Long Beach, but he’s also realistic.
“We’ve always had individuals that finish highly but we haven’t quite pushed over the hump for a team championship,” he said. “That’s our goal, but I’m not sure if we are going to make it.”
The Matador women’s team finished fourth and the men finished third last year, and Schreifels said third or fourth is realistic again for both teams this year.
The meet began with some diving events Wednesday night, but the first full day of competition begins at 9:30 a.m. today, with the meet ending on Saturday.
The women lost their top four scorers from last year--diver Sara Cassady and swimmers Kim Piotro, Andrea Stevenson and Candy Olson--but Schreifels hopes a corps of young swimmers can carry the team, although the best hope for points is diver Becky Snyder.
Snyder, who is undefeated this season, has qualified for the Zone E meet, in which participants for the NCAA championships are determined. Snyder is probably the only one on either of Northridge’s teams with a realistic shot at the NCAAs, Schreifels said.
Northridge other top female swimmers are sophomore Julie White (50-, 100- and 200-meter freestyle), sophomore Rachel Arrow (100 and 200 butterfly and 400 individual medley) and senior Heather Burton (200 backstroke).
San Diego, Pepperdine and Northern Arizona are the top women’s teams in the 16-team field, Schreifels said.
The Northridge men are at a disadvantage with only nine swimmers and can’t swim in as many events as the top teams.
Northridge’s 200 medley relay team--senior Mike Cann, senior Jeff Conwell, senior Justin Davis and junior Chris Walden--is perhaps the team’s strongest unit, and will challenge the school record.
Cann (200 freestyle), Conwell (200 butterfly) and Justin Davis, whose event has not been determined, are the Matadors’ best hopes in individual events.
Cal State Bakersfield and UC San Diego are the best of the 10 men’s teams.