Swimmers Look For 13 Straight At Cal State East Bay

The San Jose State University women’s swimming and diving team heads to Hayward, Calif., on Friday, January 16, for a straight dual meet against the host Pioneers of Cal State East Bay. The first of 11 swimming events is now slated to start at 12:00 p.m. The earlier announced start time of the meet was 3:00 p.m. The Spartans will take two vans to Hayward , departing San Jose early Friday morning, and returning to campus immediately after the meet.

The dual meet with Cal State East Bay will follow a 13-event format, but will consist of just 11 swimming events, with the one-meter and three-meter diving omitted because the Pioneers do not have a diving program. The order of events will be as follows: 200 medley relay, 1000 free, 200 free, 50 free, 200 IM, 100 fly, 100 free, 100 back, 500 free, 100 breast and 200 free relay. Scoring will be the usual 9-4-3-2-1 for individual events and 11-4-2 for relays.

San Jose State has compiled an impressive dual record of 12-1, having reeled off 12 straight victories since a season-opening loss at No. 2 Stanford on October 3. Cal State East Bay enters Friday’s meet at 1-2. This will mark the second straight year under head coach Sage Hopkins, that the Spartans have met the Pioneers in a dual meet. San Jose State topped the Pioneers at home on Senior Day last season, 119-98, on January 26, 2008.

Following Friday’s meet, the Spartans will round out the regular season with three straight Saturday duals inside their home facility on campus, The Aquatics Center. That final stretch ahead of the 2009 WAC Championship in San Antonio, Texas, in late February, starts with a second meeting this season with the Runners of Cal State Bakersfield, on January 24, at 1:00 p.m.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 16, 12:00 P.M.

San Jose State defeated Cal State East Bay, formerly Cal State Hayward, at home last January 26, 119-98. Prior to that meeting, the teams had not faced off in dual competition since Sage Hopkins took charge of the Spartan program for the 2005-06 campaign, and not in at least six seasons. The Pioneer swimmers currently compete in the NAIA and the Pacific Collegiate Swimming Conference as a non-scholarship program. They placed 19th at the 2008 NAIA Championships in San Antonio, Texas, February 27-March 1. CSUEB will begin competition in the NCAA Division II in 2009-10.

The Pioneers finished fourth in the Cal Lutheran Winter Invitational on January 3. Melissa Grottkau finished eighth in the 100 breast (1:18.60) and 200 breast (2:46.98). Sami Hernandez placed ninth in the 200 free (2:06.70), while Mattie Pinon finished 10th in the 200 back with a time of 2:32.57. Allison Edminster clocked a time of 5:50.94 to finish in eighth place. The Pioneers lost a dual meet at San Diego State, 105-80, on December 31. Sami Hernandez won the 100 IM in 1:09.49, and finished second in the 50 fly with a time of 31.05. Jillian Lothian recorded a time of 26.16 to capture the 50 free. The Pioneers were seventh at the Northwest Invitational, November 21-22. Lothian finished third in the 50 free in 25.44, and clocked a 58.07 for sixth in the 100 free. Christine Gee placed fifth in the 100 fly (1:05.83) and sixth in the 200 back (2:23.97). Grottkau was seventh in the 100 breast (1:13.88). Hernandez recorded a time of 2:08.28 for sixth in the 200 free, and was eighth in the 200 IM (2:25.76). Edminster went 5:44 for 10th in the 500 free.

Cal State East Bay’s lone dual victory this season came in its season opener at home over Mills College, 169-88, on October 25. In addition to the loss at San Diego State, the Pioneers fell at home to Fresno Pacific, 103-81, on November 14. Friday’s meet will mark their home finale.

Anthony Garcia is the long-time Cal State East Bay head coach. He swam at CSUEB from 1978-82, and began coaching at his alma mater in 1987.

“The meet in Davis was a lot of fun. It was a very competitive meet from start to finish. Davis definitely showed up ready to race. We had multiple standout performers in the meet. The whole team really stepped up. It was great to get that first victory over Davis in my time here.”

San Jose State knocked off host UC Davis, 170-129, and cruised past conference rival Fresno State, 240-57, in a double dual meet at UCD’s Schaal Aquatics Center on Saturday, January 10.

The Spartans’ win over UC Davis was their first in four tries under fourth-year head coach Sage Hopkins, and the first against the Aggies for any of the 25 swimmers and divers on this year’s roster. San Jose State had last defeated UC Davis, 175-124, at home on October 16, 2004, back during the 2004-05 season, just ahead of Hopkins’ arrival at the helm. Spartan swimmers and divers won all 16 events against Fresno State, and 10 of 16 against UC Davis, ranked No. 16 in the latest CSCAA/CollegeSwimming.com Mid-Major poll.

Heather Denman was perfect once again, defeating both opponents in all three of her individual events, timing 2:03.95 in the 200 fly, 2:08.72 in the 200 back and 57.34 in the 100 fly. Amy Friedhoff swept the distance freestyle events, swimming 10:33.40 in the 1000 before turning in a time of 5:08.44 later in the 500.

A third multiple individual event winner was Lauren Mar. Mar took the 100 back in 56.87 and the 100 free in 52.09. Her 100 back time was just .40 seconds off her career best.

Other winners included Meghan McCurley against both opponents in the 50 free (24.16), and Julia Koch (200 free, 1:58.03) and Kirsten Trammell (200 IM, 2:12.28) against Fresno State. Caitlin Macky swept the breaststroke events over the Bulldogs, timing 1:06.25 in the 100 and 2:23.50 in the 200.

The Spartans dominated in diving. Jessica Holden won the three-meter springboard competition with a score of 252.90 points, while Jo Thibodaux was tops from one meter with 252.40 points. Thibodaux had the second-highest score on the three-meter board (234.30), with Holden second on the one-meter (223.00).

San Jose State finished second behind UC Davis but defeated Fresno State in both relay events, the 200 medley (1:47.28) to start the day’s festivities, as well as the 400 free (3:32.61). The 200 medley relay was a particularly close race, with the Spartan foursome of Mar, Trammell, Denman and McCurley narrowly getting edged out by the Aggies (1:47.23). The A’ 400 free foursome which was also out-touched by UCD by the narrowest of margins, .08 seconds, consisted of Mar, McCurley, Friedhoff and Daphne Yeung.

The meet against UC Davis went back and forth early, with the teams trading wins over the first four individual events, after UCD’s opening relay triumph. Starting with Denman in the 200 fly, and continuing with McCurley (50 free), Mar (100 free) and Denman again in the 200 back, the Spartans took four straight events to grab a lead they did not relinquish.

Another year of program firsts under fourth-year head coach Sage Hopkins continues for the Spartans. So far in this 2008-09 campaign, San Jose State has produced its first dual meet victories since Hopkins took charge, over both two-time defending Western Athletic Conference champion Nevada (10/11), as well as non-conference area rival UC Davis (1/10).

The Spartans also posted a program-best runner-up finish at the UC Irvine/Nike Cup, a top fall-season meet held annually in Long Beach, Calif.

San Jose State freshman swimmer Heather Denman has put together an incredible streak of 23 straight individual victories in dual meets. She most recently went a perfect 6-0 during the double dual meet in Davis, Calif., on Saturday, January 10, winning all three of the individual events she was entered in, against both host UC Davis and Fresno State.

The last time that Denman was beaten in an individual event during a dual meet, was by Nevada senior Courtney Eads in the 200 butterfly on the second day of the inaugural Western Athletic Conference Shootout in Las Cruces, N.M., on October 11. She was edged out by .60 seconds. Denman has a total of 25 individual dual meet triumphs on the season.

San Jose State swimmers have the top marks in the Western Athletic Conference in 10 of 14 individual events through January 14. Heather Denman is the fastest in the WAC in the 100 fly, 200 fly, 100 back and 200 back, while fellow freshman Amy Friedhoff has the league’s top marks in the 500, 1000 and 1650 free. Meghan McCurley (50 free), Lauren Mar (100 free) and Julia Koch (200 free) are the remaining Spartans who pace the WAC in their respective specialties.

San Jose State also has the top 400 free relay in the WAC (3:26.86), and has the second-fastest foursomes in the other four relay events contested at the conference championship.

Heather Denman and Jo Thibodaux were named the Western Athletic Conference Swimmer and Diver of the Week, respectively, for the week of January 5-11.

This was the fourth weekly conference honor this season and in the careers of both Denman and Thibodaux. Thibodaux was last honored the week before. This was also the third time this season, and the second straight week, that San Jose State swept the two awards.

Denman took first-place in three individual events against both UC Davis and Fresno State, timing 2:03.95 in the 200 butterfly, 2:08.72 in the 200 backstroke and 57.34 in the 100 fly. She also swam the 50-yard butterfly third leg of the 200 medley relay to begin the meet, which topped Fresno State but narrowly lost to UC Davis by a mere .05 seconds, 1:47.28 to 1:47.23.

Thibodaux won the one-meter springboard competition with a score of 252.40 points , and posted the second-best score behind teammate Jessica Holden from three meters (234.30).