The BYU swim team competes in the Arena Invitational in Long Beach. UC San Diego will host the invitational at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool, and the competition will be fierce.
Nine men’s teams will compete in the event, including Air Force, Arizona State, Cal Poly, Cal State Bakersfield, Hawaii, Stanford, UC Santa Barbara and UC San Diego. Air Force will not be competing in the women’s races; however, the other eight teams, along with California, LMU, Pepperdine, San Jose State and UCLA will be racing against the BYU women’s team.
For the first time this season the BYU divers will not be joining the swimmers. Instead they will compete in the Wildcat Diving Invitational Friday and Saturday. The University of Arizona will host the event at the Hillebrand Aquatic Center, where over 70 divers will compete.
On the men’s swim team, Preston Jenkins hopes to qualify for the NCAA championship during this invitational. He has an impressive streak of five first-place wins, having won the 200 back recently at UNLV along with two first-place finishes in both the Hawaii meet and Pacific Invitational. Hayden Palmer is expected to be a strong performer as well after finishing first three times so far this season.
For the women’s team, Hailey Campbell and Kimberly Welch Doroghian also hope to qualify for the NCAAs, leading with two first-place finishes each so far.
“We will be swimming against some fast teams and some of the best swimmers in the country,” Head Coach John Brooks said in a press release. “It will be a great experience for us.”
This invitational will be the largest competition for the Cougars until the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championships in February and after losses to UNLV, Cal and Hawaii, Brooks looks forward to a different style of meet.
“We are excited that the format will be championship style with finals and a little rest in between races,” Brooks said.
Brooks has also let the team rest more in preparation for the invitational.
Senior Kassandra Bispo, who placed first in the women’s 100 breast in the last meet at UNLV, said she thinks the team will swim better as a result of this week’s rest.
“Normally going into our dual meets we’ve all been tired and really broken down,” Bispo said. “But we’re doing a little bit of rest, and now it’s time to perform and show those teams that we are a winning team even though we haven’t performed as well as we wanted to this season. We want to be able to compete and show those other teams that we are going to be in the running for the conference championship.”
The team comes into the event having five swimmers with top times in the MPSF conference.
Captain Garret Beaman has a MPSF top time with teammates Brady Wells, Payton Sorenson and Brent Murray for the 200 free relay and said the team is looking forward to the competition.
“We feel good, we’ve been working hard this season, and we’re kind of rested a little bit for this meet,” Beaman said. “We’ll see where we are and start training and just see what we need to tweak for conference. We’re excited to see some fast swimming.”
Beaman said this will be one of the fastest meets of the season; however, the team is keeping the bigger picture in mind and focusing on the conference championships and NCAA championship.
The racing begins at 9 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, and results can be found on the schedule page at byucougars.com.