GCU swimmers have good argument for being nation’s #1

If you knock off No. 1, shouldn’t you be the new No. 1?

That’s the question the Grand Canyon University men’s swim team has to be asking after beating the country’s top-ranked University of California San Diego squad last week in one of the top dual meets in Division II this season.

“We accomplished pretty much everything we set out to do in this meet,” said GCU head coach, Steve Schaffer, after a convincing 146-116 win in San Diego.  “It was a great way to start the second half of the season.”

The CSCAA Coaches poll hasn’t been updated since before Christmas, so the Antelopes will have to wait to see whether they climb over No. 2 Drury University (Missouri) into the top spot.  Drury, which dropped from No. 1 in the last rankings, doesn’t swim again until Jan. 19 when they take on Missouri State.

GCU has been steadily working their way up the men’s rankings, moving from No. 5 to No. 3 in the last poll.

And coincidentally, the same scenario can be found on the women’s side of the rankings, with UCSD at No. 1 and GCU ranked No. 3.  However, that isn’t likely to improve since UCSD beat the ‘Lopes, 159-103, in that same meet last weekend.

While a win was the ultimate objective, the GCU women did accomplish one of its goals against UCSD.  After scoring just 87 points last year against the Tritons, the ‘Lopes had set a meet goal of 100 points.  Mission accomplished.

A local athlete gave the women a big boost, as Mychala Lynch, a senior from Xavier Prep in Phoenix, won both the 100 fly (56.20) and the 50 free (24.29).  She has recorded the fastest time in D-II competition in the 100 fly this season.

Ihna Kotsur was also a multiple winner, finishing first in the 500 free (5:04.15) and the 1000 free (10:27.97), and Stacey Wymer added a win in the 100 back (59.54).

It was a couple of in-state prep standouts that also lifted the men’s team to their victory over UCSD.  Buddy Turner, a junior from Horizon High School in Scottsdale, racked up four wins on the day and teammate Kyle Shores, a junior from Brophy Prep in Phoenix added three more.

Turner won the 50 free (20.65) and the 100 fly (49.57) and then helped the 400 medley and 200 free relays to first-place finishes.  Shores took the 100 free (46.32) and 100 back (50.49) and swam a leg of the winning 200 free relay.

“Polls are nice,” Coach Schaffer said when his teams moved up to No. 3 last month, “but what we are really focusing on is where we end up at the NCAA Championships.  “I think our men are one of about four or five teams that have a shot at winning the D-II championship and I think it would be fantastic for our women to move up from 10th last year to placing in the top four and bringing home a trophy.”

It will be interesting to see what Schaffer thinks about polls after the next update.

(Photo: GCU Athletics)