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UCLA Finishes First at Fresno State Invite

Oct 8, 2022

FRESNO, Calif. – The UCLA swimming & diving team opened its 2022-23 campaign on a high note, taking first place in the seven-team Chick-Fil-A Invite on the campus of Fresno State.

The Bruins finished in first place by a fairly wide margin, totaling 962.83 points as a team compared to 794.33 for runner-up San Diego State. The field was rounded out in order by California (628.50), Washington State (423.50), Fresno State (396.33), Colorado State (379.00), and San Jose State (337.50).

UCLA captured four event wins over the two-day meet, and placed first or second in 17 of 21 events overall. Senior Claire Grover (50 free) and freshman Katrina Bellio (1650 free) each captured individual wins, and the Bruins added relay wins in the 400 medley and 400 free on Saturday.

Sophomore Zoe Jespersgaard led the Bruins on the diving end, placing second in both springboard events. She posted a score of 288.60 in 3-meter on Friday morning, then followed up with a 262.90 in 1-meter on Saturday.

Other strong individual performances came courtesy of senior Rachel Rhee (top-four in the 50 free, 100 free, 200 free), sophomore Ana Jih-Schiff (three top-five finishes), freshman Ashley Kolessar (runner-up in the 400 IM and 200 fly), and freshman Beril Bocekler (top-three in both distance freestyle events).

Friday's competition consisted of two sessions, and saw several highlights for the Bruins. UCLA finished runner-up in all three relay events, and also placed second in the team springboard diving competition.

Strong collective events for the Bruins on Friday included the 500 free, 50 free, and 100 breast.

The freshman duo of Bellio (4:53.76) and Bocekler (4:54.21) led the Bruins to a 2-3 finish in the 500 free, with both setting new SCY best times in their collegiate debuts.

Grover went 22.57 in the 50 free to capture UCLA's first event win of the weekend. She was one of just three swimmers to break the 23-second mark. Rhee (23.06, fourth) brought in an additional 15 points for the Bruins.

Sophomore Eva Carlson (1:02.19) and Jih-Schiff (1:02.27) finished 2-3 for UCLA in the 100 breast.

Saturday brought more success for UCLA, accounting for three of the team's event wins.

UCLA book-ended day two of the competition with wins in the 400 free relay (3:24.25) and 400 medley relay (3:44.09). The Bruins actually placed the top two relay squads in the latter event.

Bellio (16:58.87) and Bocekler (17:17.58) dominated the field in the 1650 free, accounting for UCLA's lone 1-2 individual finish of the weekend.

Another strong outing for the Bruins came in the 200 fly, with Kolessar (2:01.75) and junior Crystal Murphy (2:03.39) placing 2-3.

UCLA returns to action next weekend with the two-day Blue-Gold Intrasquad Meet, which starts at 2:30 p.m. PT on Friday, Oct. 14 at Spieker Aquatics Center.