By Melody Chu
It was easy to tell the UC Santa Cruz swimmers apart from the visiting team; the Slugs are the ones with the nice tans.Swimmers from the University of Washington in Seattle got a rare treat of late October California weather as temperatures soared into the 80s during last weekend’s swim meet."We love the sun," Washington swimmer Rachael Meagher said as she basked in the rays during the second day of the meet. "It’s nippy and chilly in Seattle."Perhaps the improved swimming conditions-the Washington swimmers use an indoor pool-gave the visiting team a slight advantage over UCSC, as Seattle edged out the Slugs 125-114."They are a top 10 DII team," UCSC swim coach Kim Munsch said. "Anytime you go up against a team with scholarship swimmers and it comes down to the last few events, that’s a good showing."The Slugs’ priorities put the team at a bit of a disadvantage, as many of the team’s players missed the meet in order to attend class."That is our philosophy, that school comes first," Kim Munsch said. According to Erin Hunter, the Slugs will need to miss several days of class in order to compete in November’s Speedo Cup, so it was important to get class time in now, while the season is still in its early stages. Meagher, from Washington, agreed that the competition in the women’s events increased significantly on Saturday, when all of the swimmers were in attendance. "At our school, athletes and professors are on the same page," Meagher said. "I guess it’s just a difference in perspectives."Despite coming up just short, UCSC had a number of notable finishes in individual events, including Ben Ferguson, who won the 50-meter freestyle, and junior Erin Hunter, who set two personal records and won the individual medley. Hunter made the NCAA cuts in the 200M breaststroke, falling just short in the 100M and 400M events.Washington arrived without its diving team, so Slug diver Adam Gutierrez was able to contribute points to UCSC with season-high scores in his 1 and 3-meter dives.The Slugs have been training hard to get in top shape, spending nearly 20 hours a week in the pool."We have eight practices a week," team captain Emad Zadeh said. "It’s something we all enjoy doing."Zadeh added, "It dries your skin out, but we take showers and put on lotion."And at least they have nice tans.