What does it mean to be a gaucho? The alumni and freshmen alike can attest to the incredible opportunity we have as swimmers to swim under the legacy of coach Gregg Wilson. Gregg has shaped and created the family atmosphere our program is known for. Having a coed team means as a freshman you come in with about 30 new brothers and 30 sisters. Like any family we have our quirks and perks. We have unique cheers unlike any other team, crazy traditions and a ‘vintage’ pool. The term ‘we gaucho back’ became a reality at the 2015 Alumni & Intersquad meet. Former Gauchos traveled from far and wide to celebrate the legacy of the UCSB Swim & Dive program. Like any other year, the freshmen didn’t stand a chance against the ‘speedy’ alumni- who won possibly every event with their quick relay starts, but who’s keeping score anyway? Coach Joe Plume himself jumped in for a few races and showed the team he can still hold his own. The amount of support current gauchos receive from alumni is simply incredible. If you are a former gaucho and reading this- thank you for being a part of creating a culture of pride, power and love over Gregg Wilson’s 40 years. We are eager to watch how far the program will go under the potential of Matt Macedo in upcoming years. One thing will remain: once a gaucho, always a gaucho.
The final day of training camp. Our bodies tired, faces tan, appetite large, hair bleached dead and our gaucho 2015-16 swim family complete. We welcomed the rookies to Tropicana Del Norte 4 weeks ago- moving boxes full and eyes wide with excitement.
Captains practices complete with cardboard boat races transitioned into two full weeks of spin class, weight lifting, sunny swim practices and team bonding activities. We climbed a mountain together (seriously- an 8 mile hike uphill to honor the life of gaucho Nick Johnson). Freshmen are getting better every day at changing lane lines and seniors swam their final NES (Never Ending Swim aka National Event Series). We swam in the ocean, we played in the sand. Body surfing and beach flags might become NCAA sports thanks to our beach day at campus point. We bid farewell to our beloved team trailer that almost collapsed on us in our last team meeting. We’ve had a beach bonfire under the stars and taught the rookies our favorite word, “STALLION” (ask a gaucho swimmer if you do not understand).
As a sentimental senior I’d like to say thank you to the swimmers that have come before me and the many more that will follow behind. I gain more insight and understanding of what it means to be a gaucho with each training camp that passes… We are a part of something greater. We are living out a legacy. Campus pool is our home. As coach Gregg Wilson enters his 40th year coaching at UCSB I realize the impact he has had in creating the culture and cohesion of this team. The coaches care more about who we are not just what we do. We are not just teammates, we are a gaucho family!
Written with a full heart and goggle tan,
T’was a beautiful day in Isla Vista. Well, every day is a beautiful day in Isla Vista. We all roll out of bed in synchronized fashion (6:30 on the dot, except for maybe Tyler and Ren…) and bike through the barren streets of Del Playa, Trigo, El Nido, and the Tropicana Parking lot. The crisp morning air wakes us up and reminds us what it really means to be a Gaucho: early morning training camp practices and Gregg’s constant reminder of “finding a way”. Our beloved trainer Marianne welcomes us with a smile, a joke and a circuit. We top our mornings off with a 4 mile campus run (or for the non-runners, Gregg’s rowing special) and a loud Gaucho team cheer.
(Our team Cheer)
Aside from getting our butts kicked in the pool by Gregg and the new coaching additions Matt and Joe, the Gaucho Greats have been relatively inactive. Some “relaxing” activities have included beach day with a couple of sharks (don’t worry, they weren’t dangerous), an ocean swim from Campus Point to Goleta Pier, potluck dinners, ultimate frisbee, bowling, a trip to Lizard’s Mouth (a beautiful view of the sun setting over Santa Barbara), a bonfire with s’mores.
Tonight’s potluck dinner prepares the hungry swimmers for a weekend of racing with some old farts (otherwise known as Former All-time Gaucho Greats). As the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean, the Brandenburg house acts as a perfect location for ending a hard day’s work as a Gaucho…until the next 6:30am alarm.
Lizard’s Mouth Hike with the women’s team!
Just having some fun in the beautiful place of Santa Barbara! (September 2014)