As the final seconds clicked down on the scoreboard, chants of “We’re number one” filled the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in Long Beach, Calif. With a final score of 11 to 3, UCSB men’s water polo defeated UCLA to capture the Gaucho’s first NCAA title.
The atmosphere was reminiscent of UCSB home games. Fans would rally in the stands, cheering on their blue and gold to domination in the pool. Opposing teams were always in for a tough time when visiting Santa Barbara for a game. Gaucho crowds knew how to motivate out of the pool.
John Dobrott remembered, “This place would be packed for our home games. It would just be so loud.”
Leading the Gauchos in the NCAA Championship game, Greg Boyer scored five times and earned Most Valuable Player title for the tournament. UCSB played their hearts out and five players became part of the All-Tournament Teams. On the First Team were Craig Wilson, Greg Boyer, and John Dobrott. The Second Team included Dave Phillips and Steve Mitchell.
Winning the first NCAA championship was not the only record the men’s water polo team set for UCSB. They still hold the highest winning percentage (.903 with a 28-2-1 record), most goals scored (366), and the second-longest winning streak (12), broken 40 years later by the 2019 team.