Oct. 13, 2012
FRESNO, Calif. - California dominated the pool on Saturday at the Early Bird Invitational and captured the early season tune-up at the Fresno State Aquatics Center. The Golden Bears scored 505.5 points, with the host Bulldogs second (217) and San Jose State, which only competed on the first day of the two-day meet, was third (80.5).
"I'm proud of the girls and their performances," Cal head coach Teri McKeever said. "This was a challenging meet in that the girls swam many races, much of which were very close together. It was both mentally and physically challenging, and I am pleased with how we responded as a team."
The Bears won every Saturday event other than the three-meter springboard - none of Cal's divers competed in Fresno - and triumphed in 18 of 20 events overall, including four victories on Friday. The Bulldogs won both diving events, including Friday's one-meter springboard.
Cal won all three relays on Saturday and all five (including the 200-yard medley relay and 800-yard freestyle relay on Friday) over the two days. The A team of freshman Kelly Naze, junior Cindy Tran, sophomore Catherine Breed and freshman Rachel Bootsma swam a meet-record time of 1:35.78 to win the Saturday's opening 200-yard freestyle relay.
Three of those four Bears - Tran, Naze and Breed - joined senior Caitlin Leverenz to form the Cal B squad's victorious 400-yard medley relay (meet-record 3:45.90). Cal's B quartet of freshman Lauren Driscoll, sophomore Camille Cheng, junior Stephanie Au and freshman Elizabeth Pelton closed the meet by capturing the 400-freestyle relay with a meet- and pool-record time of 3:26.08.
Leverenz - the 2012 NCAA champion in the 200-yard individual medley and 200 breaststroke - won both breaststroke events on Saturday, clocking a meet- and pool-record time of 1:04.53 in the 100 and a meet- and pool-record time of 2:17.23 in the 200.
Cal veterans won a total of four individual races on Saturday. Tran - the two-time defending NCAA champ in the 100 backstroke - won her signature event in Fresno in a time of 56.19. Sophomore Taylor Nanfria posted a meet-record time of 17:19.60 to capture the 1650 free.
The talented freshmen class won six individual races for the Bears on Saturday. Pelton won the 200 free (meet- and pool-record time of 1:48.20) and the 200 back (meet- and pool-record time of 1:57.93). She would have won the 400 IM (meet-record 4:41.28) and 100 back (meet- and pool-record 54.06) as well, but swam those events as exhibitions (garnering no points for Cal). Driscoll (4:27.65) earned the win in the 400 IM.
Bootsma set a meet-record time of 56.61 to win the 100 butterfly; Rachael Acker - who took second in the 50 free on Friday - took first in the 100 free (meet- and pool-record 51.18); and Kelly Naze took home the 200 fly (2:03.90). Leverenz set a meet- and pool-record time of 2:00.99 in the 200 fly with her exhibition swim.
The Bears return to action when they compete in their dual-meet opener at BYU on Oct. 26 and in their Pac-12 Conference opener at Utah on Oct. 27.