Jan. 25, 2011
BERKELEY - Fourth-ranked California welcomes No. 3 USC and No. 21 UCLA this week at Spieker Aquatics Complex. The Golden Bears have a 4-1 record (2-0 in the Pac-10 Conference) heading into the 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28, dual meet against USC (8-0, 3-0 Pac-10). They battle the Bruins (9-1, 3-1 Pac-10) at noon on Saturday, Jan. 29. Cal split with the L.A. schools last year in Southern California, falling to the Trojans, 153-147, and defeating UCLA, 167-128.
Cal head coach Teri McKeever and assistant coach Kristen Cunnane will face both of their alma maters this week. McKeever starred for the Trojans in the 1980s, while Cunnane, under her maiden name of Kristen Lewis, etched her name in the UCLA record books earlier this decade. Saturday's meet will also feature the first time junior Emily Bibb, who transferred to Cal from UCLA, will swim against her old team.
Cal ranks just behind No. 3 USC at No. 4 in the Jan. 26 TYR/CSCAA Division I Swimming & Diving Team Poll. The Pac-10 has six teams, including No. 1 Stanford, No. 7 Arizona and Arizona State, which is tied at No. 25, ranked in the poll.
Scouting the Golden Bears
Cal has several Bears ranked among the fastest 25 swimmers in the nation in several events, with sophomore Caitlin Leverenz leading the country in the 200-yard breaststroke with an automatic NCAA A qualifying time of 2:06.55. She also ranks second in the 200-yard individual medley with an NCAA B consideration time of 1:56.25, third in the 400 IM (school-record 4:05.04, NCAA B), fifth in the 200 butterfly (1:55.48, NCAA B) and 12th in the 100 breaststroke (1:00.35, NCAA B).
Senior Amanda Sims, the 2009 NCAA champion in the 100 fly, currently ranks third in the 100 fly (52.40, NCAA B) and 10th in the 200 fly (1:56.39, NCAA B). Fellow senior Hannah Wilson is fifth in the 100 fly (52.72, NCAA B), 6th in the 100 freestyle (48.68, NCAA B), 20th in the 200 free (1:46.31, NCAA B) and 21st in the 50 free (22.66).
Junior Liv Jensen, the 2010 NCAA champ in the 50 free, ranks 12th and holds Cal's top time (22.45, NCAA B) in the sprint. Two freshmen - Cindy Tran (4th, 52.90, NCAA B) and Deborah Roth (10th, 53.20, NCAA B) - reside in the top 10 in the 100 backstroke. Roth also stands at No. 16 in the 200 back (1:55.48, NCAA B).
Cal stands in the top 10 in all five relays: second in the 400-yard free relay (3:14.50, NCAA A), fourth in the 800-free relay (7:09.14, NCAA B) and 200-medley relay (1:36.79, NCAA A), fifth in the 400-medley relay (3:34.87, NCAA B) and sixth in the 200-free relay (1:29.60, NCAA B).
Scouting the Opposition
The unbeaten USC Trojans feature a strong lineup led by Hungarian Olympian Katinka Hosszu, the Pac-10 Swimmer of the Month for December. The holds the nation's top times in the 200 fly (1:51.02, NCAA A), 200 IM (1:53.47, NCAA A) and 400 IM (4:00.03, NCAA A).
USC senior Lindsay De Paul ranks first in the country in the 100 fly (51.46, NCAA A) and sophomore Haley Anderson, the 2010 Pac-10 champ in the 1650 free, is tops in the 1650 free (15:48.64, NCAA A). USC leads the nation with the fastest 400-medley relay (3:32.20, NCAA A). Junior diver Victoria Ishimatsu is the defending conference champ in the one- and three-meter springboards.
Dave Salo is in his fifth year as head coach at USC.
UCLA competes at top-ranked Stanford on Friday before heading to Berkeley on Saturday. The Bruins' talented roster includes junior Bianca Casciari, who finished seventh in the 200 fly at the 2010 NCAA Championships, Brittany Beauchan, who placed ninth in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes at 2010 NCAAs, and Karina Silva, December's Pac-10 Diver of the Month.
UCLA's Cyndi Gallagher is in her 22nd year as head coach of her alma mater.
Last Time Out
Cal beat Arizona State, 182-117, on Jan. 21 in Tempe, Ariz., and topped No. 7 Arizona, 165-134.5, on Jan. 22 in Tucson, Ariz. In the meet vs. the Sun Devils, Caitlin Leverenz won the 200 fly (1:59.31, NCAA B), 200 breast (2:11.90, NCAA B) and 400 IM (4:15.45). Freshman Cindy Tran captured both backstroke events against the Sun Devils, claiming the 100 in an NCAA B time of 54.58 and the 200 in an NCAA B time of 1:58.36. Leverenz, who hails from Tucson, also starred in Cal's victory over the Wildcats. She was part of the victorious 200-medley relay (1:39.39, NCAA B) and won three individual events: 100 breaststroke (1:01.82, NCAA B), 200 breaststroke (2:12.46, NCAA B) and 200 IM (2:00.21, NCAA B). Junior Liv Jensen also swam on the winning 200-medley relay and triumphed in the 50 (22.54, NCAA B) and 100 (49.49, NCAA B) frees.
Cal senior diver Laura Sanford is writing a blog for CalBears.com over the rest of the season. Called "Falling Gracefully," Sanford's blog, which includes photos as well, is available at this link. Junior Emily Bibb blogged for CalBears.com during the Cal swimmers' Hawaii training trip from Jan. 5-14; you can read her blog, and view photos from the training trip, here.
Cal hosts rival and No. 1 Stanford at noon on Feb. 12 at Spieker Aquatics Complex to close out the dual-meet season.