Oct. 1, 2002
BEAR NOTES: Led by Sullivan Award finalist and world record holder Natalie Coughlin, the Cal women's swimming team opens the 2002-03 season at home with a meet against Pacific Friday, Oct. 4 at Spieker Aquatics Complex at noon. The Golden Bears return eight swimmers that reached All-America status. All-Americans include Coughlin, Danielle Becks, Michelle Harper and Staciana Stitts, while Micha Burden, Lauren Medina, Ashley Whitney and Kyoko Yokouchi earned honorable mention honors. Coughlin, a two-time NCAA and Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year who has set three world records and 27 American records, capped a superb freshman year with an even more successful sophomore season. She earned the USA Swimming Athlete of the Year and Performance of the Year award for her world record breaking swim in the 100-meter backstroke. At 58.59, Coughlin shattered the record, becoming the first female to ever post a sub-minute finish. At the NCAA Championships, she won national titles in the 100-yard butterfly (50.01), and 100 (49.97) and 200-yard backstroke (1:49.52), setting NCAA records in all three events-breaking the old NCAA records she had set in 2001. Coughlin also helped her teammates to two national runner-up finishes in the 200- and 400-yard medley relays. At the Pac-10 Championships, Coughlin set new conference records in the 200-yard freestyle (1:43.30) and 100 (50.71) and 200 back (1:50.90). Last season's 200 and 400 medley relay team, comprised of Coughlin, Stitts, Alice Henriques and Becks set school records with times of 1:37.88 and 3:32.55 respectively.
2001 RECAP: Cal finished eighth at the 2002 NCAA Championships, bolstered by Coughlin's three wins, Stitts' fourth place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke and the team's national runner-up finishes in the 200 and 400 medley relays. Cal placed fourth at the Pac-10 Championships, bettering its fifth place finish from the year before. The Bears won five titles at the 2002 championships.
NEWCOMERS: The Bears feature seven first-year collegiate swimmers this season. Cheryl Bingaman is a freestyler who broke her high school's records in the 50 and 100 free events. Ashley Chandler is also a freestyler, and was the National Champion in the 400 free and Arizona state champion in the 200 and 500 free and 200-yard individual medley in 2000-01. Flora Kong joins the team as a butterflier, having competed in the 2002 Asian Games and 2001 World Championships, as well as the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She is a member of the Hong Kong National Team. Gina Merlone was her high school MVP in 2000-02 and set Palo Alto Swim Club records in the 100 and 200 breast. Whitney Rockwell never lost a race in high school and was named the 2002 Maine State MVP. She holds Maine state records in the 50 and 100 free, 100 fly and 100 breast. Helen Silver was a four-time high school All-American and three-time Washington state champion in the 100 back. Kate Tiedeman earned Most Valuable Player honors throughout her high school career and set the school record in the 500 free. She was a USA Swimming Scholastic All-American in 2000 and 2001.
SCOUTING THE TIGERS: Cal has a 19-2 dual meet record versus Pacific. The Bears last defeated the Tigers, 153-109, Oct. 6, 2001 in Fresno. Pacific finished 15th at the 2002 NCAA Championships, breaking six school records at the meet in Austin, Texas. The Tigers claimed the Big West Title in 2002, marking Pacific's first conference championship in women's swimming. Junior Sarah Marshall led the team to its championship victory, breaking Big West records in the 100 (54.67) and 200 (1:57.65) back. She earned the Big West Swimmer of the Year honor. The Tigers are steered by new head coach Danny May, who coached three seasons at Northern Iowa University prior to joining Pacific.
HEAD COACH TERI MCKEEVER: Teri McKeever, the 2002 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, is in her 11th season as Cal's head women's swimming coach. McKeever also won the American Swimming Coaches Association's Coach of the Year award last month. She has an 85-37 (.697) dual meet record with the Golden Bears and a 139-59 (.702) overall record (five yeas as women's head coach at Fresno State). In the last six seasons, she has led Cal to top 10 national finishes every year, including an eighth place showing at the 2002 NCAA Championships.