Sept. 14, 2010
BERKELEY - - After a busy offseason, Teri McKeever will lead the California women's swimming and diving team back into action early in the fall semester with a season-opening meet against Nevada on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 1 p.m. in Reno, Nev. The 19th year head coach led the Golden Bears to a third-place finish at the NCAA Championships last season.
The Nevada meet at Lombardi Pool will also feature the debut of diving coach Todd Mulzet, who joined the Cal staff in August from the Cougar Diving Club in Houston.
Besides adding Mulzet and several newcomers at Cal, McKeever had her hands full at the national and international levels during the Bears' offseason. She recorded her second stint as national team head coach at the Pan Pacific Championships, at which she led the U.S. women to multiple medals in the August meet. That was after she coached a contingent of current and former Bears in several other high-profile competitions, including the ConocoPhillips National Championships, the Mare Nostrum Series in Europe and the USA Swimming Grand Prix series.
Scouting the Golden Bears
Cal boasts a star-studded lineup that includes NCAA champions, such as junior Liv Jensen, junior Sara Isakovic, senior Amanda Sims and senior Hannah Wilson, and talented young Bears, including Stephanie Au, Melissa Bates, Nathalie Lindborg, Deborah Roth, Samantha Shellem and Cindy Tran. Sims, the 2009 NCAA champ in the 100-yard butterfly, is in her final year at Cal, while Jensen, the 50-yard freestyle winner at 2010 NCAAs, is in her third season as a Bear. Wilson (400- and 800-free relays) and Isakovic (800-free relay) earned national titles in 2009 after swimming in the 2008 Beijing Olympics for Hong Kong and Slovenia, respectively.
Cal has featured the last two Pac-10 Freshmen/Newcomers of the Year in Jensen (2009) and returning sophomore Caitlin Leverenz (2010). The latter, a rising star on the international scene, won the 400-meter individual medley at the ConocoPhillips National Championships and, coached by Teri McKeever, won bronze medals in the 200 and 400 IMs at Pan Pacs this past summer.
Au, a teammate of Wilson's on the 2008 Hong Kong Olympic team, competed in the 200-, 400- and 800-meter frees in Beijing. Lindborg, from Trelleborg, Sweden, adds to the international flavor of the Cal team. In August, she swam for her country in the 50- and 100-meter frees as well as in the 4x100-meter free relay at the European Championships, which also featured Slovenia's Isakovic.
Shellem, a middle-distance and distance swimmer, was a member of the 2009-10 U.S. national youth team along with Roth, a strong backstroker from the Bay Area. Tran, another outstanding backstroker, broke the 100-yard backstroke high school record (52.86) set by Cal legend Natalie Coughlin by clocking a time of 51.85 last May.
Tran and Bates competed in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials and were members of the 2008-09 U.S. national youth team.
Mulzet has a large group of divers to work with, including senior Laura Sanford, junior Molly Hayes, sophomore Kelsey Heiken and a bevy of freshmen. Hayes and Heiken competed at the NCAA Zone E Diving Championships, with Heiken placing 14th on the three-meter springboard. At Pac-10s, Hayes took fifth place on the one-meter board, Heiken claimed eighth place at three meters and Sanford finished 10th on the platform.
Scouting the Opposition
Nevada ended its 2009-10 season by placing fourth in the Western Athletic Conference Championships, after the Wolf Pack had won the conference title the previous three years. Mengjiao Mi garnered the WAC Freshman of the Year award after winning the 200- and 500-yard frees and taking third in the 100 free at the WAC meet. Now a senior, Nevada's Heather Ramirez competed on the one- and three-meter springboards in the NCAA Zone E Diving Championships last March.
Mike Richmond is in his fourth year as head coach of Nevada, which posted a 6-5 dual-meet record last season.
A Look Back at Cal's 2009-10 Season
The Bears took third place at the NCAA Championships and second place in the Pac-10 Championships to cap a successful year. Liv Jensen won the 50-free crown at NCAAs and led a group of 11 Bears who claimed All-America and/or honorable-mention All-America honors.
At the Pac-10 Championships, Hannah Wilson claimed the 500 free title and Lauren Boyle won the 100-free championship at Pac-10s. Caitlin Leverenz, en route to her individual conference accolade, posted a school-record time of 4:06.61 in the 400-yard IM to take third place at the Pac-10 meet.
Cal placed 12 Bears on the Pac-10 All-Academic teams.
Teri McKeever led the Bears to a 5-2 record (3-2 Pac-10) during the regular season.
The Bears return to the pool for the Cal Poly Pentathlon on Sept. 24 and Cal Poly Relays on Sept. 25 in San Luis Obispo, Calif.