April 26, 2011
BERKELEY - California celebrated a championship season at its annual banquet on April 23 at Levine-Fricke Field. The team honored several Golden Bears at the event including swimmer Liv Jensen, the team's most valuable performer. The junior was perhaps the busiest Bear at the NCAA Championships, claiming seven All-America honors and three relay titles at the meet in Austin, Texas. Cal also handed out awards in the following categories: Golden Bear Award, Most Improved, Scholastic, Coaches Award for Diving and Coaches Award for Swimming.
Jensen's teammates selected her as MVP. The Cal swimmers and divers also chose the recipients of the Golden Bear Award and Most Improved Award.
Jensen anchored Cal's championship 200-yard freestyle relay, 200-yard medley relay and 400-yard medley relay at NCAAs last month. The 200-medley relay posted an American-, NCAA- and school-record time of 1:35.03 in the final. Jensen also swam the final leg of the second-place 800-yard freestyle relay and third-place 400-yard freestyle relay. A product of Palo Alto, Calif., Jensen finished in second place in the 50 free - clocking a school-record time of 21.50 - and eighth place in the 100 free. At the Pac-10 Championships, Jensen won the 50 free and anchored Cal's triumphant 400-free, 200-medley and 400-medley relays. She also picked up last season's team MVP accolade after winning the 50 free and collecting six All-America honors at 2010 NCAAs.
Golden Bear Award - Shelley Harper
For the third straight season, junior swimmer Shelley Harper took home this award for displaying the most dedication, perseverance and team spirit. A native of Walnut Creek, Calif., and a member of Cal's SAAC (Student-Athlete Advisory Committee), Harper also claimed the Golden Bear Award in 2009 and shared the accolade in 2010 with Sara Isakovic. Harper reached her first NCAA Championships this season, posting personal-best times in the 400-yard individual medley (4:11.51) and 500 free (4:41.62) and also swimming in the 200 butterfly.
Most Improved Award - Colleen Fotsch
The Cal team named Colleen Fotsch its most improved Bear. A junior from Palo Alto, Fotsch won her first NCAA titles after swimming the third legs of the Bears' 200-free relay and 200-medley relay. She collected honorable mention All-America kudos after finishing 14th in the 100 fly and taking 15th in the 100 back. Fotsch, who joined Cal last year after starting out at Notre Dame, also competed in the 50 free at NCAAs and swam on the winning 200-medley and 400-free relays at Pac-10s.
Two seniors - Ellie Monobe and Amanda Sims - shared the Coaches Award for Swimming for the second time; they earned it with the entire sophomore class in 2009. That was a good year for Sims - the Santa Rose, Calif., product won her first NCAA crown in the 100 fly two years ago and won her second 100-fly national title last month. Sims' time in March - 50.49 - made her the second-fastest Bear in school history behind Natalie Coughlin (50.01). Sims also swam the fly leg of the national championship 400-medley relay and notched All-America honors with a fifth-place finish in the 200 fly. Her time of 1:53.17 in the 200-fly prelim ranked her third all time at Cal. Sims also won the Pac-10 title with Cal's 400-medley relay in February.
Monobe, who reached the C final of the 100 breaststroke at Pac-10s, is an aspiring teacher and swim coach who will graduate after the fall 2011 semester. The Fremont, Calif., native was a boon to the team, as she helped the coaching staff with a variety of pre-NCAA tasks after wrapping up her career at Pac-10s.
Coaches Award for Diving - Molly Hayes
Junior Molly Hayes nabbed the Coaches Award for Diving for the second time in her career. She also earned the 2009 award after her freshman season. Hayes competed in all three events at the 2011 NCAA Zone E Championships in Minneapolis, Minn. Her best finish at the qualifying meet for the NCAA Championships was eighth place on the one-meter springboard with a score of 518.05. At the Pac-10 Championships, Hayes placed sixth at one meter (284.75) and seventh on platform (214.55).
Scholastic Award - Kelsey Hoff
The accolade for the athlete with the highest grade-point average for the spring and fall of 2010 went to senior swimmer Kelsey Hoff, an anthropology major with a 3.555 GPA during that span. Hoff, who clocked a personal-best time of 1:58.69 in the 200 fly at Pac-10s, is going to pursue a career in international development upon graduating from Cal after next semester. Senior diver, English major and CalBears.com blogger Laura Sanford ranked second with a 3.551 GPA, while Sims, a history major, was third with a 3.540 GPA.