April 2, 2012

Hi all,

A lot has happened since my last post! Some of the exciting events being the Zone E Diving Championships, NCAAs and my official retirement from diving! On March 6, the Cal diving team set off to Colorado to compete at Zones. This event was the qualifying meet for NCAAs; divers were required to place top three on 1m, 3m or tower to qualify. For our team, this is definitely one of the toughest competitions of the year; nonetheless, we had some great results! Molly Hayes placed 11th on 1m, and I placed 10th on tower. Probably the best results, however, ensued from our sophomore diver, Kahley Rowell. She placed third in tower, allowing her to qualify for the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships! This result was even more impressive as she is the second diver to qualify for NCAAs since 1992. It was great to see Kahley succeed; all her hard work and training definitely paid off!

Shortly a week after Zones, the Cal women's team set off to the NCAA Championships in Auburn. It is here that our team picked up their third title in four years! The swimmers performed exceptionally well with several individuals such as Caitlin Leverenz, Liv Jensen and Cindy Tran gaining individual titles. On the diving side, Kahley managed to qualify for tower finals and place fifth overall. This is an extremely great finish for her first ever NCAA championship! Being part of another NCAA championship just makes me realize how proud and grateful I am to be part of such an amazing team.

On a bittersweet note, myself and teammate Molly Hayes have officially retired from diving. Looking back on my time here, I can easily say that being part of the Cal swimming and diving team is one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences I have been through. I would like to thank my coaches, Todd Mulzet and also Teri McKeever for an amazing four years. Their dedication and commitment to the sport have provided me with life-long lessons, which I will continue to cherish for years to come.

And so a new chapter begins in my life. With graduation quickly approaching, I will be hanging up my Speedo and switching to a business suit. Nonetheless, I know I will forever be a Golden Bear at heart!

Thanks for tuning in, and GO BEARS!

- Alissa

March 5, 2012

Hello Cal Fans!

After wrapping up a successful dual meet season, we entered into the final stages of our competitive season. We spent six days in Federal Way, Wash., and the Women's Swimming and Diving team walked away with the first ever Pac-12 Swimming and Diving title. This Tuesday the diving team will head to Colorado Springs to compete at the NCAA Zone E Championships, where we will compete with other divers from universities all over the West Coast to try and qualify for a spot to NCAAs.

Not only was it a great honor to be part of such an exciting win at the Pac-12 Championships, we had some incredible performances as well as a lot of fun in Washington. The trip started out at Oakland Airport where Coach Todd purchased a miniature blue and yellow football that when thrown, erupted in the Cal Fight Song. After landing in Seattle, we stopped at Panera for the first of many visits and then went to the hotel to rest before practice later that evening.

The competition started on Thursday with the men's three-meter springboard. Both Tommy and Tyler performed well in a competitive group of men. Tyler made it into the final and finished in eighth place. On the women's side, Alissa, Kelsey, Kahley, Samara and myself competed on the one-meter. I got the chance to dive again later that day in the final and finished sixth.

The following day, the men and women switched disciplines, where Tyler finished fifth on the one-meter springboard and Kahley and I just missed the three-meter final, finishing ninth and 10th. The last day of competition featured the platform event in which Kahley and Alissa finished fifth and sixth, respectively.

One of the most memorable parts about the meet was the time we spent with the swim team. We don't always get to travel with the women or watch them compete, so it was a special treat to be so involved in cheering them on. The meet concluded with a celebratory dinner at Mongolian Barbeque, where we enjoyed time with our teammates and families before returning to Berkeley the next morning.

As we prepare to start our journey to Colorado Springs, the energy on the pool deck is high and the feelings of excitement are mixed with a little nervousness. There are seven qualifying spots for the men and eight for the women, and we are in a very good position to have multiple qualifiers.

Wish us luck and keep checking back for updates!

- Molly

Feb. 16, 2012

As the season is starting to draw to a close, each meet is of the utmost importance. It allows us to see the progress we have made, as well as seeing what needs more work. This past week, Cal set off to battle it out with the Cardinal of Stanford. Being one of our toughest competitors, everyone was eager to go out there and give it our all! For the seniors especially, it was our last dual meet that we would ever compete in.

Even after battling it out at the pool all day, Cal graciously lost to Stanford. Nonetheless, this experience makes our team even more determined to succeed in the upcoming meets. With the Pac 12 Championships right around the corner, everyone is training hard both in and out outside of the pool. At present, our practices in the water consist of training our 1m, 3m and platform lists repeatedly. Watching my teammates both at competition and practice, I have been able to notice the significant progress we have made since the beginning of the year.

Next Tuesday, we will be leaving for Pac 12ss in Seattle! It will be one of my last meets with the Golden Bears, and I am very excited to go out there and show off all our hard work.

Thanks for tuning in, and Go Bears!

- Alissa

Feb. 3, 2012

Hello again!

After the last three weeks of non-stop training and competing, the team and I are able to take a short break. While we are still in the midst of intense training, this weekend our only competitive endeavor will be cheering on the men's team from Berkeley as they travel to compete at USC.

Last weekend the Cal women ventured to Los Angeles to take on USC and UCLA. The weather was absolutely beautiful and we were able to enjoy some ocean views on our treks to and from the pool. As a special treat, Todd took us to meet a former colleague who currently works at Capital Records in downtown Los Angeles. It was a really cool experience and definitely something I will remember forever.

We started off the weekend on Friday with a dual meet against USC. Kahley, Kelsey and I claimed the second, third and fourth spots on both the 1m and the 3m, earning some crucial points in the overall swimming and diving competition. After we closed out the meet with a victory, the team sat down to dinner at El Cholo's Mexican Restaurant with the company of our families.

The winning continued at UCLA on Saturday as the team notched another victory. A second-place finish by Kelsey on 3m highlighted the competition. The meet also featured an exhibition platform event at the end.

After a long weekend of competing, the team took some time to relax in downtown Westwood, where we for course paid a visit to the famous Diddy Riese. In my opinion it doesn't hold a candle to Berkeley's C.R.E.A.M, but it was nevertheless delicious.

Our final dual meet for the season will take place at Stanford on Feb. 11. Check back soon for updates!

Go Bears!

- Molly

Jan. 26, 2012

Hello all,

I hope this blog post finds you well and happy! It is hard to believe that myself and teammate Molly Hayes are entering into our final semester at Cal! It doesn't seem long ago that we were both freshman living at the dorm adjusting to College life. How time flies!

These past few weeks have been very busy for the Cal diving team. Training and competitions have been non-stop since the beginning of January. All of our dives are finally coming together and we are looking very strong as a team! After arriving back from Michigan, our team competed at the Stanford Diving Invitational. It was a great opportunity for us to display all the valuable skills we learnt over winter training. Our hard work definitely paid off, and everyone competed exceptionally well!

Your blogging Cal divers - Molly Hayes and Alissa Barker - on Senior Day.

The Stanford Invitational was shortly followed by dual meets against Arizona and Arizona State University (ASU) this past weekend. For all the seniors, the meet against ASU was even more memorable as it was our last home meet at Cal! This day was even made very special with the Cal band coming to support us, along with speeches, flowers and our very own build a bear that we received! I think I can speak on behalf of all the Seniors in saying that this day is definitely one that will be treasured. Not only did it signify our accomplishment of completing four years of intercollegiate sport, but we were truly able to witness how we were appreciated by our fellow teammates. GO TEAM!

With the season now well underway, we are all putting in our very best efforts at training. I am confident that hard work will pay off for our team in the upcoming meets, especially Pac 12s and Zones.

Thanks for tuning in. GO BEARS!

- Alissa

Jan. 13, 2012

Happy New Year from Cal Diving!

After finishing finals and spending some time at home with family, we traveled to Ypsilanti, Mich., to begin preparing for the season ahead. While Michigan seems like an odd place for a team from California to travel for a training trip, the experience was truly invaluable.

"So if you're from California, what are you doing here in Michigan in the middle of winter?" was the question that we were asked by just about everyone we met. And honestly after the first freezing night my teammates and myself were asking the same question. But after settling in and arriving at the pool, all doubts were pushed aside. While it was cold and snowy the first night, we definitely lucked out with the weather. The temperatures during the day stayed in the 50s, and the snow had almost completely melted off the ground by the time we left. The pool at Eastern Michigan University not only featured a huge dryland facility, complete with two trampolines, two dryboards and spotting harnesses, but was also highlighted by spotting belts over the water. Instead of attempting to learn new dives on our own, we used the water belts to become more comfortable and familiar with difficult tricks. We made the most of our time with these new training tools.

We also trained with the collegiate team at EMU and spent time working with their coaches on certain techniques. Besides having new faces to train with, it really helped to work in a new environment. Outside of the pool, we spent time together watching movies and exploring Michigan. For dinner one night we ventured to downtown Ann Arbor and toured the campus of the University of Michigan, before eating dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings.

We ended our trip with a competition on Saturday afternoon, which resulted in multiple zone qualification scores. And although we wanted to take a trip to the famous "8 Mile," the ladies at the hotel advised against it.

Look out for results from the Stanford Invitational this weekend and check back for updates!

- Molly

Nov. 7, 2011

Hello again!

After the last few weeks of training we finally get a chance to see some competition. This past weekend the Cal Diving team traveled to Los Angeles to compete at the Trojan Invitational hosted by USC.

On Thursday morning we packed up the van and headed south. We entertained ourselves with games and music and of course a stop at In-N-Out Burger. Upon our arrival in L.A. we went straight to the pool for a quick practice session before checking into the hotel.

Competition began bright and early Friday morning with the women on 1 meter and the men on 3 meter. It was colder than we expected and I wish I had brought my parka! The team performed well, with Alissa, Kelsey, Kahley and myself all moving into the final. Kelsey finished sixth, Alissa 10th, Kahley in 12th, and myself in third. While none of the men advanced to the final on 3 meter, they all did some great diving. Highlights included Tommy's reverse twister and Grayson's reverse two and a half.

After a quick lunch break we headed back to the pool for the tower event. Even though it was rainy and cold during our warm-up, the sun came out just in time for the competition to start. Highlights included Kahley finishing in second for the women and Tyler in fifth for the men. Samara did a great job in her first ever tower competition.

On Saturday, the men competed on 1-meter while the women went up to 3 meter. Kelsey and Kahley both advanced to the final and placed eighth and 10th respectively. Tyler finished fourth in the 1-meter preliminary and ended up in fifth after the final. Andreas finished ninth, just missing the opportunity to dive again in the final. Overall the competition was a great success for Cal. On top of some great performances we were also able to get a preview of our competition this season.

Besides the event itself, everyone agreed that the hotel was the best part of the trip. We stayed at the Embassy Suites, complete with nightly snacks and a delicious breakfast in the morning. The hotel also featured a large coy fishpond, which provided endless entertainment.

We have a week at home in Berkeley to practice before we leave again for the Wildcat Invitational in Tucson. Hopefully we won't need our parkas. Keep checking back for updates!

Go Bears!!

- Molly

Oct. 27, 2011

In case you didn't see this on the Cal Women's Swimming & Diving Facebook page, here's a shot of the Cal divers at the Chancellor's Reception last Friday. Back row: Andreas Santucci, Tyler Pullen, Grayson Huston and Kahley Rowell. Middle row: Alissa Barker, Rachel Becker and Lena Kardos. Front row: Molly Hayes and Kelsey Heiken.

This week was extremely exciting for both the Cal diving team and myself. It was filled with our first home dual meet against Utah, dinner at the Chancellor's house and an exciting football game. Additionally, my parents came to visit from Australia for the first time since freshman year.

My parents' arrival much-anticipated arrival was planned for the Homecoming weekend. It was so nice being able to show them around and take them to all the exciting events on campus and Berkeley! It was especially entertaining to take them to their first football game against USC. Although they didn't really understand American football, they particularly loved the Cal band's performance and recognition of the Nobel prize awarded in the field for astronomy to a Cal researcher. They were also amazed at how strong the Cal spirit was, both at the football game and on campus. On their Homecoming walk around campus they told me of alumni members from 1957 and 1963 who had returned and talked of their time at Cal and how it enriched them. My parents had later repeated instances as they toured round S.F.; alumni members would respond to a Cal cap or top, stop my parents and discuss their year and always show that strong Cal spirit.

In addition to my parents visiting, both the men's and women's diving teams competed against Utah. It was a great meet overall and we even had Molly and Kahley qualify for the NCAA Zone Championship meet. It is great to see how much the team has improved since the beginning of the year. All our hard work is definitely starting to pay off and I'm sure we will continue to improve throughout the year. This meet was also particularly special for me because it was the first college meet my parents saw me dive in!

After the meet, both the men's and women's swimming and diving teams attended a dinner at the Chancellor's house in recognition of our NCAA Championship titles. It was very impressive to see the array of teams and individuals who excelled in their sporting field. The Chancellor was very welcoming of the athletes into his beautiful house. It was an extremely enjoyable night and I am very thankful our team was invited to go.

The next day, both teams once again were invited to walk on the field at the Utah football game during halftime. This was also in recognition for the men's and women's swimming and diving championship titles. It was definitely a very memorable moment for all of us!

- Alissa

Sept. 28

Hello again!

While the weather was hot and sunny all week, this weekend brought overcast skies and a little bit of rain. On Sunday morning we received a call from Coach Todd canceling our tower practice due to some problems at the pool. While we were all disappointed that we were missing an opportunity to practice tower and that our mental preparation had gone down the toilet, I was grateful for a little extra time to catch up on school. Instead of practice, a few of us went to the dining hall for brunch and then to the gym for a quick workout.

While we are still working on getting stronger and perfecting our basic techniques, our first meet is now a little less than a month away, so we are starting to consistently practice our competitive dives. So far practice has been a lot of fun. Everyone on the team likes to listen to music while we dive, which can sometimes cause a bit of controversy. I like to listen to the 80s Pandora station, much to the disappointment of Coach Todd, who says that I would feel differently if I had actually been alive in the 80s. Nevertheless, we usually stick to a mix of today's hits, which I am sure everyone knows by heart.

Keep checking back for more updates! And GO BEARS!

- Molly

Sept. 19

It is hard to believe we will already be entering our fifth week of school! I am always amazed at how quickly the time seems to fly by. The stress of school has definitely started to pick up with midterms and essay due dates fast approaching.

This past week was very successful for the Cal Diving team. I am very excited to say we started up tower practice again at Stanford on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. While I am not a fan of using our biggest rival's facilities to train at, tower is definitely one of my stronger events, so I am very grateful that we can practice it on a regular basis. One of the downsides of training at night, however, is that the pool has to be lit up using flood lights. It is definitely a lot scarier practicing dives as it is more difficult for divers to spot the water. Nonetheless, training in a variety of different conditions definitely helps our team prepare for competition season.

This weekend, we were also very eager to meet our four diving recruits and show them our beautiful campus. One of the things I love about showing visitors around is that I definitely gain a greater sense of appreciation for Cal. It really makes me realize how lucky I am to attend a school with such great academics and athletics. Besides showing them the campus, we also took them to watch Cal's football game at AT&T Park; and what a game it was with Cal winning 63 - 12! I think it is safe to say everyone had a great weekend!

Thanks for tuning in and GO BEARS!

- Alissa

Sept. 7

Although the excitement of the new school year is beginning to wear off, I am excited to return once again to a normal practice routine. Labor Day was a great time to relax as well as spend time together as a team outside of the pool. On Monday some of us got together for a little BBQ at Grayson's apartment.

While practicing the dives that we will perform in competition is one of the most crucial aspects of our training regime, this fall we are going back to basics and starting with a variety of strength and basic technique work. Each practice usually begins with basic fall-ins to practice entries and elementary dives to work on mechanics. By practicing each piece of the dive separately, we can work on perfecting each dive as a whole. We are also putting in some time in the weight room as well as a cross-training activity of choice. Personally, I enjoy the weekly spin classes at the RSF, while some of my teammates favor kickboxing or elliptical training.

My favorite part about our summer training in Berkeley was the ability to attend practice with nothing to focus on but diving. As we return to classes, I have to admit that it was challenging to start juggling both my academic and athletic commitments again, but I am getting back into the swing of things and enjoy attending all my classes. Due to the fact that many of us are majoring in different disciplines we often do not get the opportunity to take classes together, but this semester Kelsey and Alissa are taking a Media Studies class. In a music class, Kahley and Lena are both required to sing on a weekly basis, which is quite entertaining for the rest of our team.

Our first recruiting weekend is fast approaching and we are getting excited to welcome potential new teammates to our team. While a lot of time and effort goes into planning the weekend, spending time exploring San Francisco and getting to know new people is always a fun experience.

Keep checking back for updates on our progress this fall!

Go Bears!


Sept. 1

Alissa Barker (third from left) and Molly (far right) pose with many of the other returning Cal men's and women's divers.

Hi all! I will continue to fill you in with the latest news from the Cal Diving Team. It is hard to believe that the school year has already begun! It is even more overwhelming to realize that this will be my senior year and my last year of diving at this amazing school. Nonetheless, I am excited to embrace all the opportunities and experiences that will arise.

Over the summer, I traded my swim suit for a business suit in the search to get a feel for what the "real world" was like outside the pool. In June, I began an 8 week internship with Suntech in a sales position. I worked with 10 other interns - many of whom were fellow Cal students - from various departments. It was definitely a shock at first to work the normal business hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Over time, however, I slowly adjusted to the new schedule and long commutes to the City and back. The internship was a great experience. I learned so many new things about sales, customer relations, business development and the workplace environment. It was definitely a change from the daily grind of classes and diving. I am really glad I took advantage of this opportunity as I know it will benefit me in the long run.

Even though the internship took up the majority of my time, I still managed to fit in training whenever possible. Due to my work schedule, however, I was only able to attend the tower practices at Stanford on Wednesday afternoons and Sunday mornings. The rest of my training consisted of cardio, strength and dry land workouts at the RSF. Training on my own definitely made me realize how beneficial it is to work out in a team environment as there will always be someone around to push you to your limits or lend you a helping hand.

With the beginning of the school year already here, training has begun once again, and it is such a great feeling to be reunited with my team. Our coach, Todd, wasted no time in making sure we were back in the water diving again. Our training at present consists of a lot of dry land such as flips, squats, hurdle technique and trampoline work; while in the water, we are focusing on perfecting basic techniques. Although I definitely love to be training again, I must admit that my body is aching all over!

I am very excited for this semester and I look forward to keeping you all informed throughout the year.

Thanks for tuning in and GO BEARS!

- Alissa

Aug. 16

Welcome to the Cal Diving Blog! My teammate, Alissa Barker, and I will be writing this blog during the upcoming season to keep you updated on the happenings of the Cal Diving Team.

The Cal Diving team has certainly had a busy summer, between training, competing and numerous visits to our favorite ice cream store C.R.E.A.M., the past few months have been a whirlwind of fun and success. Our summer practice schedule started promptly on the first of June. Our focus was on the USA Diving Preliminary Zone meet in Tucson where we would hopefully qualify for the AT&T National Championships in August. With the meet being less than a month and a half away, our coach, Todd, had no reservations about "diving" right in to intense training.

By the time we boarded the plane for Tucson on the 13th of July, new dives had been learned and techniques had been perfected. In addition to the one-meter, three-meter and 10-meter platform events, the Zone meet also showcased a synchronized event on both the three-meter springboard and the 10-meter platform. In the synchronized events two divers compete together and are evaluated not only on their individual performance, but how "in sync" they perform the dive.

The first day of competition featured the women on one meter and the men on three meter. Kelsey, Kahley, Lena, Samara and I all performed five dives on the one meter while Grayson and Tyler dove six times on the three meter. After the first round of dives, a cut was made and the top 12 finalists dove a second time. After earning the third spot in the preliminary I advanced to the final, where I ended up fifth. Kelsey placed 14th in the preliminary and narrowly missed the final. The top five divers in each event qualified to the AT&T National Championship to be held at UCLA. It was an incredibly nerve-wracking event as I had to do my list of dives mistake free twice in a row. Grayson and Tyler teamed up in the synchronized three-meter event which was a lot of fun to watch.

The next day the men and women switched events and our team had a good showing. Kahley and Kelsey just missed making the final. In terms of experience the event in Tucson was extremely important. We competed against teams that we will see in Pac-12 competition as well as at our NCAA zonal qualifying meet in March. Todd was very happy with our performance, and we were all glad to get out of the dry Arizona heat and back to Berkeley!

Our training regime changed upon arrival back in Berkeley. While the rest of my team hit the weight room with our strength coach Nick and started to learn new dives for the new season, I worked on perfecting my one-meter list for competition.

Competing with some of the best divers in the country and catching up with old friends was a great experience. It was rewarding to see my hard work pay off as well as see the areas where I need to improve. With the Olympics quickly approaching it was wonderful to see the U.S. team in action. And I was even able to fit in a day at the beach after the competition ended.

My teammates and I are taking some much needed time off before we start school and another collegiate season. We are looking forward to welcoming our newest team member, Tommy Selby. While it saddens me to say that this will be my final year of diving, I have a feeling, and I think my teammates would agree, that this is going to be the best year yet!


- Molly