March 27, 2012
Every athlete in the world has an idea of what their "perfect" race, meet, match, or game looks like. Going into this year's NCAAs, I knew that the Cal team was ready to race because Teri, Kristen, Nick and my teammates were expecting the best from one another each and every day. The meet started for me when I stepped foot off of the airplane in Georgia. My teammates and I were looking forward to swimming in a different pool, showing off our new dress sweats and just having fun. Receiving our team attire for NCAAs is more exciting and bountiful than when I receive gifts at Christmas. That should give you an idea of how stoked we were to race.
After landing in Georgia we drove to Auburn (in a limo!), got situated in our hotel room and went for a loosen swim. Our pre-race dinner wouldn't be complete without a team ice-cream outing, so we headed to a local ice-cream shop and had a great time (I'm still convinced this goes hand-in-hand with successful swim meets). By the time Tuesday rolled around my roommate, Colleen Fotsch, and I were ready to race. What the veteran NCAA swimmers look forward to the most on the Wednesday night before the meet starts is the "Rookie Skit." Those on the team who are about to swim in their first NCAAs get together and create funny skits that end up leaving everyone in tears from laughing so hard. This year's newcomers did not disappoint, and it was a good way to release nervous energy heading into Thursday's prelim session.
The three days of racing flew by. I woke up on Saturday morning, the last day of the meet, thinking to myself that this team deserved to win because we showed up ready to race since day one and we wanted to win more than any other team on deck. With all of the diverse training we had gone through this year we were surely capable of it! Last year I remember cheering on the girls with Shelley Harper the last day of NCAAs. Both of us promised each other we would score for the team the following year at NCAAs. This year Shelley scored in multiple events and I was fortunate to be on relays, including an NCAA & U.S. Open record-setting relay. Individual national champions included Liv Jensen, Sara Isakovic, Caitlin Leverenz and Cindy Tran. This team and my experiences as a part of this team mean more to me than words can describe. Thank you, coaches, teammates, alumni and fans!
March 3, 2012
This is a long overdue post. So much has happened within the past two weeks that I barely know where to begin. Before the Stanford dual meet the Bears wandered up to The Faculty Club for our annual secret sister gift exchange and one of our final dinners as a whole team. The guidelines for this exchange were that the gifts must be handmade and fairly creative. This year's gifts far exceeded the previous year's, and I believe that Colleen Fotsch has a future in arts and crafts if her job search doesn't pan out the way she wishes after graduation (see attached photo). Other gifters including Yvette (aka Yo-Yo), Stephanie and Ursi created impressive presents as well.
The following morning the Bears headed to Stanford for the final dual meet of the season. Unfortunately we lost and losing is never fun, especially against one of our biggest rivals. This dual meet was not how I pictured my final meet to look like, but may have been exactly what the team needed going into Pac-12s. Sometimes the feeling of losing a race or meet is what it takes in order to push one to do great things. This being said, the team headed into Pac-12s humbled and ready to race.
The meet went very well and everyone on the team contributed to the team score. There were many highlights during the meet, but Sara Ice, Liv, Caitlin, and Cindy performed exceptionally well and together they also set a new U.S. Open record in the 400-yard medley relay. Also notable performances were Alissa Barker and Kahley Rowell's 10 meter finals showing. With the leadership of Todd Mulzet, Cal's diving team continues to improve and contribute to the legacy that is Cal Swimming and Diving. Together the swimmers and divers brought home the first ever Pac-12 first-place championship trophy to Cal (and hopefully many more are to come!)
The NCAA team has been named and 14 of Cal's women will be competing in the championship meet and will depart for Alabama on March 12. There is no other group of teammates or coaches I would want to train, travel or compete with. Being on this team has brought me so much joy, and words can't express how thankful I am to be a part of Cal Swimming.
Don't forget to watch your Bears in action starting March 15.
Feb. 3, 2012
The Bears arrived back in Oakland 48 hours after first arriving in Los Angeles, with two more victories under our belt. On Thursday evening we arrived at LAX and headed to dinner and then dessert at McDonalds :) I'm working on convincing Teri that soft-serve ice cream is the key to swimming fast. On Friday morning The Bears headed to Loyola Marymount University for a wake-up swim and the dual meet took place at USC with sunny skies and plenty of good racing. All California rivalries are exciting, and it added a little extra motivation for us to get our hand to the wall before the Trojans.
Following the meet, all of the Bears headed to El Cholo's in downtown Los Angeles before retiring back to our hotel. Melissa Bates and Melanie Klaren were on form throughout the trip, constantly quoting Bridesmaids and evoking laughter from all of their teammates. On Saturday we raced UCLA and it was great to see the familiar faces of Alli Ellis and Sara Sun cheering us on from the crowd. Also present and cheering us on were three Cal alumnae swimmers who all swam together in 2000. Teri introduced us to Dena Lofthus, Katie Lowes and Waen Minpraphal following the meet at UCLA, and these women shared their favorite memories of Cal and the swimming program. This was meaningful to me because I will definitely be cheering on the Golden Bears for years to come, just like these women have.
It was great leaving Southern California with momentum going into the final weeks of training and TAPER TIME! All of the hard work and dedication my teammates and I have put into the sport will be displayed at Pac-12s and NCAAs. Next weekend is our final dual meet against Stanford and another opportunity to tune-up before our championship meets.
Until next time, GO BEARS!
Jan. 25, 2012
Five years ago around this time I was in Berkeley competing against Cal in one of the most memorable swim meets I can recall. The torrential downpour and howling wind added to the excitement of the dual meet and close score. This year I was eager to race the University of Arizona and Arizona State University as a Golden Bear :), with the intention of focusing on what I had been working during the Hawaii training trip. The Bears came out on top and won the meet with many thanks to the dedicated family members and fans who braved the weather in the Arizona dual and cheered us on to victory!
After the meet the team headed up to the new, and may I add UH-MAY-ZING, High Performance Center for dinner and an evening of introductions and laughs. It was a chance for new and old Cal parents to meet one another and allowed for current and future swimmers to share what it means to be a Golden Bear.
On Saturday we raced Arizona State University and the women's team acknowledged the eight senior swimmers and divers. Fortunately Teri parted the skies and the sun was shining while the Cal Band kicked off the meet with pump-up tunes and the National Anthem (Thanks, Cal Band!!). There was an enormous crowd turn out, and it was a very special day for me and my fellow senior teammates. Following a good day of racing, the team filled up with tacos and said our goodbyes to our parents.
This week the Bears will travel to Southern California to race USC on Friday and UCLA on Saturday. Following these meets the team will have one more dual meet against Stanford before heading off to Pac-12s and NCAAs. The team is looking forward to a weekend of good competition and fast racing again.
Until next time,
Jan. 14, 2012
Vitamin D overload! My body hasn't seen this much sun since my age-group swimming days in Arizona. The past few days we have been spoiled with perfect weather, delicious dinners and priceless memories. As soon as our afternoon workout sessions were over, many of us headed to the beach to paddle board or surf. Those who wanted to explore headed to North Shore and watched as huge swells engulfed daring surfers and then, if lucky, spit them out.
As a huge fan of Food Network's "Man vs. Food" challenge, it was only natural that my teammates should try the manhole-sized pancakes at MAC 24/7 a few blocks away from our hotel. The challenge is for one person to eat 3 14" pancakes in 90 minutes without leaving their seat, and if completed the meal will be free and they will have their picture taken and put in the hall of fame. Now eating one of these behemoth pancakes is quite filling, but THREE?! Not impossible according to past customers, but if Adam Richman is unable to finish an order I'll pass on the four-pound challenge.
Bears were everywhere in Waikiki, and I'm talking not talking about the animal. A former Golden Bear and extremely generous Cal alumni, Steve Metter, shared his success story with the team, along with inspirational stories and advice. My teammates and I would like to thank you for a wonderful dinner and your kind words. There was also no better way to celebrate Colleen Fotsch's birthday than taking in a stunning sunset with the closest of friends.
As the final beach workout ended, we packed our bags and soaked up as much sun as possible before catching our flight back to Berkeley. It was the most productive and meaningful training trip I have been on and will transition the team into a great week of training and racing. Next we will take on University of Arizona and Arizona State University in the seniors' final home meet...whoa! When did I get so old?! ;)
MAHALO HAWAII & GO BEARS!
Jan. 9, 2012
Aloha from Waikiki!
The Golden Bears Touched down in Honolulu on Wednesday and the past few days have been full of training, adventures and some delightful surprises.
On a typical day the team wakes up before sunrise and heads down to a special spot where we do our dryland and ocean swimming pieces. The sunrise is breathtaking and an ideal way to start our day! Soon afterwards we head to the pool for our main swimming workout, and recently the Cal team has been fortunate enough to meet and spend time with age-group swimmers from the surrounding areas.
Following practices the team usually heads to the beach and most recently we caught some rays, played Frisbee and body surfed at Makapu'u Beach. Also enjoyable for many of my teammates is paddle boarding, which one is able to do all over Waikiki.
What I believe to be an important part of Cal swimming is its alumni support, and during this trip I happened to bump into Akiko Thomson, a former Golden Bear, who swam under Teri during her first few years coaching at Cal! It is exciting to see and understand that the current team is part of something bigger than themselves, which includes women like Akiko.
Off to aloe, rehydrate and catch some sleep before tomorrow's workout session :)
Jan. 3, 2012
Happy New Year!
Winter break has passed and I have returned from the sunny skies and 75-degree weather Arizona had to offer. To my surprise, Berkeley also feels a bit like summertime, which has given us Bears a taste of what our training trip in Hawaii will feel like this week!
Before we departed for our holiday break, the Harper household held the annual gingerbread-making contest, and Liv, Cindy, Shelley, Melissa and I won the coveted title. The team also gathered to watch Caitlin Leverenz's television debut at the Duel in the Pool via TiVo. It was gratifying to see hard work pay off in such a big way!
We finished up a week of solid training in Berkeley and the team had some fun wearing non-textile racing suits during a handful of our practices. A few of my teammates attended the Nutcracker performance in San Francisco. And the freshmen were able to move out their dormitories for a short while and experience a living situation outside of Unit 3, which gives them an idea of what life is like when living further from campus.
All that is on our minds now is Hawaii! I will be blogging throughout the trip and will be sure to include photos of our adventures.
Cheers to a happy & healthy 2012.
Dec. 12 2011
It's crunch time! Dead week has passed and finals are upon us Golden Bears. In the past month the swim team has traveled to Long Beach, Atlanta and Athens (I wish I was talking about Greece). Also a highlight of November was the Katy Perry concert, where my teammates were able to see Katy up close and dance all night long. A special thanks to Todd Mulzet for that opportunity!
Soon afterwards the Bears traveled down to Long Beach for the Arena Invitational, where the team competed in its first three-day meet of the season. Long Beach also gives the team an opportunity to do morning ocean swims at Seal Beach before prelim racing. We encountered some friendly sea creatures like dolphins and stingrays during our swims, making our morning swims even more enjoyable. After our win in Long Beach, Thanksgiving break allowed for the Bears to have some much-needed R&R time at home. Following the food coma, I happily watched the Cowboys down the Dolphins with seconds to go.
Next on the schedule were the U.S. Nationals and the Georgia Invitational in Atlanta and Athens. This gave the men and women's team an opportunity to swim a long-course event before heading to Athens. In Atlanta, Caitlin Leverenz captured the national titles in the 400 and 200 IMs, while Dana Vollmer won the 100 butterfly. Following the first night of finals, the team took a road trip to Athens for their Invitational. Once again the Bears competed in a three-day meet where there were great opportunities to step up and race.
After finals, the women's swim team will train until mid-December, reconvene following New Year's and head to Hawaii for our annual training trip, and my favorite part of the year! It launches us into the Championship season with a beautiful bronze glow. Doesn't get much better than that!
Happy Holidays to All & GO BEARS!
Between the Lanes - Emily Bibb (Sept. 14-Nov. 3)
Nov. 3, 2011
Hey friends!! Long time no talk (or read in your case!)
The last two weeks have been very exciting for the BEARS! We had so many great opportunities in and out of the pool and have made many memories. National championship week ended on a great note: We had a nice celebration dinner at the Chancellor's house on Friday and that Saturday we headed to AT&T Park where CAL's national champions were the "halftime show." Did I mention we also had a swim meet against Utah that weekend? By the way, we killed it and got some more racing opportunities under our belt!
Last week we put in another solid week of training and school. We did have a little prize rewarding us at the end of the week, something known by the swimmers as "free fall." This is a time (comparable to waking up on Christmas day) where we get three days of rest and recovery. The only requirement, no swimming! Many of us leave Berkeley to visit friends and family. I was fortunate enough to visit my sister. It is such a nice re-set and I think we are all refreshed heading into the next phase of training.
I'm excited for what is to come this week, especially for the meet on Friday against Washington State. I can't believe it is November already! Almost time to bust out that parka!
Oct. 16, 2011
Not going to lie - this week was tough. As swimmers the September/ October combo is the hardest part of the year. Training and school are intense and my best is demanded in both of them. While challenging, the end result makes all the hard work worth it. Needless to say, this week ended on a high note. We had a recruiting weekend and it was homecoming! Now, homecoming, it's not like it was high school, at least in my opinion, but it sounds cool and means we have a football game at "home."
The "home" in HOMEcoming this year means a baseball field, on the water, aka AT&T Park....not too shabby. With our visitors we took a ferry directly to the stadium. It was beautiful. In fact, last Thursday felt like a summer night and, for the first time, I didn't need a jacket in San Francisco. Cal had an exciting game against USC, although they didn't get the win. Oh well, I guess we are "saving up" for our new stadium next year?
On Friday night we had a team dinner at Teri's house. Yum. Can I just say, she makes the BEST salad; I won't give out the recipe because it isn't mine to share, but take my word for it. We also got competitive at the local bowling alley. For now, most of us will be keeping our day job, swimming.
Saturday workout was aggressive, to be honest. But what swimmer doesn't think that? Thank goodness we got breakfast burritos after. As for the rest of the weekend...napping was a must! Got to rest up - October isn't over quite yet.
See you next time.
Oct. 10, 2011
Yup, see that score? We are off to a great start because we won our first dual meet of the season! This past weekend the team and I traveled up to Oregon to compete against OSU as well as go on some Oregon adventures. Our trip started off on Thursday in the Oakland Airport. Let's just say we have tons of support out there. We got a little rowdy on the airplane with the Oregon fans when a CAL fan led a C-A-L-I-F-O-R-N-I-A spell out with the team....the first sign that we were in for a good trip. Once in Oregon, we were off in our "party vans" on a little road trip to the University of Oregon to watch the football game. Before the game, we met Teri's sister, got all bundled up (the weather was a bit chilly for us Californians) and headed through the crowds of Oregon tailgaters.
Well, us swimmers had enough sprit to make up for the entire University of Oregon (aka "sea" of green) crowding the stadium. With hot chocolate, our parkas, and the rain, we cheered on our school to victory...in the first half that is. The game didn't end to our advantage, but we knew we would make up for it in the pool on Friday and Saturday.
Friday afternoon, we had part one of our dual meet against OSU. Warm-up, racing, and relays went well. Most of us swam off events that will directly help our stronger events. I think we are in a GREAT place at this point in the season. As a team, we grew even closer. That afternoon we went to the NIKE Campus. This is the headquarters of Nike and where many important sports decisions are made and great athletes become legends. The facilities are amazing. Health, performance and competition are encouraged among their employees. It was an honor to be given a tour.
On Saturday, we returned the Nike Campus for part two of dual meet against OSU. This was the first college dual meet at the Nike campus, so it was really special and there was a ton of support for both teams. The order of events was unique in where the 200 strokes events became 100s and 100s of stroke become 50s. In addition, the lucky few got to swim the mile. We like to think hard work and victory were rewarded in the Nike locker room. A sauna, steam room and hot tub were the icing on the cake to a great weekend.
We ended our weekend in the Portland Airport. Coffee and homework in hand marked the end of a successful week and preparation for the week ahead. GO BEARS!
Ps: Keep my Cal teammate Catherine Breed and former UCLA teammate Kim Vandenberg in your thoughts and cheers. They head out soon to represent TEAM USA in the Pan-American Games!
I can't believe it is that time of year again and time for what we like to call the "pentathlon" or crowning of the Mr. & Ms. Queen of the Pool (throw back to high school prom: swimmer version.) This meet kicked off our season and it was a great opportunity to help us grasp what we as swimmers and as a team need to do to move forward. Our adventure started on Thursday where we headed down and out on a road trip to Cal Poly/Pismo Beach. Aside from all the zillion other cool things we do, road trippin' is one of my favorites. Trust me, four hours in a car with several girls is when personalities shine and inside jokes are made. Another cool part of this trip is that it is a little unconventional: we got to stay in a house instead of a hotel. Let's just say I had a "senior moment" when I got to finally sleep in an actual bed instead of a sofa sleeper! I've put in my time! It was really fun rooming with several of my teammates, cooking meals together, and even getting some studying done.
As for the swimming, is it also "unconventional." The swim meet went a little like this: 100 butterfly, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke, 100 freestyle and 100 IM, for EVERYONE. The guy and girl with the fastest combined time, wins! Caitlin took the crown again for the women, and even broke her own school record (cough, cough, stud.) We kept the training level high by also practicing and doing ocean swims throughout the weekend. Now, let's be honest...it was exhausting. Let's be honest again...riding waves during sunset was incredible. With hard work comes great experiences.
Just another day in the life....
- Em Want more "swimmer moments?" www.pushupswithpolish.com
Hey! I'm back, and phewww I am exhausted! What a busy week! Summer is now just a photo album, and we are 100 percent back in action. My life as a student-athlete is going full speed! Can't stop, won't stop! Questioning my sudden need for naps and ice baths, I have realized that we have been doing some intense workouts. But it has been great. We have the ball rolling, and it's exciting to see positive progress in the early weeks of training.
Building our training base isn't all we did last week. We had our first recruit trip of the year! I like recruiting, because it is a great opportunity to meet new swimmers and show them a place I am so passionate about. Even better, is the fact that it is a. great fun and b. great team bonding. Basically, I hang out with my best friends for the entire weekend, exploring all our favorite parts of good ol' Berk. Obviously, we cheered on the Bears in their victory (key word: VICTORY) over Presbyterian on Saturday. I don't know if I was more excited about the win or the weather. Seriously, it was the warmest I've witnessed in San Francisco since my time at CAL! For the first time, I didn't have to worry about wearing a million layers. I also had a great time watching a football game on a baseball field. Yes my friends, it can be done. On a side note: AT&T Park has really good food (only something a swimmer would notice?)
To end a great weekend, a few of us decided to swim in the bay for The Tiburon Mile with the men's team. It was a lot of fun and another beautiful day in The Bay. Nothing beats swimming and seeing the Golden Gate Bridge. I'm so lucky.
Hey Golden Bear fans!
My name is Em and for the next season I'll be writing a blog called "Between the Lanes." I'm very excited to share the daily adventures of Cal Swimming with you on our road to what I know will be our most memorable season yet. There is a lot more that goes into our journey than a few laps in the pool. We get to do some pretty cool things and make some pretty good memories. I can't wait for you to read about them throughout the season!
August is a pretty exciting time for swimmers; it's like our holiday season: we have Nationals, a few weeks of vacation, the first day of school, and the start of the college season, all crammed into 31 days. Transitioning back into the swing of things is extremely busy but a good time.
One of my favorite parts about the new school year, meeting my new teammates...THE FRESHMEN. They are great. It's always fun helping them move in, showing them the ropes and getting to know them. All the new personalities are so refreshing, and they each bring something to the team, making me even more excited to start the season. All this can be overwhelming to the newbies and returners alike, so one of the first activities we do as a team is go on a retreat. I can honestly say that over these few days, we go from being a team into a family. We get to know each other on a more personal level outside the water, while doing some really fun things like...playing at the trampoline park, team dinners, and spending time outdoors at The Marin Headlands!
Again, the most important part about the beginning of the school year is growing closer to each other and getting back onto the "normal" or not so normal (for the freshmen) schedule. We ended our second week of school tie-dyeing shirts and with a "family dinner." This is tradition that I look forward to every year; in fact I can't believe it was my last one! Living in Berkeley, we take tie-dyeing very seriously. Not going to lie - we have some very talented underclassmen. Our family dinner becomes a time for each big sister/little sister pair to show off their cooking skills. Each pair makes a dish and brings it to the annual potluck dinner at one of the apartments. Usually, everyone makes her specialty, so it is delicious and filled with a variety of food from all areas of the world!
We are now in our 3rd week so things are beginning to settle down; we know where our classes are and workouts in full force. I already have papers due and tests to take! Luckily, fall in Berkeley is just beautiful, so I don't mind. Until next time, GO BEARS!
A little about myself, I am a senior Media Studies major on the swim team here at CAL, you can also find me over at www.pushupswithpolish.com. I can't wait to get to know you!