On a team jam-packed with Olympic performers and national champions - plus a host of others aspiring to reach such distinguished levels - juniors Catherine Breed and Melanie Klaren stand out as team captains for the Cal women’s swimming & diving team’s 2013-14 season.
The pair will be in their roles when the Golden Bears travel to Corvallis, Ore., Friday for the opening dual meet of year, a match-up with Pac-12 foe Oregon State at 5 p.m.
“Being a captain is a huge honor and is voted for by the team,” Klaren said. “A team captain at Cal acts as the go-between for the coaches and team and exemplifies what the Cal culture is, day in and day out, at the pool and away from it. The captain is someone the team can look to when they’re struggling and helps keep raising the bar for team accountability.”
Both Breed and Klaren have seen their fair share of success their first two seasons in Berkeley. Breed finished 12th in the 500-yard freestyle at last year’s NCAA meet and ranks No. 2 all-time at Cal in the 1650 free. Klaren, meanwhile, scored for the Bears in both the 100 and 200 back at NCAA’s in 2013 and is part of the strongest backstroke corps in the country - one that includes three NCAA champions and an Olympic gold medalist.
But duties of being a captain extend well behind the end-of-the-year meets. To be effective, they have to make sure their actions match their words and help hold their teammate accountable to one another throughout the year.
“I think this year, the most important part of being a captain will be keeping the team unified and helping reinforce what our team goals are,” Klaren added. “We have a very talented team this year and there’s a great opportunity in front of us. I think an aspect that will be highly important will be keeping things in perspective and continually moving forward.”
Celina Li - Queen of the Pool: A Cal freshman came away with the Queen of the Pool title at the annual meet in San Luis Obispo last Friday, but it probably wasn’t the newcomer most outside observers expected. When the final results were tabulated after five 100-yard races - freestyle, backstroke, butterfly, breaststroke and IM - Celina Li had the lowest combined time (4:43.10), just ahead of more celebrated teammate Missy Franklin (4:43.22). Li captured the fly, breast and IM races, while Franklin took the backstroke by more than a second and sophomore Elizabeth Pelton claimed the butterfly.
Catch the Bears on TV: Fans who can’t be at Cal’s meets in person will have plenty of opportunities to catch the Golden Bears on TV this season. Of the team’s five dual meets after Jan. 1, four will be aired on the Pac-12 Networks - Jan. 24 vs. Arizona State, Jan. 25 vs. Arizona, Feb. 1 at UCLA and Feb. 15 at Stanford. In addition, the Pac-12 Championships Feb. 26-March 1 will also be shown on the Pac-12 Networks.
World Championships Success: At the 2013 World Championships held over the summer in Barcelona, 12 Cal swimmers – current, incoming and graduates – accounted for 14 total medals, including gold by current team members Missy Franklin (6 events) and Elizabeth Pelton (400m free relay).