California and Florida - two of the top women’s swimming & diving programs in the country - will face off in a rare two-day dual meet this weekend at Spieker Aquatics Center in Berkeley. The Bears and Gators will be in action at 1 p.m. Saturday, followed by a second day of competition beginning at 9 a.m. Sunday.
The swimmers will be in the water for 11 events each day, in addition to diving events on the 1- and 3-meter boards Saturday. At the end of Sunday’s races, points will be added up to determine an overall winner.
To illustrate the level of talent both schools have produced recently, they have combined for four of the last five NCAA team championships. Cal took first-place at the national meet in 2009, 2011 and 2012, and the Bears were runners-up last year. Florida won the 2010 NCAA crown before placing seventh last season.
Olympians and national champions also dot both teams’ rosters. Cal boasts five Olympians from the 2012 Games - Stephanie Au (Hong Kong), Rachel Bootsma (USA), Missy Franklin (USA), Marina Garcia (Spain) and Farida Osman (Egypt). Bootsma won a gold medal as part of the 400-meter medley relay, and Franklin captured four golds and a bronze during her stay in London. The Gators feature Elizabeth Beisel, who took home silver in the 400 individual medley and bronze in the 200 backstroke, as well as Canadian Sinead Russell and Hilda Luthersdottir from Iceland.
Those on the 2013-14 squad who have won NCAA individual crowns for the Bears are Bootsma (100-yard backstroke in 2013), Elizabeth Pelton (200 back in 2013) and Cindy Tran (100 back in 2011 and ’12). For Florida, Beisel prevailed in the 400 IM last year and in the 200 back in 2012.
In addition, the meet features the two USA head swimming coaches from the 2012 London Games. Cal’s Teri McKeever oversaw the women’s team, while Florida’s Gregg Troy was in charge of the American men.
Cal-Florida Order of Events
Saturday, October 19 – 1 p.m.
400-yard Medley Relay
200-yard Individual Medley
200-yard Freestyle Relay
Note: 1-meter diving will begin at 12 noon and 3-meter diving will begin at approximately 1:15 p.m.
Sunday, October 20 – 9 a.m.
200-yard Medley Relay
400-yard Individual Medley
400-yard Freestyle Relay
l Meets held at Spieker Aquatics Complex
l Admission is free and seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The gates to the pool will open one hour before swimming events get underway.
Missy Franklin Named Sportswoman of the Year: Golden Bear freshman Missy Franklin added to long list of awards Wednesday when she was named the Sportswoman of the Year for an individual sport by the Women’s Sports Foundation during a ceremony in New York. Franklin captured a women’s-record six gold medals during the 2013 FINA World Championships and was a four-time individual champion at U.S. Nationals in the 100- and 200-meter freestyle and backstroke. Among the finalists were Serena Williams (tennis), Inbee Park (golf) and Jenn Stuhr (track & field).
Cal has had two others recognized by the Women’s Sports Foundation. Swimmer Natalie Coughlin received the individual sport award in 2003, while soccer star Alex Morgan took home the Sportswoman of the Year for a team sport last year.
Celina Li Featured in Sports Illustrated: Freshman Celina Li was featured in the Oct. 14 issue of Sports Illustrated in Faces in Crowd for the Queen of the Pool title she claimed during Cal’s meet at Cal Poly Sept. 20. In a pentathlon that included 100-yard events in all four strokes and the IM, Li had the lowest combined time (4:43.10), just ahead of Missy Franklin’s 4:43.22.
Catch the Bears on TV: Four of Cal’s five conference dual meets this year will be televised 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.
Follow the Bears Live: Fans of Cal swimming & diving can now follow all home and select away results live through a free app that is available in both iPhone and Android platforms. Just search for Meet Mobile and download it.
Get Your Autographs Right Here: Members of the Cal team will sign autographs for fans after the Florida meet following the team’s warm-down. Fans should form a line behind the diving boards and proceed around to the side of the pool opposite the bleachers. Cal autograph placards will be available at the main entrance to Spieker Aquatics Complex.
Bears Up for Golden Goggles: Four Golden Bears – sophomore Elizabeth Pelton, freshman Missy Franklin and graduates Natalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer – are nominated for Golden Goggles Awards in four different categories. Pelton is up for the Perseverance Award, while Franklin is a candidate for Female Athlete of the Year and Female Race of the Year (200 free at the World Championships). In the Relay Performance of the Year category, Franklin and Coughlin were teammates on the USA 400 free relay at Worlds, and Franklin was part of the nominated USA 800 free relay, and Franklin and Vollmer were on the USA 400 medley relay. The ceremony will take place on Sunday, Nov. 24 and fans can vote for their favorites at goldengoggles.com.
Don’t Forget the Divers: Cal’s corps of divers will make its 2013-14 debut with this weekend’s competition against Florida on Saturday. The group then has two diving exclusive events on the upcoming calendar - the Wildcat Diving Invitational Nov. 22-24 in Tucson, Ariz., and the Bruin Diving Invitational Jan. 10-12 in Los Angeles. Among those returning for the Bears are senior Kathy Rowell, who placed third on platform at the Pac-12 Championships last year, and sophomore Sara-Lina Boushakra, who took fourth on platform at Pac-12s.
World Championships Success: At the 2013 World Championships held over the summer in Barcelona, 12 Cal swimmers – current, incoming and graduates – accounted for 15 total medals, including gold by current team members Missy Franklin (100m and 200m back, 200m free, 400m and 800m free relay, 400m medley relay) and Elizabeth Pelton (400m free relay, 400m medley relay).
Reigning Champions: Sophomores Elizabeth Pelton and Rachel Bootsma both captured NCAA titles in their first season with the Bears in 2013. Pelton was named the Swimmer of the Meet after setting an American record in the 200-yard backstroke, and Bootsma won the 100 back.