After Friday’s 163-111 dual-meet victory over Wisconsin, Cal head coach Teri McKeever started listing the swimmers who impressed her on the afternoon. Then she listed a few more names, and then some more until she had seemingly gone through just about the entire roster.
“It was really encouraging,” McKeever summarized. “There were lots of positive things to see. That’s the key. Are we moving in the right direction? Because it’s going to take all of those swimmers to fully reach out potential.”
In its final dual of the calendar year, No. 1-ranked Cal picked up wins in 12 of 14 swimming events plus both diving competitions to improve its record to 4-0 on the year. The Golden Bears next travel to Las Vegas for the UNLV Fall Invitational Nov. 21-23 before going to AT&T Winter Nationals Dec. 5-7 in Knoxville, Tenn.
“This was a good way to end this part of the dual meet season,” freshman Missy Franklin said. “We talked a lot on the team that this was probably the hardest time of the year. It’s been really tough. But I think the way we’ve been able to come out here for dual meets and just race our hearts out has been awesome.”
Cal got off the blocks quickly as three different foursomes swam under the Bears’ previous season best in the 200-yard medley relay to open the meet. Rachel Bootsma, Yvette Kong, Farida Osman and Rachael Acker came out on top in 1:41.48. The team of Stephanie Au, Melissa Bates, Sophia Batchelor and Kaylin Bing (1:41.62) and the quartet of Franklin, Marina Garcia, Cindy Tran and Pelton (1:41.99) also swam under 1:42.
Freshman Celina Li continued to show off her versatility with a winning swim in the 1000-yard free (10:03.85). She came back later to capture the 200 breaststroke (2:18.14), as well.
Cal continued with its streak of victories in the 200 free (Caroline Piehl, 1:49.12), 100 backstroke (Bootsma, 54.31), 100 breast (Garcia, 1:01.85) and 200 fly (Pelton, 2:00.69).
Wisconsin junior Ivy Martin interrupted the Bears’ run as she prevailed in the 50 (22.53) and 100 (49.86) free.
After the 100 free, Franklin swam the 200 back for the first time in college – she’s the world-record holder at the 200-meter distance – and came through in 1:55.28, more than five seconds in front of the field. Franklin also won the 200 IM in 2:00.89.
Pelton produced a convincing win in the 500 free in 4:53.51, while Farida Osman took first in the 100 fly in 55.11. Sophomore Anne Kastler captured both diving events, scoring 263.35 on 1-meter and 296.70 on 3-meter.
In the concluding race, Pelton, Li, Acker and Franklin came home in a team season-best 3:20.99 in the 400 free relay.
The Bears have two remaining meets at Spieker Aquatics Complex in Berkeley, hosting Arizona State Jan. 24 and Arizona Jan. 25. Both are combined with the men’s teams and will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.
Cal’s divers also have a pair of upcoming meets with the Wildcat Invitational Nov. 22-24 and the Bruin Invitational Jan. 10-12 before the Pac-12 season gets underway.