BERKELEY – In its first dual meet in more than two-and-a-half months, No. 1 Cal women’s swimming & diving team shook off the rust and cruised to a 229-69 victory over Arizona State Friday at Spieker Aquatics Complex. The Bears claimed at least the top two positions in 10 of 12 swimming races and captured both relays before a live TV audience on the Pac-12 Networks.
Senior Cindy Tran (100 back, 100 fly), as well as freshmen Missy Franklin (200 and 500 free, 200 back), Marina Garcia (100 and 200 breast) and Celina Li (200 fly, 400 IM) were multiple winners on the afternoon. In addition, Kaylin Bing prevailed in the 50 free and Rachael Acker took first place in the 100 free.
“Racing is quite a bit different from training,” head coach Teri McKeever said. “This weekend serves as a kind of check-in where we are individually and collectively. This has traditionally been a rough weekend for us as a program with starting school this week, but I thought for the most part we did a nice job.”
After ASU All-American Tristin Baxter nipped Li in the 1000 free to begin the afternoon’s events, the Bears went 1-2 in the 200 medley relay with the quartet of Rachel Bootsma, Garcia, Tran and Bing won in 1:40.44.
Up next, Franklin cruised to the first of her three victories, posting a two-second triumph in the 200 free when she touched in 1:47.07. Caroline Piehl was second in 1:49.43, with Acker completing a 1-2-3 Cal finish in 1:50.86.
The Bears proceeded to go either 1-2-3 or 1-2-3-4 in each of the next five events, starting with the 100 back won by Tran in 54.31. She was followed by Elizabeth Pelton (54.53), Melanie Klaren (55.20) and, swimming exhibition, Stephanie Au (55.45) in the event.
“I’ve been thinking about my plan, knowing these are my last meets with the team and my last short-course swims,” Tran, a two-time NCAA champion in the 100 back, said of her final season as Golden Bear. “It’s emotional if I really start thinking about it. I have to balance between knowing it’s the end and savoring everything. I think that’s going to be my biggest challenge going into NCAA’s and Pac-12’s … and it’s going to be my biggest motivator.”
In the 100 breast, Garcia led the way in 1:02.18, while Li out-dueled Bootsma to take the 200 fly in 2:00. 13. Bing won led four Cal swimmers to the wall in the 50-yard freestyle in 23.10. Farina Osman (23.31), Acker (23.77) and Pelton (23.79) completed the sweep.
After a 15-minute break in racing, the Bears kept up the pace in the 100 free. Acker was first in 50.41, then Bing second in 50.09, Camille Cheng in 51.23 and Pelton in 51.46.
Franklin completed the 200 back in 1:57.86 and later claimed the 500 free in 4:50.90. Garcia, meanwhile, won her second breaststroke event in 2:14.87 in the 200-yard distance.
In the final two individual swims, Tran prevailed in the 100 fly in 54.97 and Li in the 400 individual medley in 4:18.85. The Bears closed things out when Franklin, Tran, Bing and Pelton triumphed in the 200 free relay in 1:33.03.
“Cindy’s had an amazing career here,” McKeever said. “I know the final home weekend is always emotional, not only for the seniors and their teammates but their coaches. I’m just really pleased and happy that she was able to get some victories today and contribute in the way I know she wants to.”
ASU’s Hailey Casper won both diving events with Cal’s Anne Kastler second on the 1-meter (295.20) and 3-meter boards (321.75).
The Bears return to the pool Saturday when they host No. 10 Arizona for their final home meet of the year. Cal’s six seniors – Tran, Stephanie Au, K.T. Livingstone, Mikkel-Ane Stipe, Kahley Rowell and Melissa Bates – will be recognized in a brief pre-meet ceremony.
Diving will get underway at 11 a.m. and the 1000 free will start at 11:25 a.m., with the remaining events beginning at noon. Gates will open at 10:30 a.m. and admission is free. The meet will be shown on a taped-delay basis by the Pac-12 Networks at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.