Cal and Stanford renew one of the fiercest rivalries in collegiate swimming with the Bay Area foes face off at Stanford Saturday morning. The meet will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks with Rich Burk, former Golden Bear Natalie Coughlin and Cynthia Potter calling the action.
To accommodate the TV schedule, the first diving event will begin at 8:45 a.m. and the first swimming event (1000 free) at 9:25 a.m. The remaining events will get underway at 10 a.m.
Cal is 7-1 on the season with victories over four ranked opponents - No. 8 Florida, No. 10 Arizona, No. 17 UCLA and No. 25 Wisconsin. The lone lost came on Jan 31 at No. 5 USC.
Stanford owns a 34-6 series lead over the Bears, but Cal has come out on top two of the last three seasons with a 165-135 decision in 2013 and a 155-145 win in 2011. The Bears last prevailed at Stanford in 2006 (169-131).
While Cal and Stanford have a number of swimmers ranked among the top 10 in the country in their respective events - including national leaders Missy Franklin (200 and 500 free) and Elizabeth Pelton (200 back) - a real battle could be in the relays where the two schools are rated among the top four nationally in all five races.
Following this weekend, Cal will next see action at the Pac-12 Championships Feb. 26-March 1 in Federal Way, Wash. The NCAA meet is March 20-22 in Minneapolis.
Teri McKeever into San Diego Hall of Champions: Cal head coach Teri McKeever will be inducted into the Breitbard Hall of Fame at the 68th annual San Diego Hall of Champions Thursday. A graduate of San Pasqual HS in Escondido, Calif., McKeever is in her 22nd season at Cal. She has guided the Bears to 17 consecutive top-10 NCAA finishes, including national championships in 2009, 2011 and 2012 and a runner-up showing last spring. In addition, she served as the head USA women’s Olympic coach in London in 2012 and is a two-time USA assistant Olympic coach. In 2012, 11 current or former Golden Bears competed in the Olympics, collecting 13 total medals.
Tops in the Country: In the latest statistics, Golden Bears have posted the fastest times in the nation in the 200 and 500 free and the 200 back, as well as the 400 medley relay. Missy Franklin is No. 1 in both freestyle events after setting school records during victories at AT&T Winter Nationals in December. She went 1:41.40 in the 200-yard distance and 4:34.63 over 500 yards. In addition, sophomore Elizabeth Pelton is the top-rated 200-yard backstroker (1:49.59). Last year, Pelton set an American record in the event (1:47.84) on her way to the NCAA title. In addition, Pelton, Marina Garcia, Rachel Bootsma and Franklin covered the 400 medley relay in 3:29.91 at Winter Nationals.
Several other Cal swimmers are also among the county’s top 10 in their respective races: Franklin (6th, 50 free; 3rd, 100 free; 6th, 100 back; 5th, 200 back); Pelton (10th, 200 free; 2nd, 100 back; 3rd, 200 IM); Cindy Tran (3rd, 100 back); Bootsma (7th, 100 back, 8th, 200 fly); Melanie Klaren (7th, 200 back); and Celina Li (4th, 200 IM; 5th, 400 IM).
Meeting the Standard: Entering this week’s competition, five Golden Bears have recorded swims under the NCAA A standards in 11 individual events. In addition, all five Cal relays have reached the standard. Missy Franklin leads the way with qualifying times in the 100 free (47.42), 200 free (school-record 1:41.40), 500 free (school-record 4:34.63), 100 back (51.59) and 200 back (1:51.54). Elizabeth Pelton has A marks in the 100 back (51.27), 200 back (1:49.59) and 200 IM (1:54.15), while Rachel Bootsma is qualified in the 100 back (51.86) and Celina Li in the 200 IM (1:54.25).
Backstroke Corps for the Ages: Perhaps no team in the NCAA has ever been as deep in the backstroke as this year’s Cal squad, which can boast of NCAA crowns, Olympic and World Championships gold medals and world and American records. Senior Cindy Tran captured national titles in the 100 back in 2011 and ’12 before sophomore Rachel Bootsma won the event last season. Sophomore Elizabeth Pelton took home the NCAA championship in the 200 back in 2013, setting an American record in the process. And, of course, there’s freshman Missy Franklin, the reigning Olympic and world champion in the 100- and 200-meter back who owns the world record at the 200-meter distance.
Missy Franklin Named Sportswoman of the Year: Golden Bear freshman Missy Franklin added to her long list of awards Oct. 16 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 WSF. 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.
More Honors for Missy Franklin: In addition to the Sportswoman of the Year Award, Missy Franklin has added several more honors to her collection so far this year. She was the high-point scorer at AT&T Winter Nationals and as a result, was tabbed the National Swimmer of the Week by collegeswimming.com and the Pac-12 Swimmer of the Month for December. That same month, ESPNW named Franklin its No. 3 most impactful female athlete of 2013 behind only Brittney Griner and Serena Williams. In addition, Time Magazine listed Franklin as one of the top 16 most influential teens of 2013. Among others included were Malia Obama and Lorde.
Anne Kastler Is January Diver of the Month: Sophomore Anne Kastler, who leads the Bears on both the 1-meter and 3-meter boards, was named the Pac-12 Diver of the Month for January. In dual-meet competitions against Arizona State, Arizona, USC and UCLA, Kastler finished no lower than third on either board and picked up 1-meter victories vs. Arizona, USC and UCLA. Her top scores were 295.20 on 1-meter and 321.75 on 3-meter against ASU.
Blogging with Eva Greene:Eva Greene, a junior from Falls Church, Va., is writing a regular blog for the Washington Post this season. Dubbed Behind the Blocks, Greene’s thoughts on the Bears can be found at reachforthewall.com. So far, topics she has covered include her passion for swimming, finding a warm-up routine, dealing with adversity and looking for balance during finals week.
Bears on USA National Team: Based on their results from several national and international competitions, seven Golden Bears have been selected for the 2013-14 U.S. National Team. Those on the current roster are Missy Franklin (100m free, 200m free, 100m back, 200m back), Elizabeth Pelton (100m back, 200m back), Rachel Bootsma (100m back) and Celina Li (200m IM, 400m IM). Alumnae chosen for the squad are Natalie Coughlin (50m free, 100m free), Dana Vollmer (100m fly) and Caitlin Leverenz (200m IM, 400m IM).
Cal Posts 11 Wins at AT&T Winter Nationals: Cal swimmers past and present accumulated 11 victories at the AT&T Winter Nationals in Knoxville, Tenn., Dec. 5-7. Missy Franklin captured the 100 back and 200 free, Elizabeth Pelton won the 200 back and 200 IM, Celina Li took the 400 IM and Golden Bear alum Natalie Coughlin claimed the 50 and 100 free. In addition, Cal prevailed in four of the five relays - 200 and 400 medley relay and 400 and 800 free relay. Franklin established a pair of school records, first with a runner-up finish in the 500 free (4;34.63) and then in the 200 free (1:41.40). All told, the Bears recorded 11 NCAA A standard individual swims, with each of the five relays also going under the A standard. Franklin, who was the high-point scorer, was named the National Swimmer of the Week by collegeswimming.com for her performance.
Olympic Roster: Among those listed on the Cal roster this season are five swimmers who competed at the 2012 Olympics in London, including a pair of gold medalists. Freshman Missy Franklin leads the crowd, having won four gold medals and a bronze medal, while sophomore Rachel Bootsma earned gold as part of the USA 400-meter medley relay. In addition, senior Stephanie Au represented Hong Kong, freshman Farida Osman swam for Egypt, and Marina Garcia competed for Spain.
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 (100m back, 200m back, 200m free, 400m medley relay, 400m free relay, 800m free relay) and Elizabeth Pelton (400m free relay and 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. In addition, senior Cindy Tran owns a pair of NCAA crowns in the 100 back from her freshman and sophomore seasons in 2011 and ’12.
Celina Li - Queen of the Pool: Freshman Celina Li came away with the title of Queen of the Pool at Cal’s opening meet at Cal Poly Sept. 20. The unique competition included a combined time from five 100-yard races - free, back, fly, breast and IM. Li had the lowest time (4:43.10), just ahead of 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.
Golden Bears Win a Golden Goggle: Cal freshman Missy Franklin and Golden Bear alumna Natalie Coughlin earned a Golden Goggle in late November as members of the USA 4x100-meter free relay that claimed a gold medal at the World Championships over the summer. The result earned them the Relay Performance of the Year Award. The Golden Goggles, presented by the USA Swimming Foundation, honors achievements in the sport over the past year.