Oct. 10, 2009
BERKELEY - California produced a well-rounded performance to defeat Pacific, 158-87, in the Golden Bears' first dual meet of the 2009-10 season on Saturday afternoon at Spieker Aquatics Complex. Cal (1-0) won 13 of 14 events against the Tigers (0-1), with freshman Caitlin Leverenz winning her two events in NCAA B qualifying times. Four Bears - senior Heather White, junior Erica Dagg, sophomore Sara Isakovic and Leverenz - each won two individual events at the meet for the defending NCAA and Pac-10 champions.
The Cal men's team likewise defeated the Pacific men at Saturday's co-ed meet, which did not include diving.
"Our girls did a nice job of coming out of the gates and really attacking the first dual meet," Cal assistant coach Kristen Cunnane said. "I thought we did a really nice job of bringing our A game, bringing a lot of energy and really getting after it."
Leverenz, the decorated swimmer from Tucson, Ariz., easily won the 200-yard breaststroke in a time of 2:13.13. She also won the 400-yard individual medley in an NCAA conditional qualifying time of 4:13.96.
"Caitlin solidified that she's a superstar," Cunnane said. "There are a lot of exciting things to watch with her over the next four years for me as a coach. She's very open to learning and trying new things. That's great to find in someone who's already had as much success as she's had."
White also posted an NCAA B qualifying time (4:19.12) in the 400 IM. The local product from Oakland, Calif., won the 100 breaststroke (1:05.08) and 200 backstroke (2:03.33).
"We had a meeting with Heather yesterday and talked about what she wants to accomplish her senior year and what kind of Cal legacy she wants to leave behind," Cunnane said. "I'm just really proud of her coming so early in the season and not settling into a second- or third-place role on the team, but really getting after races from the start and racing and winning events."
Dagg, from New Orleans, led a top-four Cal sweep of the 100 backstroke (56.71) and later claimed the 100 freestyle (50.76). In the 100 back, Cal sophomore Colleen Fotsch, a transfer from Notre Dame, took second (57.20), freshman Samantha Pearson was third (58.48) and sophomore Ursula Dailey was fourth (1:00.08).
"Erica did an awesome job last season, and we're looking for her to step into a leadership role on the team this year," Cunnane said. "I thought she did a really great job today in racing. She's not going to surprise anyone this season. She has a different set of expectations this year, and I thought she did a good job of handling that."
Isakovic, the Bled, Slovenia, product who won the silver medal in the 2008 Olympics in the 200-meter freestyle, won Saturday's 200-yard free in an NCAA B qualifying time of 1:47.45. Cal also filled the top four spots in the 200 free, as junior Hannah Wilson finished second (1:51.82), sophomore Shelley Harper took third (1:51.86) and senior Courtney Eronemo placed fourth (1:55.99).
"Sara Ice, I'm proud of her," Cunnane said of Isakovic. "She's taken her sophomore step really nicely and used her experience from her freshman year to come in and get after things. I think she's still learning a lot, and we're excited to see what she can do this year."
The quartet of Fotsch, senior Alexander Ellis, junior Amanda Sims and sophomore Liv Jensen led Cal to victory in the first race of the meet - the 200-medley relay (1:43.72). Bears co-captain Lauren Boyle, from Auckland, New Zealand, won the next race, the 1000 free, in a time of 10:00.79.
Newcomer Katie Kastes, a junior from Palm Harbor, Fla., who transferred to Cal from Arkansas, edged Sims to win the 200 butterfly (2:02.55-2:02.88). Jensen, from Palo Alto, Calif., was strong in the 50 free, winning in 23.55.
Sims, a Santa Rosa, Calif., native who won the 100 butterfly at the 2009 NCAA Championships last March, won the 100 fly against Pacific in a time of 55.56.
Cal would have won the last race of the day, the 400-free relay, but swam its four relays as exhibitions. Its top foursome of White, Wilson, freshman Laura Evans and senior Amanda Larson posted a time of 3:28.15. Pacific officially won the race in a time of 3:53.95.
The Bears next hit the road to take on UC San Diego on Thursday, Oct. 15, and San Diego State on Saturday, Oct. 17, in San Diego.
Cal Results vs. Pacific
200-Yard Medley Relay
400-Yard Individual Medley
*NCAA B qualifying time