Jan. 29, 2013
Cal Weekly Release
Friday, Feb. 1
1 p.m. - No. 7 Cal (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12) vs No. 1 USC (8-0, 4-0 Pac-12)
Spieker Aquatics Complex - Berkeley
Cal Series vs. USC: 20-13
Last Time vs. USC: W, 162-138 (1/27/12 in Los Angeles)
Coverage: Pac-12 Networks (delayed)
Saturday, Feb. 2
Noon - No. 7 Cal (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12) at No. 12 UCLA (11-0, 5-0 Pac-12)
Spieker Aquatics Complex - Berkeley
Cal Series vs. UCLA: 21-10
Last Time vs. UCLA: W, 177-122 (1/28/12 in Los Angeles)
Seventh-ranked California (5-1, 2-1 in the Pac-12) faces a big showdown with top-ranked USC (8-0, 4-0 Pac-12) as well as No. 12 UCLA (11-0, 5-0 Pac-12) this week at Spieker Aquatics Complex. USC is yet another major contender for this year's national title that Cal - the two-time defending NCAA champion - will face in some fashion before the NCAA Championships in March. The Bears meet the Trojans at 1 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 1, and will air on a delayed basis on the Pac-12 Networks. Cal takes on the Bruins at noon on Saturday, Feb. 2.
Rich Cellini and Summer Sanders are the broadcasters for the Cal-USC meet, which marks the Bears' second-consecutive swimming & diving broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks. Cal's meet at Arizona on Jan. 25 will air on the networks on Feb. 2.
The Bears have a typically challenging schedule in the regular season that has so far included No. 2 Georgia, No. 6 Arizona, No. 7 Texas and No. 20 Arizona State and will include No. 8 Stanford on Feb. 16. While not at a head-to-head meeting, Cal previously raced the Bulldogs in the Georgia Fall Invitational; Cal faced or will face the rest in dual meets.
Scouting the Bears
Leverenz - the Honda Sports Award winner for Swimming, NCAA and Pac-12 Swimmer of the Meet and Pac-12 Swimmer of the Year in 2012 - is coming off an amazing junior season that culminated - collegiately - in Cal's latest NCAA team championship. Her year only got better when she qualified for her first Olympics and then won her first Olympic medal - a bronze in the 200-meter individual medley - in London.
The lone senior on the team, Leverenz is the defending NCAA champion in the 200-yard IM and 200 breaststroke. She brings the country's second-fastest time in the 200 IM (automatic NCAA qualifying time of 1:54.30), third-best time in the 200 breaststroke (automatic NCAA qualifying time of 2:06.46), fourth-fastest time in the 400 IM (4:03.07, automatic NCAA qualifier), fourth-fastest time (tied with freshman teammate Rachel Bootsma) in the 200 butterfly (1:55.69, provisional or NCAA B qualifying time) and 13th-best time in the 100 breaststroke (1:00.33, NCAA B) to Arizona.
The 2012 U.S. Olympic head coach now in her 21st season as head coach at Cal, Teri McKeever led the Bears to win three of the last four NCAA team titles, including the last two. The USC graduate (class of 1983) along with associate head coach Kristen Cunnane (UCLA '05) and diving coach Todd Mulzet (who went to Pitt) are the leaders of a talented group of Golden Bears that also includes the following standouts:
The two-time defending NCAA champ in the 100-yard backstroke, junior Cindy Tran brings the nation's fastest time in the 100 back (50.42, NCAA A) for this week's duals; her other top-10 times include the following: eighth in the 200 back (1:53.24, NCAA B), seventh in the 100 butterfly (52.41, NCAAA B)
Freshmen teammates Bootsma and Elizabeth Pelton could be Tran's biggest challenges in her bid to threepeat as the 100-back champ; an Olympic gold medalist, Bootsma holds the nation's second-fastest time in the 100 back (50.54, NCAA A) and Pelton has the third-fastest 100-back mark (51.26, NCAA A)
Pelton also holds the nation's fastest times in the 200 back (1:48.90, NCAA A) and 200 IM (1:53.39, NCAA A), ranks third in the 200 freestyle (1:44.04, NCAA B) and is 13th in the 400 IM (4:09.89, NCAA B)
Bootsma has recorded Cal's best time in the 100 fly (3rd in the nation, 52.16, NCAA B) and is 11th nationally in the 200 IM (1:57.01, NCAA B)
Cal's talented freshman class includes Kelly Naze, who holds the 16th-fastest time in the country in the 400 IM (4:10.10, NCAA B)
Not to be outdone, the sophomore class includes Caroline Piehl (12th-fastest time in the 200 free/1:45.29, NCAA B) and backstroker Melanie Klaren (13th fastest in the 100/52.86, NCAA B, and 15th fastest in the 200/1:54.27, NCAAB)
Junior Stephanie Au - a 2008 and 2012 Olympian for Hong Kong - is yet another talented backstroker for Cal; a 2012 honorable mention All-American in the 200 back, Au currently holds the nation's 14th-best time in the 100 back (52.92, NCAA B)
Cal has posted faster times in each of the five relays so far this season; here's a comparison: 200-free relay - Cal's top time is 1:28.78 (3rd nationally), while USC's top time is 1:29.21 (5th); 400-free relay - Cal 3:13.66 (2nd), USC 3:16.29 (7th); 800-free relay - Cal 7:02.78 (2nd); USC 7:05.69 (6th); 200-medley relay - Cal 1:36.29 (1st); USC 1:37.40 (4th); 400-medley relay - Cal 3:29.86 (1st); USC 3:32.20 (3rd)
Junior Kahley Rowell became only the second Cal women's diver to reach the NCAA Championships in 2012 - she placed fifth on the platform - and leads the young Cal diving corps into the desert
Scouting the Opponents
U.S. Olympian and USC senior Haley Anderson won a silver medal in the marathon swim in London; she also won the 500 free and led the Trojans to a third-place finish at last year's NCAA Championships
Dave Salo is in his seventh season as USC's head coach; he served as an assistant coach under Teri McKeever on the U.S. Olympic coaching staff last summer
UCLA junior Kathryn Murphy currently holds the nation's seventh-best time in the 100 free (48.68, NCAA B)
Cyndi Gallagher is in her 25th year as head coach of UCLA; she coached Cal associate head coach Kristen (Lewis) Cunnane when the latter swam in Westwood from 2000-04
Cal split its two meets in the desert, topping No. 20 Arizona State, 177-121, on Jan. 26 in Tempe, Ariz., after falling to No. 6 Arizona, 168.5-112.5, on Jan. 25 in Tucson. Three Golden Bears - Caitlin Leverenz, Rachel Bootsma and Rachael Acker - won multiple individual events to lead the Golden Bears to victory over ASU at Mona Plummer Aquatic Center. The Bears won 10 of 16 events, including both relays, to surpass the Sun Devils.
Leverenz, the senior All-American and U.S. Olympic bronze medalist, captured the 200-yard butterfly, 200-yard breaststroke and 200-yard individual medley. Bootsma - the U.S. Olympic gold medalist - captured the 100 fly and the 100 backstroke. She also swam on both winning relays. Cal - with the quartet of Bootsma, Leverenz, Cindy Tran and sophomore Caroline Piehl - opened the meet by taking the 200-medley relay. The Bears (Bootsma, Acker, Tran and freshman Elizabeth Pelton) ended the meet with a win in the 200-freestyle relay. Acker collected a total of three wins, including in the 50 free and 100 free.
Against the Wildcats in Tucson, Leverenz won two events in front of her hometown fans, but Cal dropped lost at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center. The senior won both breaststrokes, and Cal won six of 16 events in losing its first dual meet of the season. Cal's Elizabeth Pelton also won twice - the 200 back and 400 IM - Tran won the 100-yard backstroke and Bootsma captured the 200 butterfly.
Cal returns to competition when its hosts the Cardinal on Feb. 16 at noon at Spieker Aquatics Complex in its last regular-season dual meet. Prior to the meet, the Bears will laud Caitlin Leverenz as part of Senior Day.