Feb. 14, 2013
BERKELEY - With her final home meet coming up on Saturday, Cal's multiple NCAA champion and U.S. Olympic bronze medalist Caitlin Leverenz chatted with CalBears.com about her fondest memory at Spieker Aquatics Complex, how it feels to be Cal's lone senior and what music she listens to while getting ready to compete. Leverenz currently holds three individual pool records at Spieker - 200-yard breaststroke (2:09.45), 200-yard individual medley (1:38.36), 400-yard IM (4:09.51) - and swam on the 400-yard medley relay that set a pool-record time of 3:36.36.
CalBears.com: Will you have family and friends in attendance at the Stanford meet?
Caitlin Leverenz: Yes, my parents will be coming up from Tucson, and I know there will be a lot of alumni and other Cal student athletes there to support us as we take on the Cardinal.
CalBears.com: What's your fondest memory of swimming at Spieker, whether in a dual meet or in practice?
CL: My fondest memory at Spieker is the Stanford dual meet the last time it was at Cal, two years ago. It was a beautiful sunny day and the stands were packed. We had been going back and forth on who was winning the meet, and it came down to the last relay. We were losing the relay until the third leg, and we came back to out touch them and win the meet.
CalBears.com: The Big Meet will mark the third straight week that one of your team's competitions will be featured on the Pac-12 Networks. While you're used to swimming in televised meets at the national and international levels, what does it mean for Cal in particular and Pac-12 swimming & diving in general to have the Pac-12 Networks show your sport?
CL: It's awesome to see swimming getting more coverage, especially Cal, whether it's on the Pac 12 Networks or on NBC. We enjoy the added excitement that cameras bring to our meets.
CalBears.com: When (as a junior, sophomore, etc.) did you realize that you were the only swimmer left from your freshman class, and how strange did that feel?
CL: I was the only one in my class after the end of my freshmen year. I never really thought much about it and it didn't make a big difference until this year. It was been odd to be the only senior on the team!
CalBears.com: You're a co-captain with sophomore Caroline Piehl. What kind of leader are you?
CL: I am the leader on the team with the most experience, so I really try to use that when I am helping my teammates. But we have a lot of leadership among each class really, all leaders in different ways.
CalBears.com: Your first meet of this semester was in your hometown of Tucson against then-No. 6 Arizona. How did it feel to swim in your hometown in your last college season?
CL: It was really fun to get to swim in front of a home town crowd, with all my family and many friends there to cheer me on. It was a fun way to start out the spring dual-meet season.
CalBears.com: Your team lost to Arizona and more recently to top-ranked USC. Even though dual-meet results don't mean much in the grand scheme of things - for example, the 2009 team had a 4-4 dual-meet record but still won Cal's first NCAA championship - what has your young team learned from those two losses?
CL: In some ways those losses we had allow us to learn and grow more as a team than winning would. Both USC and Arizona did a good job of exposing our weaknesses, so now our job is to learn from those meets as we go into the championship season.
CalBears.com: What warm-up music do you listen to before a meet?
CL: Depends on my mood, sometimes I turn on Pandora or make up my own playlists on my phone. Ellie Golding, David Guetta or Calvin Harris are some good ones.
CalBears.com: Once swimming is over what kind of career do you want to pursue? Perhaps something related to your public health major?
CL: I am thinking of pursuing a career in nursing or public health; something closely related to the medical field.