March 13, 2012
Thursday-Saturday, March 15-17
BERKELEY - Defending national champion California seeks to add its third crown in four years when it competes in the NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships this week in Auburn, Ala. Fifteen Golden Bears will take part in the national meet that runs from Thursday, March 15, through Saturday, March 17, at Auburn's James E. Martin Aquatics Center. Cal head coach Teri McKeever brings a talented lineup to Alabama, including Liv Jensen, the 2010 NCAA champ in the 50-yard freestyle; defending NCAA 100-yard backstroke champ Cindy Tran; U.S. star Caitlin Leverenz; 2008 Olympian Sara Isakovic; and 2011 Pan Am Games gold medalist Catherine Breed.
The swimming contingent features many All-Americans from the 2011 title team including seniors Liv Jensen and Sara Isakovic, junior Caitlin Leverenz and defending NCAA 100-yard backstroke champ Cindy Tran along with six freshmen, including 2011 Pan Am Games gold medalist Catherine Breed. This is only the second time in program history and the first time since Teri McKeever has been head coach that Cal has qualified a diver - sophomore Kahley Rowell - for the NCAA Championships, which will aid the Bears in their bid to repeat.
NCAA Championships Fan Information
Schedule of Events (all times CT)
Thursday, March 15 11 a.m. -- Prelims -200 freestyle relay -500 freestyle -200 individual medley -50 freestyle -400 medley relay 1:30 p.m. -- 1-meter diving prelims 3:30 p.m. -- 1-meter diving consolation 7 p.m. -- Finals -200 freestyle relay -500 freestyle -200 individual medley -1-meter diving -400 medley relay
Scouting the Golden Bears
Kaylin Bing, freshman swimmer, Roseburg, Ore., qualified in the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays - One of several fabulous freshmen on the Cal squad, Bing was a member of the Bears' fastest 200-free relay, whose time of 1:29.13 ranks ninth fastest in the nation entering NCAAs, and of Cal's best 400-free relay, whose time of 3:16.48 stands as the 12th-fastest relay in the nation entering nationals.
Catherine Breed, freshman swimmer, Pleasanton, Calif., qualified in the 200 and 500 freestyles and 800-free relay - A U.S. gold medalist in the 200-meter free and 800-meter free relay at last fall's Pan Am Games, Breed is one of the many rising young stars on the Cal squad. She swam on the winning 800-free relay at Pac-12s - that squad's time of 6:57.86 ranks second fastest in the nation - and posted her fastest 200-free time of 1:44.44 in the Pac-12 prelims. Breed later took sixth in the 200-free final (1:45.15).
Camille Cheng, freshman swimmer, Beijing, China, qualified in the 400-free relay - One of six freshmen to qualify for NCAAs, Cheng swam on the 400-free relay that took third place in a time of 3:16.80 to clinch Cal's Pac-12 team championship.
Colleen Fotsch, senior swimmer, Palo Alto, Calif., qualified in the 100 butterfly and 200-medley relay - The veteran swam the fly leg of Cal's top 200-medley relay this season - that relay posted a winning time of 1:36.73 at the Georgia Fall Invitational - and recorded her best 100 fly (52.61) in the prelims at the Pac-12 Championships; she finished seventh (52.79) in the final. At last year's NCAAs, she won titles with Cal's 200-free and 200-medley relays.
Shelley Harper, senior swimmer, Walnut Creek, Calif., qualified in the 500 free, 400 IM and 200 butterfly - Brings the fourth-fastest 500-free time in Cal history - and the seventh-best time in the nation this year - to NCAAs, swimming 4:38.50 in the prelims at the Georgia Fall Invitational; she clocked a time of 4:38.79 to place third in the final. Her best 200-fly time (1:56.75) earned her 10th at Pac-12s and ranks ninth all-time at Cal as well as 22nd fastest in the United States. Harper posted the third-fastest 400 IM time in school history (4:10.12, 20th nationally) in the prelim at the Georgia Fall Invitational and later took sixth (4:11.71) in the final.
Sara Isakovic, senior swimmer, Bled, Slovenia, qualified in the 200 free, 100 fly, 200 fly, 400-medley relay, and 400- and 800-free relays - In her last collegiate meet, the 2008 Olympian could swim up to six events, including the 200 free (1:44.06, nation's 6th-best time), 100 fly (51.72, nation's 3rd fastest) and 200 fly (1:54.87, nation's 8th best). At Pac-12s, Isakovic won the 100 fly with her top time, led off Cal's winning 800-free relay with her fastest 200-free time and placed third with her best 200-fly time. Also, she swam on Cal's Pac-12 winning 400-medley relay, which set a U.S. Open, NCAA, Pac-12 and Pac-12 meet-record time (3:28.26) and swam on the third-place 800-free relay, which posted the nation's second-fastest time (6:57.86) to this point, at Pac-12s.
Liv Jensen, senior swimmer, Palo Alto, Calif., qualified in the 50, 100 and 200 frees; the 200- and 800-free relays; and the 200- and 400-medley relays - Cal's iron woman has qualified for NCAAs in the most events on the team (7), including in the 50 free, which she won at 2010 NCAAs. The school record-holder (21.50) in the sprint, she posted her top time of this year (21.70) to win the Pac-12 title and clocked her fastest 100 free (47.42) to win that conference title. Her best 200-free time (1:44.01) placed her second at Pac-12s and ranks her fifth in the country as well as fourth in school history, and she joined three teammates in capturing the 400-medley relay at the conference meet. She won NCAA titles with Cal in the 200-free relay and both medley relays in 2011.
Melanie Klaren, freshman swimmer, Laguna Niguel, Calif., qualified in the 100 back - The southern California product swam her top 100-back time (52.74) when she finished 10th in the Pac-12 Championships.
Yvette Kong, freshman swimmer, Hong Kong, qualified in the 100 breaststroke - Another Hong Kong native for the Bears, Kong posted her fastest 100-breaststroke time (1:00.78) in the prelims of the Georgia Fall Invitational; she later placed sixth in the final (1:01.03).
Caitlin Leverenz, junior swimmer, Tucson, Ariz., qualified in the 200 and 400 IMs, 200 breaststroke and 400-medley relay - The junior star has posted school records in each event she qualified in for NCAAs: 200 IM (1:52.43), 400 IM (3:58.46), 200 breaststroke (2:05.49) and 400-medley relay (3:28.26). Leverenz posted her top times in the 400 IM and 200 breaststroke when capturing both conference titles, and she took second with her fastest 200-IM time at Pac-12s. At 2011 NCAAs, she swam the breaststroke legs of Cal's winning medley relays.
Caroline Piehl, freshman swimmer, Centennial, Colo., qualified in the 200 free and 800-free relay - She clocked her fastest 200 free when she placed ninth (1:45.78) at the Georgia Fall Invitational and swam on the winning 800-free relay at Pac-12s.
Katherine Raatz, senior swimmer, Phoenix, Ariz., qualified in the 200- and 400-free relays - Raatz has now reached the NCAA Championships in both her years as a Golden Bear. This season she swam on the Bears' fastest 200-free relay, whose time of 1:29.13 ranks ninth fastest in the nation entering NCAAs, and on the Cal's best 400-free relay, whose time of 3:16.48 stands as the 12th-fastest relay in the nation at this point.
Kahley Rowell, sophomore diver, Dove Canyon, Calif. - Rowell is just the second diver in school history to qualify for the NCAA Championships. She clinched her spot in Auburn with a third-place finish in the platform final - with a score of 542.35 - at the NCAA Zone E Qualifying Meet on March 10.
Cindy Tran, sophomore swimmer, Westminster, Calif., qualified in the 100 and 200 backs; 100 fly; 200 free; and 200- and 400-medley relays - The defending NCAA champ in the 100 back, Tran followed up her fantastic freshman year with an equally strong sophomore season. Most recently she swam the backstroke legs of Cal's victorious 200- and 400-medley relays and won the 100 back - with the nation's fastest time (50.65, 2nd all-time at Cal) - at the Pac-12 Championships. She swam the backstroke legs of both of Cal's NCAA-winning medley relays last season.
Final CSCAA Dual-Meet Rankings
Bears Win Inaugural Pac-12 Championship
The Bears won the Pac-10 team championship in 2009.
Jensen won the 100-yard freestyle in an automatic NCAA qualifying time of 47.42, which is a career-best time and the third-fastest time in Cal history. Leverenz, a junior, captured the 200-yard breaststroke title in a school-record and automatic NCAA qualifying time of 2:05.49.
Overall, Cal won six individual events - Leverenz in the 400-yard individual medley and 200 breaststroke, Jensen in the 50 and 100 frees, Isakovic in the 100 butterfly and Tran in the 100 backstroke - and three relays - the 200- and 400-medley relays and the 800-free relay - en route to earning its conference crown.
Last Year at the NCAA Championships
Cal head coach Teri McKeever also earned her second Swimming Coach of the Championship award in three years after leading the Bears to their national title.
The Bears won their first NCAA team crown in the Lone Star State, reaching the top podium in College Station, Texas, on the campus of Texas A&M in 2009.
As in 2009, the 2011 Cal squad tied a program high with five national titles - the 100-yard butterfly (senior Amanda Sims), 100-yard backstroke (freshman Cindy Tran), 200- and 400-yard medley relays, and 200-yard freestyle relay.