June 8, 2012
BERKELEY - Accolades continue to roll in for the 2012 NCAA champion California Golden Bears, as this week the team earned the top Championship Performance Award, associate head coach Kristen Cunnane claimed the Assistant Coach of the Year Award and strength and conditioning coach Nick Folker garnered the Impact Honor, the College Swimming and Diving Honors announced.
Cal head coach Teri McKeever and Cunnane led the Bears to their second straight NCAA team title and third championship in four years with another set of sterling performances at the national meet. The Cal women won a school-record seven individual/relay titles in 2012 en route to capturing their latest NCAA championship. Of the individual titles, junior Caitlin Leverenz won the 200-yard individual medley and 200-yard breaststroke, senior Liv Jensen captured the 50 freestyle, senior Sara Isakovic won the 100 butterfly and sophomore Cindy Tran repeated as the NCAA's 100-backstroke champ. The Bears also won the 200-medley relay (with Tran, Leverenz, senior Colleen Fotsch and Jensen forming Cal's relay) and the 400-medley relay (Tran, Leverenz, Isakovic and senior Katherine Raatz) at NCAAs.
Cunnane, who completed her fifth year with the program this spring, is an integral member of Cal's nationally renowned program. In particular, she has played a key role in recruiting some of the top talent in the nation to Berkeley, including the latest crop of blue-chip Bears, which is arguably the top recruiting class in the United States. Previously Cal's assistant coach, Cunnane earned a promotion to associate head coach in December.
A former Olympic swimmer for South Africa, Folker works with both the Cal women's and men's swimming and diving teams; both squads repeated as NCAA champs in 2012. The eighth-year coach's contributions have been instrumental in keeping the Bears in championship form, as Folker directs the teams' weight and dryland programs as well as guides the Bears' nutritional requirements.