Oct. 24, 2012
2012-13 Pac-12 Cal Men's and Women's Swimming Preview Video
With a pair of tune-up meets under their belts, the California Golden Bears start the dual-meet season on the road this week against BYU and Pac-12 opponent Utah in the Beehive State. The Golden Bears will swim and dive against the Cougars on Friday, Oct. 26, at 5 p.m. PT in Provo and then against the Utes at 11 a.m. PT on Saturday, Oct. 27, in Salt Lake City.
The Utah meet should end around six hours before the Cal football team also plays the Utes in Salt Lake City.
The Cal women hold a 4-0 advantage in the all-time series with BYU and a 1-0 lead in the short series with Utah. Cal beat the Utes, 174-105, last season, Utah's first in the conference. The Bears last took on the Cougars in 1998, when they beat BYU, 162-134.
Scouting the Bears
Cal boasts a star-studded lineup, even with the recent graduation of some of the talented Bears who won NCAA titles and contributed to the Bears' three NCAA championships in four years
Leading the way is the lone senior on the team, Caitlin Leverenz, the 2012 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist who was the top collegiate swimmer in the nation last year, when she won the Honda Sports Award for Swimming, her second straight NCAA team championship and her first individual NCAA titles in the 200-yard breaststroke and 200-yard individual medley
The 200-meter IM bronze medalist in London last summer, Leverenz also won the 200-meter IM and finished second in the 400 IM at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials
Elizabeth Pelton bolsters Cal in the IMs; the freshman - a member of Cal's talented recruiting class from a year ago - just missed earning an Olympic berth after she finished third in the 200-meter IM at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials
Early in the season, Pelton holds the fastest time in the nation in the 200-yard IM (1:58.91)
Another returning NCAA champion is junior Cindy Tran, the two-time defending NCAA champ in the 100-yard backstroke
Cal has arguably the best set of backstrokers in the nation on its roster, led by Tran, freshman Rachel Bootsma, Pelton and sophomore Melanie Klaren, who earned All-America honorable mention in the 100 and 200 backstrokes at last year's NCAAs
Bootsma won a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics for the United States after swimming the backstroke leg of the preliminary round of the 400-meter medley relay; the U.S. eventually won the final
Bootsma took second in the 100-meter back at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials
Likely Cal's top performer in the 200-yard back, Pelton finished third in the 200-meter back at 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials
Cal is also strong in the middle-distance freestyle, with sophomores Catherine Breed and Caroline Piehl - who earned All-America honorable mention in the 200 and 500 frees and in the 200 free, respectively, last season, along with freshman Lauren Driscoll, who competed in the 200- and 400-meter frees as well as the 400-meter IM at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials
The Bears remain strong in the distance freestyle events, with Bears including Breed - who posted the second-fastest 1650 free in Cal history (16:10.13) when she took third in the Pac-12 Championships last year - Driscoll, an 800-meter free specialist
Along with Pelton's top time in the 200 IM, the Bears currently hold several other top-10 times, with Pelton clocking her fair share of them: third in the 100 backstroke (Pelton, 54:06), fourth in the 200 back (Pelton, 1:57.93), fifth in the 100 back (Bootsma, 54.49), seventh in the 200 free (Pelton, 1:48.20), seventh in the 500 free (Pelton, 4:50.78), seventh in the 800-free relay (7:29.89), eighth in the 100 butterfly (Bootsma, 54.48), eighth in the 200 IM (Leverenz, 2:03.00), eighth in the 400 IM (Pelton, 4:14.28), ninth in the 400-medley relay (3:45.90), 10th in the 100 breaststroke (Leverenz, 1:02.36),
Teri McKeever - the 2012 U.S. Olympic head coach - is in her 21st season as Cal's head coach
California dominated the pool on Oct. 13 at the Early Bird Invitational and captured the early season tune-up at the Fresno State Aquatics Center. The Golden Bears scored 505.5 points, with the host Bulldogs second (217) and San Jose State, which only competed on the first day of the two-day meet, was third (80.5).
The Bears won every event that day other than the three-meter springboard - none of Cal's divers competed in Fresno - and triumphed in 18 of 20 events overall, including four victories on Oct. 12. The Bulldogs won both diving events, including the one-meter springboard.
Cal won all three relays on Oct. 13 and all five (including the 200-yard medley relay and 800-yard freestyle relay the previous day) over the two days. The A team of freshman Kelly Naze, junior Cindy Tran, sophomore Catherine Breed and freshman Rachel Bootsma swam a meet-record time of 1:35.78 to win the Saturday's opening 200-yard freestyle relay.
Three of those four Bears - Tran, Naze and Breed - joined senior Caitlin Leverenz to form the Cal B squad's victorious 400-yard medley relay (meet-record 3:45.90). Cal's B quartet of freshman Lauren Driscoll, sophomore Camille Cheng, junior Stephanie Au and freshman Elizabeth Pelton closed the meet by capturing the 400-freestyle relay with a meet- and pool-record time of 3:26.08.
Leverenz - the 2012 NCAA champion in the 200-yard individual medley and 200 breaststroke - won both breaststroke events on Saturday, clocking a meet- and pool-record time of 1:04.53 in the 100 and a meet - and pool-record time of 2:17.23 in the 200.
Cal veterans won a total of four individual races on Oct. 13. Tran - the two-time defending NCAA champ in the 100 backstroke - won her signature event in Fresno in a time of 56.19. Sophomore Taylor Nanfria posted a meet-record time of 17:19.60 to capture the 1650 free.
The talented freshmen class won six individual races for the Bears on Oct. 13. Pelton won the 200 free (meet- and pool-record time of 1:48.20) and the 200 back (meet- and pool-record time of 1:57.93). She would have won the 400 IM (meet-record 4:41.28) and 100 back (meet- and pool-record 54.06) as well, but swam those events as exhibitions (garnering no points for Cal). Driscoll (4:27.65) earned the win in the 400 IM.
Bootsma set a meet-record time of 56.61 to win the 100 butterfly; Rachael Acker - who took second in the 50 free on Friday - took first in the 100 free (meet- and pool-record 51.18); and Kelly Naze took home the 200 fly (2:03.90). Leverenz set a meet- and pool-record time of 2:00.99 in the 200 fly with her exhibition swim.
The Bears open their home dual-meet season on Nov. 2 against Texas, which is led by head coach and former Cal swimmer Carol (Felton) Capitani.
Cal Repeats as NCAA Champion, Winning Third Title in Four Years
Contributions from every Golden Bear at the 2012 NCAA Championships - including 200-yard breaststroke champ Caitlin Leverenz and Kahley Rowell, only the second California diver to qualify for the national meet - gave Cal a repeat championship and its third national title in four years on March 17 at Auburn's James E. Martin Aquatic Center. Rowell's fifth-place finish on the platform clinched the title for the Bears before the last event of the meet - the 400-yard freestyle relay. Leverenz won the 200 breaststroke earlier in the night and later earned the NCAA Swimmer of the Meet award. Cal head coach Teri McKeever claimed the NCAA Coach of the Meet award.
The Bears scored 412.5 points, while second-place Georgia had 366, third-place USC tallied 325.5, fourth-place Stanford scored 318 and fifth-place Arizona collected 299.
Leverenz's 200-breaststroke win gave Cal a total of seven individual/relay titles at NCAAs, including her victory in the 200-yard individual medley, senior Liv Jensen's win in the 50 free, sophomore Cindy Tran's repeat title in the 100 backstroke and senior Sara Isakovic's championship in the 100 butterfly as well as Cal's 200- and 400-yard medley relay wins.
McKeever at Cal and Beyond
After completing her All-America swimming career at USC, Teri McKeever - the future U.S. Olympic and Cal head coach - worked as an assistant coach at her alma mater from 1984-87. She then coached the Fresno State women's team from 1988-1992 and coached the FSU men from 199-92. She compiled a 54-22 dual-meet record with the Bulldog women and a 19-18 record with the men. McKeever joined Cal as its head coach starting with the 1992-93 season.
Last summer, McKeever became the first woman to claim the role of U.S. Olympic swimming head coach, leading a U.S. team that included current Bears Caitlin Leverenz and Rachel Bootsma along with former Cal stars Natalie Coughlin, Dana Vollmer and Jessica Hardy. Her other protégés in London included current Bear Stephanie Au (Hong Kong) and alumnae Sara Isakovic (Slovenia), Hannah Wilson (Hong Kong) and Lauren Boyle (New Zealand).
McKeever became the first woman to coach in any capacity on a U.S. Olympic swimming team when she worked as a U.S. assistant in the 2004, a role she duplicated in the 2008 Olympics. She was also the first woman to serve as a U.S. head coach at a major international meet when she led the women's national team in the 2006 Pan Pacific Championships.
Last March, her Bears won their second consecutive NCAA team title - and third in four years - one month after they won the inaugural Pac-12 team championship. McKeever, who also led Cal to NCAA titles in 2009 and 2011, claimed the Coach of the Meet award for the third time after emerging triumphant at this year's national meet. In April, the conference named her its Pac-12 Coach of the Year, which marked McKeever's fifth conference award (including awards in 1999, 2002, 2009 and 2011).
In 2002, McKeever garnered the American Swimming Coaches Association Coach of the Year award.
Olympic Summer for Cal Women's Swimming
Forty six athletes, coaches and administrators represented Cal at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, and together, they brought home a school-record-tying 17 medals (11 gold, 1 silver, 5 bronze). The Bears have won 50 medals over the past three Olympics (16 in 2004, 17 in 2008, 17 in 2012), and they have captured 178 medals all-time (99 gold).
The Cal swimming contingent produced perhaps the most prominent Golden Bears in London. Among the current Bears, U.S. and Cal head coach Teri McKeever, Caitlin Leverenz (USA), Rachel Bootsma (USA) and Hong Kong's Stephanie Au took part in the Games.
McKeever was the U.S. Olympic head coach for the first time, after working as a U.S. assistant coach in the 2004 and 2008 Games
Leverenz won her first Olympic medal by capturing a bronze medal in the 200-meter individual medley
Bootsma won gold after swimming the preliminary heats of the eventually victorious U.S. 400-meter medley relay
Au - competing in her second consecutive Olympics for Hong Kong - swam in the 100 and 200 backstroke heats
Cal No. 1 Public University in the Country
The University of California is the No. 1-ranked public university in the United States, according to U.S. News and World Report. The faculty has won 22 Nobel Prizes, including nine current members, while 28 alumni have received a Nobel Prize. A National Research Council analysis of U.S. universities concluded that the campus has the largest number of highly ranked graduate programs in the country (48 of 52). Cal also has a long commitment to public service, with more than 4,000 students annually doing volunteer work and more than 3,000 Peace Corps participants all-time.