Nov. 13, 2012
BERKELEY - Second-ranked California sends its swimmers to the Arena Invitational and its divers to the Wildcat Diving Invitational this week. The Golden Bears won the 2011 Arena Invitational en route to its latest NCAA championship. UC San Diego is the host of the meet, which runs from Thursday, Nov. 15, to Sunday, Nov. 17, at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in Long Beach, Calif. Arizona's diving invitational runs from Friday through Sunday at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center in Tucson, Ariz.
The Arena Invitational will provide the Bears with the chance to familiarize its swimmers with competing on consecutive days at a meet with morning preliminaries and nightly finals - conditions the Bears will face at the Pac-12 Championships and NCAA Championships.
Please visit this link for live results from Long Beach. For more information on the Arena Invitational - including psych sheets, ticket details and more - please visit its official website by clicking here.
Last Time: Bears Beat Texas and Wisconsin
The meet was the Bears' home opener and featured the return of Cal alumna and Texas head coach Carol (Felton) Capitani.
On a weekend filled with events lauding California's aquatic programs, the Bears continued their run of success when they won all 16 events against the Badgers in a 170-110 victory on a sunny afternoon at Spieker. The Bears improved their record to 4-0 after the nonconference dual meet, while Wisconsin fell to 3-4.
Bootsma won a total of four events, including the 50-yard freestyle and 200-yard individual medley, while Cal's divers won both springboard events. Freshman Lauren Driscoll won her first event at home, capturing the 1000 freestyle in a time of 10:01.73.
Last Year at the Arena Invitational
This marked Leverenz's second individual victory at the Arena Invitational; she won the 200-yard individual medley on Nov. 17 and also took second in the 400 IM on Nov. 18.
Cal sat in second place behind then-leader Stanford to start the day. But the Bears capped their team victory by taking second place in the 400-yard freestyle relay, the last final of the night. Senior Sara Isakovic, Jensen, freshman Camille Cheng and senior Katherine Raatz swam an NCAA B qualifying time of 3:19.68 for the Bears.
Leverenz clocked an automatic NCAA qualifying and meet-record time of 2:09.23 to win the 200 breaststroke, with freshman Yvette Kong winning the consolation final and taking ninth overall with an NCAA B qualifying time of 2:13.91. Jensen posted an NCAA B qualifying time of 48.96 to take the 100 free; her victory pushed Cal past Stanford on the meet scoreboard and gave the Bears a lead they never relinquished. Fellow senior Sara Isakovic clocked an NCAA B cut of 1:57.79 in Cal's best finish - third place - in the 200-yard butterfly.
Freshman Taylor Nanfria swam a time of 17:13.24 to take 18th in the 1650 freestyle.
Last Year at the Wildcat Diving Invitational
Rowell's fourth dive was an inward three and a half somersault in the tuck position, resulting in a score of 54.40. Next, the sophomore's back two and a half somersault in the tuck position scored a 58.50 and clinched the win amidst a platform field of 39 divers.
Hayes was the only Bear to reach the championship final of the three-meter springboard, posting a score of 235.30 to finish eighth. Hayes posted a score of 248.25 to take fifth place in the consolation final of the one-meter springboard. No Bears reached the championship final.
Cal Repeats as NCAA Champion, Winning Third Title in Four Years
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
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
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.
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