Cal Opens 2006-07 Season at Northwestern, Minnesota

Oct. 10, 2006

The California women's swimming and diving team, coming off a fourth-place finish at the 2006 NCAA Championships, a fifth-place finish at the Pac-10 Championships and an 11-0 dual-meet season, opens the 2006-07 season on the road at Northwestern and Minnesota this week. The Golden Bears take on the Wildcats at 5 p.m. CST on Thursday, Oct. 12, in Evanston, Ill., and then face the Golden Gophers at 6 p.m. CST on Friday, Oct. 13, in Minneapolis, Minn.

Cal head coach Teri McKeever has nine returning All-Americans, including sophomore Jessica Hardy, who won the 100-yard breaststroke in a time of 1:00.02 at the NCAA Championships last March in Athens, Ga. The Bears added another collegiate All-American during the offseason, when incoming sophomore Dana Vollmer joined Cal from Florida. Vollmer, a 6-0 product of Granbury, Texas, won a gold medal as a member of the United States' 800-meter freestyle relay at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.

All-Americans Dot Lineup
Cal's returning All-Americans include the following: seniors Erin Reilly, who specializes in the freestyle and butterfly, Annie Babicz (breaststroke/butterfly), Sherry Tsai (backstroke/free/individual medley) and Lauren Andrews (free/back); juniors Emily Silver (sprint free) and Leann Toomey (fly); and sophomores Hardy (breaststroke), Rachel Ridgeway (free/fly/IM) and Lauren Rogers (back/IM).

After Hardy and 2005-06 senior Helen Silver (200-yard backstroke champion), Reilly had Cal's next best finish at NCAAs, taking second place in the 200 free in a time of 1:44.63, which ranks her second in Cal's All-Time Top 10 List. Reilly was also third in the 500 free (4:41.84). Other strong races for the Bears last season included Emily Silver's third-place finish in the 100 free (48.47, 2nd Cal's All-Time Top 10 List) and sixth-place finish in the 50 free (22.39, 3rd) and Ridgeway's eighth-place finish in the 200 fly (1:56.94, 3rd).

Tsai, Reilly, Andrews, Emily Silver, Rogers, Hardy and Toomey all earned All-American honors in relays. Cal finished in the top 10 in four out of five relays, including a third-place finish in the 400-medley relay (3:34.10) with Helen Silver, Hardy, Reilly and Emily Silver.

Vollmer (free/fly) earned All-American status last season, when she led off Florida's eighth-place finish (7:03.75) in the 800-free relay at NCAAs.

Newcomers Bolster Bears
Besides Vollmer, the new Cal swimmers include freshmen Alexandra Ellis (breaststroke), Courtney Eronemo (IM/fly), Blake Hayter (free), Lindsey King (back/free), Amanda Larson (free), Jenna Wesley (free) and Heather White (back/IM). The divers, all freshmen, are Tessa Berman, Kristen Duffel, Stephanie Whalen and Samantha Young.

New Coaches Join Staff
Johan Steiner is in his first year as an assistant coach to McKeever and Tom Davidson is in his first year as the head coach of the men and women's divers. Steiner, a Cal alumnus, has been a swimming coach at the club level and still competes in masters swimming meets and in triathlons. He was a head coach with the Temescal Masters club in the late 1980s and was an assistant coach with the Golden Bear Swim Club from 1986-89. He also served as the 2003 Pac-10 Championships Meet Director when Cal hosted the event in Federal Way, Wash.,

A former U.S. national champion and All-American at Indiana, Davidson coached at Illinois State this past season, leading one Redbird to the NCAA Zone Diving Championships for the first time in her career. Davidson brings club-coaching experience to Cal, after leading Redbird Diving (2005-06) and serving as an assistant at Twin City Diving (2003-04) and at J.P. Divers (2001-04).

Scouting Northwestern
Northwestern finished in a tie for 41st place at the 2006 NCAA Championships. The Wildcats got a point from then-sophomore Andrea Hupman, who was 14th in the 100 free (49.64) at NCAAs to earn honorable mention All-America honors. More recently, Hupman was named to the U.S. team that will compete at the 2007 World University Games to be held Aug. 5-18 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Also at last season's NCAAs, the Wildcats got three points from then-freshman diver Chelsea Davis, who was 14th on the one-meter springboard.

Jimmy Tierney is in his 13th season as the head coach of the NU women's swimmers. Previously, he spent six years as NU's assistant coach. He will join Hupman in Thailand, as he is an assistant on the coaching staff that will coach the U.S. national team at the 2007 World University Games. Nichole Ellis is his first-year assistant coach.

Diving coach Alik Sarkisian is in his first year of coaching the Wildcats.

Scouting Minnesota
Minnesota took 21st place at the 2006 NCAA Championships, after collecting 48 points. Seven of those came on Yuen Kobayashi's 10th-place finish in the 1,650 free (16:19.44). Now a sophomore, Kobayashi was one of six Golden Gophers freshmen who competed at NCAAs. The product of Osaka, Japan, was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and earned All-Big Ten honors, after winning the 500- and 1,650-yard frees and swimming on the victorious 800-free relay team at the conference championships.

The other Minnesota freshmen, now sophomores, who competed at NCAAs include Christine Jennings, who was 17th in the 1,650 free (16:30.67) and Erin Holtmeyer, who joined then-freshmen Stacy Busack, and two seniors on the 12th-place 200-free relay (1:31.78). Also, current sophomores Busack, Jenny Shaughnessy, and Meredith McCarthy joined then-senior Sarah Perrot on Minnesota's 15th-place 400-free relay (3:21.87).

Kelly Kremer and Terry Nieszner are in their third year as co-head swimming coaches and Jason Baumann is in his second year as Gophers head diving coach.

Looking Ahead
Cal opens its home schedule when it hosts San Jose State at 1 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27, and Washington State at 12 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28, at Spieker Aquatics Complex. The Bears complete their three-match homestand when they welcome Pacific to Berkeley at 1 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 3.

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