No. 4 Cal Heads to Athens for 2006 Georgia Invitational

Nov. 29, 2006

BERKELEY - The fourth-ranked California women's swimming and diving team (6-0) will compete at the 2006 Georgia Invitational Dec. 1-3 at Gabrielsen Natatorium on the campus of the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga. Each day will begin with 9:30 a.m. ET preliminaries. The finals will start at 5 p.m. ET on Friday and Saturday, and the Sunday finals will begin at 3 p.m. ET.

In the Rankings
The latest College Swimming Coaches Association of America national poll ranks Cal, with 243 points, at No. 4 in the nation. Stanford (269) is No. 1, Arizona (256) is No. 2 and Auburn (246) is No. 3. Three other Pac-10 teams - No. 9 Southern California (196), No. 14 UCLA (153) and No. 24 Arizona State (61) - are in the top 25.

Last Time Out:
Bears Cruise to Win over Gauchos
Fourth-ranked California won every race except for one to defeat UC Santa Barbara, 142-95, on Nov. 17 at the Gauchos' Campus Pool. The Golden Bears improved their dual-meet record to 6-0, while the Gauchos fell to 1-5.

Three Cal swimmers won two events each. Senior Sherry Tsai claimed the 100-yard backstroke (56.0) and the 100-yard freestyle (52.17). Sophomore teammate Jessica Hardy took top honors in the 200-yard IM in a time of 2:02.01 and in the 200-yard breaststroke, clocking in at 2:16.59. Senior teammate Lauren Andrews was a double winner in the 1000-yard freestyle (10:15.16) and the 200-yard backstroke (2:01.91).

Other winners for the Bears included senior Annie Babicz in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:04.56), senior Erin Reilly in the 100-yard butterfly (56.12), junior Rachel Ridgeway in the 200-yard freestyle (1:52.11), sophomore Dana Vollmer in the 200-yard butterfly (2:01.84) and junior Emily Silver in the 500-yard freestyle (4:59.21).

The Bears (Reilly, Vollmer, freshman Blake Hayter and junior Kelly Stravers) also won the 200-yard freestyle relay, recording a time of 1:37.03.

Hardy Sets the Pace
All-American sophomore Jessica Hardy, the defending NCAA champion in the 100-yard breaststroke, is the first and so far only Bear to have automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships. Hardy swam qualifying times of 1:01.02 and 1:01.01 in the 100-yard breaststroke on back-to-back days earlier this fall. Hardy won those races against Northwestern on Oct. 12 in Evanston, Ill., and against Minnesota on Oct. 13 in Minneapolis, Minn.

Hardy also holds Cal's top times of the season in the 200 breaststroke (2:14.48 set vs. Minnesota) and 200 individual medley (2:02.21, Nov. 17 vs. UC Santa Barbara).

Young Leads Divers
Samantha Young has had a strong freshman season so far, leading the Bears on both the one-meter (261.62 points on Oct. 27 vs. San Jose State) and three-meter (274.13 on Oct. 27 vs. San Jose State) springboards. The product of Shoreline, Wash., has won every diving event (one- and three-meter boards) for the Bears this season, in meets against Northwestern, Minnesota and San Jose State.

The Bears have not competed on the platform yet but will do so at the Georgia Invitational.

Scouting the Field at the Georgia Invitational
Cal is one of six women's teams in the field at the Georgia Invitational, which will also include a men's competition. The women's field includes eighth-ranked Georgia and four unranked teams: Georgia Tech, Missouri, Harvard and Minnesota. The Bears met the Golden Gophers earlier this season, winning the Oct. 13 dual meet, 188.5-108.5.

One of Georgia's biggest names is senior Kara Lynn Joyce, the defending NCAA champion in the 100- and 200-yard freestyles who has already tallied automatic NCAA qualifying times in the 50 free (22.62) and 100 free (49.35) this year. She also won the 50 and 100 frees at NCAAs as a freshman and sophomore.

The Bulldogs have an 8-1 record, which includes victories over Arkansas, 178-114, and Emory, 192-102, on Nov. 17 in Athens. Georgia won nine of 16 events against the two teams. Junior Anna Miller (10:06.41 in the 1000-yard freestyle and 23.72 in the 50 free) and senior Claire Maust (1:07.07 in the 100 breaststroke and 4:51.07 in the 500 free) each won two races for the Bulldogs.

Decorated coach Jack Bauerle, who has led the Bulldogs to four NCAA team championships, is in his 28th season as Georgia's head swimming coach. Dan Laak is in his 20th year as Georgia's head diving coach. Bauerle led the Bulldogs to a runner-up finish at the 2006 NCAA Championships. Earlier this fall, USA Swimming named Bauerle the head coach for the 2008 U.S. Olympic women's swimming team. He also led the U.S. women at the 2005 World Championships in Montreal.

Cal-Georgia Connections
Two members of Jack Bauerle's Georgia coaching staff are former Bears. Eleventh-year assistant coach Carol Capitani was an All-American at Cal, under her maiden name of Carol Felton, and first-year assistant coach Vic Riggs was also an All-American in Berkeley.

At the 2005 Georgia Invitational
Then fifth-ranked Cal took second place to host and top-ranked Georgia at last year's Georgia Invitational. The Bears compiled 905 points to the Bulldogs' 1007.5 at the meet, which ran Dec. 2-4 in Athens.

On the meet's final day, Cal's Helen Silver, Emily Silver and Jessica Hardy each placed first in an event as did the Bears' 400-yard freestyle relay team of Hardy, Erin Reilly, Lauren Andrews and Emily Silver. Helen Silver won the 200 back in 1:56.23 (NCAA A), followed by Lauren Rogers (4th, 1:58.75, NCAA B), Sherry Tsai (5th, 1:59.05, NCAA B) and Andrews (8th, 2:01.05, NCAA B).

In the 100 free, Emily Silver took first (49.00, NCAA A), followed by Reilly (2nd, 49.50, NCAA B), and Ashley Chandler (9th, 50.95, NCAA B). Hardy placed first in the 200 breast (2:14.13, NCAA B) and Annie Babicz took third (2:15.52, NCAA B) in the race.

Hardy, Reilly, Andrews and Emily Silver posted a winning time of (3:17.44, NCAA A) in the 400 free relay. Also finishing in the top 10 were Cal teams of Tsai, Rogers, Kelly Stravers and Chandler (4th, 3:24.29 B) and Babicz, Helen Silver, Leann Toomey and Rachel Ridgeway (8th, 3:26.76).

Looking Ahead:
Bears Face Arizona State, Arizona
Cal opens 2007 with dual meets in Arizona, where it faces Arizona State at 1 p.m. on Jan. 12 in Tempe and Arizona at 1 p.m. on Jan. 13 in Tucson.

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