Bears Head to Washington for Pac-10 Diving Championships

Feb. 7, 2007

BERKELEY - The California women's divers, along with the Cal men's divers, head to the Pac-10 Championships this week in Federal Way, Wash. Cal diving coach Tom Davidson, who leads both sets of Golden Bears, has a young group of women's divers going to the conference meet, with freshmen Kristen Duffel, Stephanie Whalen and Samantha Young.

Whalen and Young will be heading back to familiar surroundings, as Whalen is from Bainbridge, Wash., and Young is from Shoreline, Wash.

Despite the location of the meet, the University of Southern California is the host of this year's Pac-10 Diving Championships.

Last Time Out:
Bears Have Strong Outing Against Stanford
On Feb. 3, against Stanford, Cal's Samantha Young finished second on both the one- (282.37) and three-meter (294.38) springboards to Cardinal senior All-American Cassidy Krug. The latter beat Young with a score of 301.57 at one meter and barely edged Young, 298.05-294.38, at three meters.

'For Sam to place as close as she did at three meters and again at one meter is a great accomplishment for her,' Coach Tom Davidson said. 'Sam's numbers show she's going to be someone to watch out for this year and for many years.'

'There are only two freshmen at Stanford, and we're all freshmen over here,' Davidson added. 'That shows we have a lot to look forward to for next year, in extending this rivalry, and also in leading up to next week at Pac-10s. This is a great lead-in to that meet.'

A Look at the Cal Divers
Samantha Young has had an outstanding first year so far, leading the Bears on both the one-meter (278.55 points, 2nd place, on Jan. 12 against Arizona State) and three-meter (306.83, 2nd place, on Jan. 12 vs. Arizona State) springboards and on the platform (219.95, 5th place, on Dec. 3, 2006, at the Georgia Invitational). She has also qualified to dive at the NCAA Regional, the prelude to the NCAA Championships.

The product of Shoreline, Wash., had won every diving event (one- and three-meter boards) for the Bears prior to the Georgia Invitational. In Athens, she took second place on the one-meter springboard (267.80), fifth place on the platform (219.95) and ninth place on the three-meter board (235.50).

'With Sam, if she dives like she has in most of the Pac-10 dual meets, she should definitely make the finals on the one meter and three meters,' Davidson said. 'From there, it's who has the on day, really.

'That's the nice thing about our sport: Some people can dive in prelims and can't dive at finals. It's all about going out and performing. I'm lucky to have her, because she does that really well.'

As with Young, Stephanie Whalen will be competing in front of her home crowd and should continue what has been a solid first season. Whalen hit her top score on the one-meter board in her first collegiate meet, notching a 238.50 with a second-place finish at Northwestern on Oct. 12, 2006. She picked up her top score at three meters more recently, when she scored a 251.18 with a third-place finish against USC on Jan. 19.

In her first career competition on the platform, Whalen recorded a 137.90 (12th place) on Dec. 2, 2006, at the Georgia Invitational.

In Cal's last meet, against Stanford, Whalen collected a 204.22 (5th place) at one meter and a 240.60 (4th place) at three meters.

'With Stephanie, I'm looking for her to finish in the top 16 and even the top 12 in one and three meter,' Davidson said. 'She's one of my more consistent divers - not too flashy, steady eddy, doesn't blow a dive. At Pac-10s, that's going to get you middle of pack or little bit better. She might even move up even closer into the top 10.'

Kristen Duffel, who is from Stockton, Calif., came on strong late in her first season, racking up her top scores on the one-meter (181.42) and three-meter boards (190.72) on Jan. 19 against USC.

'With Kristin, I'm looking for her to do her best and compete well,' Davidson said. 'She doesn't have the same degree of difficulty that some of the others have. If she can be in the top 20, that'd be awesome.'

Looking Ahead:
Cal Swimmers Prepare for Pac-10s
The Cal swimmers next compete at the Pac-10 Championships, Feb. 14-17 in Long Beach, Calif. Last season, the Bears finished fifth overall at the conference meet.

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