No. 4 Cal Gears Up for No. 7 Arizona, Arizona State

Jan. 21, 2009

Berkeley - Competing for the first time since the Georgia Invitational in early December, the fourth-ranked California Golden Bear women's swimming and diving team (2-1, 1-0 Pac-10) resumes dual meet action with two tough road matchups beginning with the defending national champion and seventh-ranked Arizona Wildcats on Friday, Jan. 23 at 1:00 p.m. PT and Arizona State Sun Devils on Saturday, Jan. 24, at 11:00 a.m. PT.

Cal recently spent its holiday break on a training and exercise trip in Hawaii (Jan. 5-15) while enjoying the sights, weather and beauty of Honolulu.

Head coach Teri McKeever broke down the trip into morning training sessions in the ocean, afternoon sessions focusing on techniques in small groups and light competition. The Bears had a short meet with the local Hawaii Swimming Club.

Cal certainly has a lot of momentum building as it begins its stretch run towards the conference and national championships, as evidenced by its performance at the Georgia Invitational (Dec. 5-7). Additionally, Cal swimmers have reached 17 personal bests this season.

In the final day of competition at the Georgia Invitational, five lifetime-bests were achieved. Amanda Sims swam a 1:55.57 in the 200-yard butterfly, which was also fifth on Cal's all-time top 10 performance list (also an NCAA B time). Freshman Shelley Harper also achieved a lifetime-best in the 200 fly with a 2:01.19.Junior Alexandra Ellis posted a lifetime-best 2:11.99, and now third on Cal's all-time top 10 performance chart in the 200-yard breaststroke, while senior Natalie LaRochelle reached a personal-best with a time of 2:18.44 (also in the 200 breast). Sophomore Tara Thomas clocked a lifetime-best mark of 48.91, 0.42 seconds lower than her previous best 49.33 in the 100-yard freestyle.

Cal's individual times also continue to be among the lowest in the nation. Dana Vollmer owns the second-fastest mark in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:43.66 - an NCAA qualifying mark. She also owns the sixth-fastest post of 52.11 in the 100-yard butterfly. Sims' lifetime-best of 1:55.57 in the 200 fly is the fourth-fastest in the nation, while Vollmer checks in with the 10th-fastest time of 1:56.24. Other notable national times include Madison Kennedy's 22.45 (15th-fastest) and Blake Hayter's 4:42.27 (12th-fastest) in the 500-yard freestyle.

After their Arizona swing, the Bears return home for three straight conference dual meets, beginning with USC on Jan. 30.

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