Cal Inks 8 New Golden Bears

Nov. 12, 2009

BERKELEY - California, the defending NCAA and Pac-10 champion, signed a talented and diverse group of seven swimmers and one diver to National Letters of Intent, Cal head coach Teri McKeever and Cal diving coach Ben Herdt announced on Thursday. The swimmers include two Golden Bears - Samantha Shellem (La Verne, Calif./Lutheran High School) and Deborah Roth (Corte Madera, Calif./Redwood High School) - who recently competed with the U.S. youth national team and one Bear - Stephanie Au (Hong Kong, China/Sacred Heart Canossian School) - who was a 2008 Olympic teammate of Cal sophomore Hannah Wilson.

McKeever's recruits include Melissa Bates (Tustin, Calif./Mater Dei High School), Kearsten Livingstone (Canyon Country, Calif./Canyon High School), Mikkel-Ane Stipe (Oceanside, Calif./La Costa Canyon High School) and Cindy Tran (Westminster, Calif./Edison High School). Herdt signed diver Lena Kardos (Aliso Viejo, Calif./Laguna Beach High School).

'I am thrilled to announce this group of young women and I am excited that they have decided to join us,' McKeever said. 'Each of them is a talented student-athlete that was looking for a combination of world-class education and athletic experience. [Cal assistant coach] Kristen Cunnane, the team and I worked hard to find women that are the right fit for Cal and our swim program. This group is excited to carry forward the rich tradition of personal growth and athletic excellence.'

Seven of the eight new Bears, other than Au, hail from the state of California.

Cal's incoming class possesses strong freestylers in Au, Shellem and Stipe and versatility in Tran (backstroke/butterfly/freestyle), Bates (breaststroke/sprint free/individual medley), Roth (backstroke/freestyle) and Livingstone (fly/back).

Au was a member of the Hong Kong team that competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She swam in the 200-, 400- and 800-free preliminaries, setting Hong Kong records in the 200 (2:00.85) and 800 (8:41.66). She joins Wilson and former Bear Sherry Tsai as members of the 2008 Hong Kong Olympic team who have made their way to Cal.

Roth (North Bay Aquatics club) and Shellem (La Mirada Armada) swam for the United States in the FINA World Cup meet from Nov. 10-11 in Stockholm, Sweden. Shellem reached the 400-free final, taking eighth place in a time of 4:10.69, and also swam in the 100-free heats (56.68). Roth finished 17th in the 50-meter back prelim (28.16) and 19th in the 100-meter back prelim (1:01.44).

Shellem, who swam in the 200- and 400-meter frees at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials, and Roth are slated to swim in the next World Cup meet scheduled for Nov. 14-5 in Berlin, Germany.

Tran (West Coast Swimming) swam in the 100- and 200-meter breaststrokes at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials and was a member of the 2008-09 U.S. junior national team. Also in 2008, she broke the U.S. national 15-16 age-group record in the 100-yard back with a time of 52.52. That broke the record of 52.55 set by former Cal great Natalie Coughlin in 1998.

Bates (Orange County Waves) was also a member of the 2008-09 U.S. junior national team. She swam in the 100- and 200-meter breaststrokes in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials.

Livingstone (Canyon Aquatics) has already posted long-course times of 1:01.66 in the 100-meter fly and 2:12.64 in the 200-meter fly that qualify her for the 2010 USA National Championships.

Stipe (North Coast Aquatics) is a sprinter whose top 50-yard free time is 23.79, which she swam in the prelims of the USA Swimming Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, last March. She was part of her club's second-place finish in the 200-free relay in Austin.

Kardos, who also dives for Mission Viejo Nadadores, took part in the 2009 US Diving Spring and Summer Junior Region 9 meets. Competing for Laguna Beach High School, she finished third on the one-meter springboard in the 2009 CIF-SS Division 3 Swimming and Diving Championships.

'She's got a great gymnastics background and is relatively new to the sport of diving,' Herdt said. 'But she's making tremendous strides and will definitely be able to contribute to our team.'

The current Cal swimmers return to action in the Toshiba Classic slated for Nov. 19-21 in Long Beach, Calif., while the Cal divers next compete in the Texas Invitational scheduled for Dec. 3-5 in Austin, Texas.

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