Women's Swimming Splits Squad to Pacific Invitational, SMU Classic

Oct. 22, 2002

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BEARS SPLIT SQUAD TO STOCKTON, DALLAS: The Cal women's swimming and diving team (1-0) splits its squad this weekend to compete at the Pacific Invitational in Stockton, Calif. and the Southern Methodist Classic in Dallas, Texas Oct. 25-26. The events will serve as good preparation for a Golden Bear team that swims its next several meets on the road, including a Nov. 1 stop in Athens, Ga. to take on the Lady Bulldogs, last season's national runner-up.

LAST COMPETITION: The Golden Bears opened the 2002-03 season with a 142-116 win over Pacific in a dual meet at Spieker Aquatics Complex. Cal was led by junior Natalie Coughlin, the regining two-time NCAA Swimmer of the Year, who won three events in the 1000-yard freestyle (9:55.25), 100-yard backstroke (55.41) and 100-yard butterfly (53.21). Others that notched wins for Cal included senior Staciana Stitts, who won the 100-yard breaststroke (1:02.72) and 200-yard individual medley (2:05.36) and freshmen Whitney Rockwell and Helen Silver, and sophomore Marcelle Miller. Rockwell won the 50 free (23.99) and Silver took the 200 back (2:02.35), while Miller swam a 2:20.10 in the 200 breast to capture the event.

2001-02 RECAP: The Golden Bears had eight swimmers reach All-America status. All-Americans include Coughlin, Danielle Becks, Michelle Harper and Stitts, while Micha Burden, Lauren Medina, Ashley Whitney and Kyoko Yokouchi earned honorable mention honors. Coughlin, the 2001 and 2002 NCAA and Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year who has set three world records and 27 American records, capped a superb freshman year with an even more successful sophomore season. She earned the USA Swimming Athlete of the Year and Performance of the Year award for her world record breaking swim in the 100-meter backstroke. At 58.59, Coughlin shattered the record, becoming the first female to ever post a sub-minute finish. At the NCAA Championships, she won national titles in the 100 fly (50.01), and 100 (49.97) and 200 back (1:49.52), setting NCAA records in all three events-breaking the old NCAA records she had set in 2001. Cal finished eighth at the 2002 NCAA Championships, bolstered by Coughlin's three wins, Stitts' fourth place finish in the 100 breast and the team's national runner-up finishes in the 200 and 400 medley relays. Cal placed fourth at the Pac-10 Championships, bettering its fifth place finish from the year before. The Bears won five titles at the 2002 championships, as Coughlin set new conference records in the 200 free (1:43.30) and 100 (50.71) and 200 back (1:50.90).

SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS: Cal competes against several swimming and diving strongholds at the SMU Classic, including Alabama, Florida State, Pacific, UCLA and host SMU. Last season, SMU turned in a ninth-place finish at the NCAA Championships, led by sophomore Flavia Rigamonti who, as a freshman, was crowned NCAA Champion in both the 500 free and 1,650 free events. The Razorbacks finished in 18th-place at the NCAA Championships and are led by junior breaststroker Anne Poleska, who had two third-place finishes at the championships. The Seminoles' strength is their diving squad, as they feature the 2002 ACC Diver of the Year (Chelsie Lerew) and Rookie Diver of the Year (Tiffany Manning). Manning paced seventh in the platform diving event at NCAAs. Cal has a 20-2 dual meet record against Pacific, including a win over the Tigers to open this season. Pacific finished in 15th place at the NCAA Championships and won the 2002 Big West Title. Cal has fared well against UCLA recently, winning the past six dual meets versus the Bruins. UCLA features five All-Americans on its squad, and finished 17th at the NCAA Championships. At the Pacific Invitational, the Bears take on the Tigers, as well as BYU, Fresno State and fellow Pac-10 team, Washington State. Last season, Cal defeated Fresno State, 182-112, in the opening dual meet of the year. The Bears are perfect in dual meets against both the BYU (4-0) and Washington State (5-0) Cougars.

HEAD COACH TERI MCKEEVER: Teri McKeever, the 2002 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, is in her 11th season as Cal's head women's swimming coach. McKeever also won the American Swimming Coaches Association's Coach of the Year award last month. She has an 86-37 (.700) dual meet record with the Golden Bears and a 140-59 (.704) overall record (five yeas as women's head coach at Fresno State). In the last six seasons, she has led Cal to top 10 national finishes every year, including an eighth place showing at the 2002 NCAA Championships.

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