Women's Swimming Competes at Pacific Friday

Oct. 7, 2003

Led by 2003 NCAA Swimmer of the Year Natalie Coughlin, the University of California women's swimming team opens its season at Pacific Friday, Oct. 10 at 1 p.m. in Stockton, Calif. This year's squad features seven returning All-Americans including seniors Coughlin, Danielle Becks, Micha Burden and Natalie Griffith, junior Lauren Medina and sophomores Cheryl Anne Bingaman and Helen Silver.

Natalie Coughlin, a three-time NCAA and Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year, is vying for her fourth consecutive such honors. Last season, Coughlin dominated her sport like no other swimmer, breaking three world, seven American and three NCAA records. Her outstanding performances and achievements consistently generated significant recognition, as she was named the 2002 World Swimmer of the Year by Swimming World in December and was one of five finalists for the 73rd Annual AAU James E. Sullivan Memorial Award given to the nation's top amateur athlete for the second consecutive year. In three seasons at Cal, Coughlin has nine NCAA titles and a perfect Pac-10 dual meet race record (43-0). She has broken a total of six world records, 34 American records and holds 11 Cal school records.

The Bears feature five first-year collegiate swimmers this season. Annie Babicz, from Sarasota, Fla., is a versatile swimmer who will contribute in the breast, fly and IM events. Babicz was nationally ranked No. 1 in the 100 breast during her 2001 high school season and was a member of the 2002 U.S. National Junior team and competed at the 2000 Olympic trials. She also was a four-time Florida state champion in the 100 breast and three-time champion in the 100 fly. Catherine O'Neal, from Austin, Tex., will also contribute in the breaststroke events. Erin Reilly is a distance freestyler/butterflier from Sacramento, Calif. An 11-time high school All-American in the 200 and 500 free, 100 fly and 200 and 400 free relay events, Reilly was also the Sac-Joaquin section record holder in the 100 fly and 200 free. Cal also added two backstrokers to its roster this season with Kelly Sanders (Los Altos Hills, CA) and Nadia Staubitz (Mesa, AZ). Staubitz, who is also a prolific butterflier, was the 2002 Arizona state high school champion in the 100 and 200 back.

Cal has a 20-2 dual meet record versus Pacific. The Bears defeated the Tigers, 142-116, last October in Cal's first meet of the season. In 2003, Pacific claimed its second consecutive Big West conference championship title. Pacific is led by senior butterflier Shannon Catalano, who was named the 2003 Big West Swimmer of the Year. The Tigers are piloted by Danny May, who in his first season as Pacific's head coach, earned 2003 Big West Coach of the Year co-honors.

2002-03 RECAP
Cal claimed eighth place at the 2003 NCAA Championships with 215 points. Natalie Coughlin led the Bears with her third consecutive titles in the 100 and 200 back and 100 fly. She earned her third NCAA Swimmer of the Year honor and became the first swimmer in NCAA history to win three titles in the 100/200 back and 100 fly. She also broke the NCAA and American record in the 100 free (47.00), leading off the Bears' 400 free relay. At NCAAs, three school records fell at the championships. Staciana Stitts rewrote her school record in the 100 breast with a time of 1:00.30, while the 200 (1:30.03) and 400 free relays (3:16.21) also set new school records. At the 2003 Pac-10 Championships, the Bears placed fifth (940.5 points). Cal hosted the conference meet in Federal Way, Wash. Coughlin came away from the meet with three individual victories. She broke her own American record in the 100 free (47.42) and posted two other championship meet records in the 50 free (22.05) and 100 fly (51.01). She also swam the second leg on Cal's victorious 200 free relay team (1:31.01), helping Cal to its fifth-consecutive 200 free relay championship title. Other Bears that posted top five finishes included Helen Silver's runner-up finish in the 200 back (1:58.08) and fifth-place showing in the 100 back (54.85). Stitts also posted a fifth-place finish in the 100 breast (1:02.47). In addition to Cal's win in the 200 free relay, the Bears' other relays teams were impressive. The Bears' 200 free relay and 200 and 400 medley relays each finished second. In the regular season, Cal finished 8-3 overall and 4-2 against Pac-10 opponents.

Several returnees from the 2002-03 Cal edition were splashed on the 2003 College Quick 50-a list of the top 50 times in the nation for each event. Additionally, the Bears' 400 free (3:16.21) and 400 medley relays (3:34.95) ranked third, while their 200 free (1:30.03) and 200 medley relays (1:38.65) ranked fourth. Cal's 800 free relay swam the ninth-fastest time in the country last season at 7:13.52. The following swimmers were listed on the final compilation of last season's times. Natalie Coughlin-50 free (3rd, 22.01), 100 free (1st, 47.00), 200 free (1st, 1:42.65), 500 free (1st, 4:37.62), 100 back (1st, 50.92), 200 back (1st, 1:50.86), 100 fly (1st, 50.62), 200 fly (1st, 1:51.91), 200 IM (21st, 2:00.62), 400 IM (8th, 4:11.76); Helen Silver-100 back (15th, 54.25), 200 back (16th, 1:57.81); Kate Tiedeman-500 free (40th, 4:48.94), 1650 free (40th, 16:37.38); Danielle Becks-50 free (46th, 23.12); Natalie Griffith-400 IM (41st, 4:19.31); Lauren Medina-200 free (49th, 1:48.90); Marcelle Miller-200 breast (24th, 2:15.06); Amy Ng-400 IM (48th, 4:20.18).

HEAD COACH Teri McKeever
In just 11 years of leading the Golden Bears, Teri McKeever has set the Cal women's swimming program apart as one of the most elite in the nation. During that time, McKeever has compiled an impressive 93-40 dual meet record (.699). With 16 years experience as a head coach, McKeever boasts a 147-62 overall record, good for a .703 winning percentage record (five years as women's head coach at Fresno State). Nine out of the 11 years she has coached in Berkeley, the Bears have encompassed winning seasons. And, in the last seven seasons, McKeever has led Cal to Top 10 national finishes every year, including an eighth place showing at the 2003 NCAA Championships.

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