Cal Opens Season at Washington and UBC

Sept. 29, 2004

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Date: Friday-Saturday, Oct. 1-2, 2004
Place: Seattle, WA/ Vancouver, BC
Time: 2:00 p.m. (Friday) / 5:00 p.m. (Saturday)

The Golden Bears open the 2004-05 season this weekend with their Pac-10 opener at the University of Washington on Friday and a trip across the border to the University of British Columbia on Saturday, in Vancouver, B.C. Cal features four swimmers from the region, including sisters Helen and Emily Silver, a junior and freshman respectively, and freshman Leann Toomey. The Silvers hail from Bainbridge Island, an island in the Puget Sound close to Seattle, while Toomey comes to Berkeley from Sammamish, Washington and graduated from Holy Name Academy in Seattle. Fellow freshman Genevieve Patterson hails from Portland, Oregon.

Although Cal will be without the incomparable Natalie Coughlin for the first time in four years, as well as fellow 2004 All-Americans Danielle Becks, Micha Burden, and Natalie Griffith, the Bears are full of young talent. Cal returns seven 2004 All-Americans: sophomores Annie Babicz and Erin Reilly, juniors Ashley Chandler and Helen Silver, seniors Keiko Amano, Lauren Medina, and Emma Palsson. Further, the Bears return three of the four members of the national championship 800-meter free relay squad (Reilly, Chandler, and Medina).

For up to date results and recaps, visit

Despite competing in the same conference, the Huskies and Bears have met only three times in dual meets, with the Bears holding a 2-1 edge. They last met on Oct. 30, 1998, when Cal dominated 100-22 in Berkeley. This weekend marks the first ever meeting between Cal and the University of British Columbia.

Washington finished eighth of nine programs at the Pac-10 Championships last spring with 396.0 points. The Huskies sent two swimmers to NCAA Championships last year with current senior Desiree Johnson placing highest at 30th in the 100-meter backstroke. For meet results and more information on the Washington Huskies, visit

The Thunderbirds of the University of British Columbia are seven-time Canadian national champions, beating out such schools as Calgary, Alberta, and Toronto. For meet results and more information on UBC's Thunderbirds, visit


HEAD COACH Teri McKeever
Teri McKeever enters her 13th year at the helm of the University of California women's swimming program after making history this past summer as the first woman ever to be named a coach of a U.S. Olympic swimming team. As an assistant coach of the U.S. swim team in Athens, McKeever helped guide Cal alum Natalie Coughlin to five medals, including two gold, and the entire U.S. swimming team to 28 medals, including 12 gold. Under her direction, Cal women's swimming program has become one of the most elite in the nation. In her 12th year at the helm of the Cal women's swimming program, McKeever led the 2003-04 Golden Bears to a sixth-place national finish and a 9-0 dual meet season. Her teams have finished in the Top 10 nationally for the last eight years in a row. McKeever has amassed an impressive 102-40 dual meet record (.718) and 10 out of the 12 years she has coached in Berkeley, the Bears have encompassed winning seasons. McKeever was an All-American at USC and received her B.S. in Education and Master's in Athletic Administration from Southern California.

Whitney Hite enters his second-year as an assistant coach at Cal. In his first season with the Golden Bears in 2003-04, Cal posted an undefeated dual meet record and beat Stanford for the first time since 1978. The Denver native came to Berkeley after serving as an assistant coach with the University of Georgia's swimming staff for five years. With the Bulldogs, he helped Georgia's women's team to three straight national championships, 1999-2001. Hite swam sprint freestyle for the Longhorns and graduated with a B.S. in sports management from Texas in the spring of 1997. He earned his master's degree in education from Georgia in 2001.

Ron Kontura was hired August 10, 2004, to take Cal's diving program to the world-class level. Kontura brings a decade of elite club and collegiate experience to Berkeley. Kontura was both the diving coach and director of business operations of Nadadores Diving in Mission Viejo, Calif., from 2002-2003. Kontura earned his Master's in Business Administration from Illinois State University in 1999 and his Bachelor's in Business Administration from Ohio University in 1991.

The 2004 Olympics were not only red, white, blue, but also blue and gold as the Golden Bears participated as both coaches and athletes at the Games. The Cal contingent was headed by head coach Teri McKeever who made history as the first woman to ever serve as a coach on the U.S. Olympic swim team staff. McKeever was joined by former Cal stars Natalie Coughlin and Haley Cope. Coughlin, who competed as a senior for Cal last season in 2003-04, won five medals, tying a record for medals won at a single games by an American woman in any sport. Coughlin won gold in both the 100-meter backstroke and the 800-meter freestyle relay, silver in the 400-meter medley and 400-meter freestyle relays, and bronze in the 100-meter freestyle. Cope won a silver medal for her role in the preliminaries of the 400-meter medley relay. In addition, new sophomore transfer Sherry Tsai represented Hong Kong at the Games. It was Tsai's second trip to the Olympics, having represented her homeland in Sydney at the 2000 Olympics.

Cal features five newcomers who competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials and one new Olympian. Sophomore transfer Sherry Tsai represented her native Hong Kong at the 2004 Athens Games and the 2000 Sydney Games. Tsai comes to Berkeley from Orange Coast College, a junior college in Costa Mesa, Calif. Freshman Jessica Cotton of Stockton, Calif. finished 47th in the 800-meter freestyle (9:10.19) at the U.S. Olympic Trials. She was joined in Long Beach by Oregonian Genevieve Patterson, who claimed 26th in the 100-meter breast (1:12.33) and freshman Leann Toomey of Sammamish, Washington who finished 70th in the 100-meter fly (1:04.31). Another Pacific Northwest freshman, Emily Silver, sister of junior Helen Silver competed in two events at the Trials, seizing 15th in the 50-meter free (26.09) and 30th in the 100-meter free (57.28).

2003-04 RECAP
Cal claimed sixth place at the 2004 NCAA Championships (235.5 points). The Top 10 finish was highlighted by a national title in the 800-meter freestyle relay and two individual national titles in the 100-meter backstroke and 100-meter butterfly, both won by Natalie Coughlin. Coughlin led off on the 800-meter freestyle national championship squad, followed by Erin Reilly, Ashley Chandler, and Lauren Medina (7:50.94). Cal sent 15 athletes to the NCAA Championships, its most ever, and 11 of them earned All-American honors.

Cal finished fourth at the Pac-10 Championships held in Long Beach, CA, Feb. 25-28 as a team, but claimed several Pac-10 titles. Cal's 1,117.5 points were close behind third-place Arizona (1,221.5), second-place UCLA (1,329) and first-place Stanford (1,380), demonstrating the parity in the upper echelon of the conference. Cal was over 250 points ahead of its next competitor, fifth-place Arizona State, which finished with 863 points. Coughlin won three individual Pac-10 titles, in the 200 IM, 100 backstroke, and 100 freestyle. Coughlin set a school and conference record with her 1:54.95 time, the second-fastest 200 IM in NCAA history. In the relays, Cal's 800 freestyle relay team (Reilly, Chandler, then-senior Micha Burden, and Medina) set a new school and Pac-10 record in the event. The Golden Bears had not won the Pac-10 800 relay title since 1988. The 400 freestyle relay team also took home a Pac-10 title, as Coughlin, then-senior Danielle Becks, Burden, and Medina teamed up to finish the event in 3:18.25.

Cal finished the 2003-04 season undefeated, 9-0 in dual meets. The ninth win required an upset of rival Stanford for the first time since 1978. Up to the challenge, the Golden Bears won a thrilling meet, 151-149, on enemy turf, at Avery Aquatics Center. Heading into the final event, the Golden Bears trailed by seven points but head coach Teri McKeever's club overwhelmed the Cardinal with first and third place finishes in the 400m freestyle relay. That first-place finish came in an NCAA `A' time of 3:41.20 with a team of Coughlin, Becks,Burden and Medina while the third-place finish was anchored by current senior Keiko Amano. It was only the third time Cal ever beat Stanford.

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