No. 2 Cal Heads to NCAA Championships

March 5, 2007

BERKELEY - The second-ranked California women's swimming team is sending 15 Golden Bears to Minneapolis, Minn., for the 2007 NCAA Championships this Thursday through Saturday at the Minnesota Aquatics Center. The Golden Bears, who wrapped up their 2006-07 dual-meet season with a 10-1 record, is familiar with the site, as they battled NCAA host Minnesota in their second meet of the season on Oct. 13, 2006.

Cal, which took third place at the Pac-10 Championships a few weeks ago in Long Beach, Calif., will send the following Bears to Minneapolis (the individual events the Bears qualified in and where their top times rank nationally also follow):

Lauren Andrews, Senior, 5-11, Palo Cedro, Calif. (Cal State Northridge) - 200-yard backstroke (18th)

Annie Babicz, Senior, 5-9, Sarasota Fla. (Pine View HS) - 100-yard breaststroke (7th)

Lauren Boyle, Freshman, 5-11, Whenupai, Auckland, New Zealand - 500-yard freestyle (7th), 200-yard freestyle (20th)

Alexandra Ellis, Freshman, 5-7, San Diego, Calif. (Westview HS) - 200-yard breaststroke (8th), 100-yard breaststroke (28th)

Courtney Eronemo, Freshman, 5-7, Kent, Wash. (Kentwood HS) - 400-yard individual medley (24th)

Jessica Hardy, Sophomore, 5-11, Long Beach, Calif. (Long Beach Wilson HS) - 100-yard breaststroke (1st), 200-yard individual medley (15th), 100-yard freestyle (16th)

Blake Hayter, Freshman, 5-7, San Diego, Calif. (Cathedral Catholic HS) - 1650-yard freestyle (17th)

Erin Reilly, Senior, 5-8, Sacramento, Calif. (Rio Americano HS) - 200-yard freestyle (3rd), 200-yard butterfly (4th), 500-yard freestyle (21st)

Rachel Ridgeway, Junior, 5-6, Chicago, Ill. (Loyola Academy) - 200-yard butterfly (5th), 400-yard individual medley (6th), 200-yard individual medley (17th)

Lauren Rogers, Sophomore, 5-7, Concord, Calif. (Carondelet HS)- 100-yard backstroke (3rd), 200-yard backstroke (18th)

Emily Silver, Junior, 5-11, Bainbridge Island, Wash. (Bainbridge HS) - 200-yard freestyle (1st), 100-yard freestyle (3rd), 50-yard freestyle (7th)

Leann Toomey, Junior, 5-6, Sammamish, Wash. (Holy Name Academy) - 100-yard butterfly (27th)

Sherry Tsai, Senior, 5-4, Hong Kong, China (Orange Coast College) - 100-yard backstroke (12th), 200-yard individual medley (12th)

Dana Vollmer, Sophomore, 6-0, Granbury, Texas (Florida) - 100-yard butterfly (1st), 200-yard butterfly (2nd), 50-yard freestyle (4th)

Heather White, Freshman, 5-6, Oakland, Calif. (Miramonte HS) - 400-yard individual medley (24th)

Relays - 400-yard medley relay (1st), 400-yard freestyle relay (1st), 200-yard medley relay (3rd), 800-yard freestyle relay (3rd), 200-yard freestyle relay (4th).

Last Year:Hardy, Silver Win Titles as Cal Takes Fourth at NCAAs
To cap the 2005-06 season, Cal senior Helen Silver won the 100-yard backstroke and then-freshman Jessica Hardy won the 100 breaststroke to lead the Bears to a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Championships. That was Cal's best team finish since the 1999-2000 season, in which the Bears also finished fourth at NCAAs.

Auburn won the team title with 518.5 points, followed by Georgia (515.5), Arizona (415) and Cal (291).

Silver, who also won the 200 back at the 2006 Pac-10 Championships, set a new lifetime best with a time of 1:53.01 in the NCAA final of the 100 back, on the final day of the meet. She was seeded first in the final after clocking a 1:54.25 - then, a lifetime best - in the morning preliminary.

Two days earlier, Hardy won the first national title by a Cal woman swimmer since Natalie Coughlin won the 100 back and 100 butterfly crowns in 2004. The Bears also won the 800 free relay that year.

Other top performances for the Bears included junior Erin Reilly's second-place finish in the 200 freestyle and third-place finish in the 500 free, sophomore Emily Silver's third-place finish in the 50 free, a third-place finish in the 400-medley relay, a fourth-place finish in the 800 free and a fourth-place finish in the 400-medley relay.

Cal Third at 2007 Pac-10 Championships
Third-ranked California won two more titles on Feb. 17 and finished third at the Pac-10 Women's Swimming and Diving Championships at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in Long Beach, Calif. The Golden Bears won the 400-yard freestyle relay in record time and Cal junior Emily Silver won the 100-yard freestyle on the last night of the meet. Overall, the Bears finished with 1355 points. Arizona won the meet with 1481.5 points. Stanford was second with 1410.

The Cal A team of senior Erin Reilly, Silver, sophomore Jessica Hardy and sophomore Dana Vollmer won the 400-free relay in a meet- and school-record time of 3:13.60, shattering the old meet record set last season by Arizona by three seconds.

Cal won nine titles, including six individual crowns and three relay victories, over the course of the four-day conference meet and improved on a fifth-place finish at last year's Pac-10 Championships. Vollmer was a part of five Pac-10 wins, including two individual titles (100 butterfly and a tie for first in the 50 free) and three relay victories (800-free relay, 400-medley relay and 400-free relay).

Silver clocked a lifetime- and Cal season-best 48.16 to claim the 100 free title, with Hardy taking fourth in a lifetime-best 49.26. Both times were automatic NCAA Championships qualifying times (NCAA A). Hardy moves up to fifth place on Cal's all-time fastest 100-free list, while Silver remains in second place on the list. Former Cal star Natalie Coughlin tops the list with a 47.00.

Three Bears finished in the top five of the 200 butterfly, with Vollmer taking second in a lifetime- and Cal season-best 1:54.02 (NCAA A), senior Erin Reilly swimming a lifetime-best 1:55.50 (NCAA A) for third and junior Rachel Ridgeway clocking a lifetime-best 1:55.87 (NCAA A) for fourth. Stanford's Elaine Breeden (1:52.99, NCAA A) edged Vollmer for the 200 fly title, one night after Vollmer defeated Breeden for the 100 fly crown.

All three Bears moved up on Cal's all-time list, with Vollmer ranking second, behind Coughlin (1:51.91). Reilly ranks fourth, behind another former Bears star, Mary T. Meagher (1:54.52), and Ridgeway ranks fifth.

In the 200 backstroke, senior Lauren Andrews had Cal's best finish, taking third in 1:57.22 (NCAA A), while freshman teammate Heather White was seventh in 1:59.62 (NCAA B). Andrews' time moved her to ninth on Cal's all-time list. Stanford's Julia Smit won the race in 1:54.88 (NCAA A).

Freshman Alexandra Ellis had Cal's best finish in the 200 breaststroke, taking fourth in a lifetime- and Cal season-best 2:12.48 (NCAA A). That times places her fifth in the school's all-time rankings. Stanford's Caroline Bruce won the 200 breaststroke in 2:09.32 (NCAA A).

In the 1650 free, Cal freshman Blake Hayter took sixth in 16:23.38 (NCAA A) and freshman teammate Lauren Boyle was eighth in 16:33.35 (NCAA B). Hayter's time also placed her sixth on Cal's all-time 1650-free list. UCLA's Katie Nelson won the race on Saturday with a time of 16:09.08 (NCAA A).

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