No. 6 Cal Swims at U.S. Nationals, Dives in Texas This Week

Dec. 2, 2009

On the Pool Deck
Sixth-ranked California (2-0 dual-meet record) will send its swimmers to the 2009 AT&T Short Course National Championships this week, from Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 3-5 in Federal Way, Wash., and its divers to the Dec. 3-5 Texas Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame Invitational in Austin, Texas. The Golden Bears will also swim in the U.S. Long Course Timed Final National Invitational on Sunday, Dec. 6. in Federal Way.

In 2007, the Cal swimmers finished second at short course nationals in Atlanta, with 229 points behind Auburn's 383. The Bears' foursome of Lauren Rogers, Alexandra Ellis, Dana Vollmer and Emily Silver edged Auburn to win the 400-yard freestyle relay in a time of 3:38.47. The Cal quartet of Vollmer, Lauren Boyle, Madison Kennedy and Silver won the 800-free relay in a time of 7:06.50.

Scouting the Golden Bears
The Bears have had a strong start to the 2009-10 season. Freshman Caitlin Leverenz won the Queen of the Pool title at the season-opening meet in Cal Poly on Sept. 18. Cal topped Pacific, 158-87, Oct. 10 in its home, dual-meet opener at Spieker Aquatics Complex. After a productive trip to San Diego, which included a relay meet at San Diego State and some ocean training in mid-October, the Bears won their second dual meet of the year, besting Fresno State, 166-111, on Nov. 5 at Spieker.

The Bears collected four NCAA B qualifying times against Pacific, from Leverenz (1st in 200-yard breaststroke in 2:13.13 and 1st in 400-yard individual medley in 4:13.96), senior Heather White (400 IM, 4:19.12) and sophomore Sara Isakovic (1st in 200 freestyle in 1:47.45). Cal junior Amanda Sims, the NCAA champion in the 100 butterfly last season, won the 100 fly (55.56) and swam on the winning 200-medley relay (1:43.72) against Pacific.

Against Fresno State, Leverenz (1st in 1:59.69) and Isakovic (1:59.86) swam NCAA B qualifying or consideration times in the 200 butterfly and senior Lauren Boyle notched a B qualifying time in the 500 free (1st in 4:50.33). The Cal divers got their first action of the year against Fresno State, with sophomore Molly Hayes winning the one-meter springboard title (257.33) and freshman Kelsey Heiken claiming the three-meter crown (262.58). Heiken had more quality performances in the Nov. 6-7 Trojan Diving Invitational in Los Angeles, taking fourth on the one-meter board (253.75) and eighth at three meters (251.00).

The Cal swimmers finished second in the Nov. 19-21 Toshiba Classic with 1,137 points, compiling 25 NCAA consideration times along the way. Among the NCAA B times were Isakovic's 1:55.83 to win the 200-yard butterfly, Boyle's 16:27.20 to place second in the 1650-free, junior Hannah Wilson's 49.69 to claim sixth in the 100 free and the 3:19.75 that junior Erica Dagg, sophomore Liz Jensen, Isakovic and Wilson swam to take second in the 400-free relay.

Various Bears have produced amazing performances thus far but perhaps none more so than Leverenz, who has literally rewritten the Cal record books. With much of the season still remaining, the Tucson, Ariz., native has already moved into Cal's all-time top 10 lists for the 400-yard individual medley (school-record 4:09.76 to take 2nd in Toshiba Classic), 200 breaststroke (2:12.37 in Toshiba Classic prelim, 6th overall at Cal), 200-individual medley (1:58.34 to take 2nd in Toshiba Classic, 8th at Cal) and 200 butterfly (1:57.57 for 2nd in Toshiba Classic, 9th at Cal).

Diving in Austin
Cal is one of six teams, including UCLA, Hawaii, SMU, New Mexico and TCU, that will only compete in diving at the Texas Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame Invitational, formerly the Texas Invitational. Bears diving coach Ben Herdt will bring Kelsey Heiken and sophomore Alyssa Barker to Austin for the three-day meet, which includes men's and women's competition. Here is the schedule of women's diving events: Thursday - three-meter springboard preliminary round 2:45-4:20 p.m. CT/final 6:15-6:45 CT; Friday - one-meter springboard prelim 12:30-2:15 p.m. CT/final 5:15-5:45 p.m. CT; and Saturday - platform final (no prelim) 12:30-1:20 p.m. CT.

Next Time
Cal returns to action in the New Year when it hosts a pair of Pac-10 and co-ed dual meets at Spieker Aquatics Complex in January. The Golden Bears battle Arizona State on Jan. 22 and take on Arizona on Jan. 23. The latter is the Cal women's last home meet of the season.

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