Cal Freshman Breed Chases Dreams

By Kevin Sullivan

Catherine Breed, a freshman at Cal, is coming off of her visit to the Pan American games with gold medals in the 200 freestyle and as a member of the 800 freestyle relay.

"My goal in the summer was to make the national team, but I never expected to make the Pan Am team," said Breed.

Breed, who has been swimming since the age of four, has been using her outstanding work ethic to push her.

"She elevates the training standards every day," said Cal head coach Teri McKeever.

Breed said that her club coach, Steve Morsilli, is the one who has inspired her the most. "He would just keep me going," Breed said.

Morsilli was also selected to be a coach at the Pan Ams, making Breed's experiences at the competition more enjoyable. Breed said that the best part about her trip was the fact that her teammates made it fun.

"The Pan Ams was such a great experience," said Breed. "I was able to take things from the trip and apply them [at Cal]."

McKeever, who has been head coach at Cal for 20 years, is now the one who Breed looks to for guidance. McKeever has coached many strong athletes, such as Natalie Coughlin.

"I have a lot of respect for [McKeever] and I trust her," said Breed. "She can definitely help me reach my goals."

Now that the Pan Ams are over, Breed's focus has shifted to competing at the collegiate level and helping her teammates in any way that she can.

The tradition at Cal for women's swimming has been a tradition of winning. The team has won two of the last three NCAA national championships.

"We've built something that we're really proud of," said McKeever.

Breed says she is thankful to be swimming at Cal, but doesn't feel pressure being a part of such a prestigious program. As she's used to doing, she uses her work ethic to get her results.

"The pressure is always to do your best, so I'm okay with it," said Breed.

The freshman swimmer has already accomplished winning gold at the Pan Ams and the next three years of her college experience look promising.

"I think Catherine has the potential to be a very successful collegiate swimmer," said McKeever.

Breed has been known to help her teammates by bringing out the best in everybody.

"She's very coachable," said McKeever. "Her desire to be coached is really important for her success. She's willing to try new things, willing to problem solve and it's been a lot of fun so far."  

A major goal for Breed is to reach the 2012 Olympic Games in London, a goal that seemed more within reach after Breed's showing at the Pan Ams. Breed said that in order for her to reach her goal she needs to keep up the training and to push herself every day. Breed said that she uses her collegiate meets and practices to help prepare her for the Olympic trials. And although she is focused on college competition, she is always thinking about the end of June when the Olympic trials begin.

Another added benefit for Breed and her goal is the fact that McKeever has been named the head coach for the U.S. women's Olympic swim team, giving her a direct outlet for the Olympics.

"When I signed I didn't know [that McKeever was the Olympic coach]. But when I found out I was so happy, because if she can't take me to that level then nobody can," said Breed.

Breed said that another goal that she wants to maintain is to make the national team every year that she can. A goal that she has already proven she can accomplish.

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