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USA College Challenge: Olympic and college swim teammates go head to head

Oct 22, 2017
Pac-12 Network

LOS ANGELES -- The USA College Challenge reunited Olympic teammates and, in some cases, divided former teammates. Side eyes and a little trash talk were tossed from tent to tent -- but it was all in good fun during a Team Pac-12 defeat over USA, 326.5-286.5.

Stanford alum Lia Neal repped Team USA and found herself lined up with her Cardinal teammates, this time looking to beat them.

"It was weird stepping up next to them, especially for last 800 free relay. Ella (Eastin) and I were like, 'Hey!'" she said. "We've competed in Nationals so it's not something completely new, but it is weird, especially at a dual meet."

"Dual meets are always real competitive in nature," Team USA and Cal alum Josh Prenot said. "There's some trash talk, there's some heated rivalries, which is good in swimming which is nice, very polite most of the time."

Swimmers like Cal's Kathleen Baker, Abbey Weitzeil and Stanford's Katie Ledecky dissolved the natural Pac-12 rivalry and had a 2016 Rio Olympics reunion. Weitzeil and Ledecky won silver as a part of the 400 freestyle relay in Rio. Prenot, Ryan Murphy and Jacob Pebley -- their former Cal and Rio teammates -- suited up for the opposition and swam for Team USA.  

"It's also fun because we don't all get to be together at the same meet very often, it's usually in summers," Weitzeil said, "so it was fun to be together and race with or against each other."

"Makes for a really cool spectacle," Neal said. "And brings a lot of attention and entertainment for other people within USA Swimming. It's all for the goodness of the sport."