BERKELEY, California, January 24. THE California Golden Bears kicked off a two-day stretch of dual meets with decisive wins over Arizona State, with the men’s team showing off a new breaststroker and Missy Franklin continuing to shine in her freshman season.
Chuck Katis, who did not perform up to expectations in his time at Harvard, made his debut as a Cal Bear today by helping out with the breaststroke leg on the winning 200 medley relay, posting a 24.51 split. Later in the meet, he took the victory in the 200 breast in a time of 2:00.19. Though Cal doesn’t have the breaststroke depth of the days of Damir Dugonjic, Katis’ contributions could help Cal greatly at the NCAA championships.
Today, Franklin gave us a hint at her possible individual event schedule for the NCAA championships, winning the 200 free, 200 back and 500 free. All three events are definitely strong title possibilities for Franklin, with the 500 being her only untested event. He started with a 1:47.07 in the 200 free, then cruised to a 1:57.86 in the 200 back. She posted a 4:50.90 in the 500 free then swam a 23.31 as the leadoff leg for Cal’s winning 200 free relay to close the meet.
With the Cal women taking the meet win with a score of 229-69, and the Cal men winning 178-113, the day seemed to be dominated by the host team. Arizona State was only able to grab one win in the women’s meet, thanks to a 9:55.56 by Tristin Baxter in the opening event, the 1000 free. Cal would post four 1-2-3 sweeps in the women’s meet.
Celina Li, Marina Garcia and Cindy Tran were double winners. Tran, the 2011 and 2012 NCAA champion in the 100 back, won that event with a 54.31 over Elizabeth Pelton’s 54.53. Tran also took the 100 fly with a 54.97 over a tie for second between Cal teammates Rachel Bootsma and Sophia Batchelor, who both swam times of 55.40. (Tran and Bootsma will most likely attempt the 100 fly-100 back double at the NCAA championships.)
After finishing second to Baxter in the 1000 free with a 10:00.61, Li took one of her specialty events, the 200 fly, with a 2:00.13 as part of a Cal 1-2-3. She also won the 400 IM with a 4:18.85. Garcia took both breaststroke events with times of 1:02.18 and 2:14.87.
Kaylin Bing won the 50 free with a 23.10, while Rachael Acker was the other winner for Cal, taking the 100 free in 50.41.
In the men’s meet, Alex Coci of Arizona State won both butterfly events to give a boost to the Sun Devils. He posted a 1:47.92 in the 200 fly as the only swimmer under 1:50, then swam a 48.58 in a close battle to win the 100 fly.
Ryan Murphy and Josh Prenot also earned two individual event wins, less than a week after both competed in long course format at the Arena Grand Prix in Austin, Texas. Murphy showed his strengths as a freestyler, which will come in handy for relays, by winning the 200 free in 1:37.51 and the 100 free in 44.27. Two other swimmers who might join him at the NCAAs in the 800 free relay placed second and third behind him. Will Hamilton posted a 1:38.18 while Tyler Messerschmidt was third with a 1:38.72.
Prenot kicked off his day with a 55.47 to win the 100 breast, overcoming the lead ASU’s Thibault Capitaine had at 50 yards. Capitaine settled for second with a 55.49. To end the meet, Prenot also took the 400 IM with a 3:51.45.
Jacob Pebley, who also swam at the Grand Prix meet last weekend, won the 100 back with a 47.97. With Murphy and Pebley sitting out the 200 back, Cal’s Jesse Ryckman won that event with a 1:49.08 over ASU’s Barkley Perry’s 1:49.18.
Janardan Burns cruised to a 24-second victory in the two-man field in the 1000 free, posting a 9:18.72 to the 9:42.57 posted by ASU’s Alex Palumbo. Seth Stubblefield nearly cracked 20 seconds in the 50 free with a 20.00 and Will Hamilton won the 500 free with a 4:30.30.