TUCSON, Arizona, January 14. FOURTH-ranked California captured eight of 16 events, including victories in both butterfly events by sophomore Dana Vollmer, in a 159-142 dual-meet win over second-ranked Arizona on a chilly Saturday afternoon at Hillenbrand Aquatic Center. The Golden Bears kept their dual-meet record perfect, at 8-0 (3-0 Pac-10), while the Wildcats fell to 5-2 (3-2 Pac-10).
Cal has a 16-8 advantage in the all-time series with Arizona after winning the meet, during which the temperature hovered in the 40s.
"It's our biggest dual meet of the year so far," Cal assistant coach Johan Steiner said. "They're obviously one of the strongest teams in the nation. They're going to be vying for the national title as well. To swim well against them here in Arizona, and with it being so cold, which both teams had to deal with, is significant."
The Bears won the first two events on the day: The Cal A squad of senior Sherry Tsai, sophomore Jessica Hardy, sophomore Dana Vollmer and senior Erin Reilly took the 400-yard medley relay in an NCAA Championships provisional qualifying time of 3:39.78 and Cal freshman Blake Hayter clocked a 10:02.63 to capture the 1000 freestyle.
After dropping the 100 free and 200 backstroke to Arizona, Cal rebounded to win the 100 breaststroke (Hardy, 1:01.43, automatic NCAA Championships qualifying time), 200 fly (Vollmer, 1:59.75, NCAA B) and 50 free (junior Emily Silver, 23.14, NCAA B).
Cal got another strong performance from freshman diver Samantha Young, who won the one-meter springboard (271.30) and placed third on the three-meter board (285.15).
Vollmer won the 100 fly in 53.92 (NCAA B), giving Cal a chance to clinch the meet with the last two events: the 200 individual medley and 400-free relay, a potentially difficult proposition as Arizona won the 400-free relay in record time at the 2006 NCAA Championships.
The Bears didn't win the 200 IM. But they scored points by finishing 2-3-4, with Hardy second (2:03.09, NCAA B), junior teammate Rachel Ridgeway third (2:04.85) and freshman Heather White fourth (2:05.04). Combined with the diving results, Cal had a lead of 146-138 and needed to finish at least second and third in the final relay to win the meet.
The Cal A foursome of Tsai, Reilly, sophomore Lauren Rogers and Silver won the 400-free relay in 3:23.35 (NCAA B) and the Cal B team of senior Lauren Andrews, sophomore Lauren Boyle, senior Annie Babicz and freshman Amanda Larson took third in 3:28.18, as the Bears won their 19th straight dual meet over the past two seasons.
Cal next hosts the Los Angeles schools, with the Bears taking on USC at 1 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 19, and then facing UCLA at 12 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 20, at Spieker Aquatics Complex.