BERKELEY, California, February 2. SIX different Golden Bears won individual events and seventh-ranked California swept the relays in a 165-135 Pac-12 dual-meet win over No. 12 UCLA on Saturday at Spieker Aquatics Complex. The Bears improved their record to 6-2 (3-2 in the Pac-12), while the Bruins dropped to 11-2 (5-2 Pac-12).
“We did a nice job,” Cal head coach Teri McKeever said. “We had some people swim the same things to make some adjustments, but we had some people swim different events and put different combinations together. UCLA did a nice job, and we did a nice job particularly with having different people step up. I feel good about our performance this weekend and where we are.”
Cal opened the day by taking the 200-yard medley relay in a time of 1:41.85. Juniors Cindy Tran (backstroke) and Melissa Bates (breaststroke) swam the first half of the relay, while freshmen Rachel Bootsma (butterfly) and Elizabeth Pelton (freestyle) swam the second half. Next, Lauren Driscoll – another Cal freshman – shone in the 1000 freestyle, swimming a season-best time of 9:59.97 to take second behind UCLA's Lauren Baker (9:53.94).
Caroline Piehl – a co-captain along with senior Caitlin Leverenz – led a Cal sophomore 1-2-3 finish in the 200 freestyle with an NCAA B time of 1:47.83. Camille Cheng took second (1:48.87) and Catherine Breed – an honorable mention All-American in the 200 free along with Piehl last year – was third (1:48.97). The Bears posted another 1-2-3 finish in the next race – the 100 backstroke – as Bootsma won in an NCAA B time of 53.77, Pelton finished second (53.87, NCAA B) and junior Stephanie Au placed third (54.88, NCAA B).
Cal went 1-2 in the 100 breaststroke, with Bates winning in a time of 1:03.31 and sophomore Yvette Kong taking second (1:03.68). The Bears produced another 1-2 finish in the 200 back, as Tran – an honorable mention All-American in the event last year – posted a victorious NCAA B time of 1:58.80 and freshman Kelly Naze finished second (1:59.31).
In the 500 free, Breed – an honorable mention All-American in the event in 2012 – posted a winning time of 4:48.14. Cal's last individual winner, Leverenz – a 400 IM All-American in 2012 who took second in the event at NCAAs – notched an NCAA B time of 4:14.78 to claim the 400 IM.
McKeever lauded Cal sophomores Piehl and Breed after their success in the middle-distance freestyle events.
“Catherine has kind of had an up and down season, and to get her back on track is great,” McKeever said. “Caroline is really stepping up big time in a leadership role. Her performance is very consistent, and that's what we're looking for. As a coach, you want to know what you're going to get from someone, and Caroline does a great job of that.”
The Bears closed the meet by edging the Bruins in the 200-free relay. The Cal quartet of Pelton, Bootsma, freshman Rachael Acker and junior Mikkel-Ane Stipe clocked a time of 1:32.26 to the Bruins' 1:32.90.
UCLA had a pair of multi-event winners, as Ting Quah captured the 50 (23.14) and 100 (49.85, NCAA B) frees and the 100 fly (53.44, NCAA B), while diver Emma Ivory-Ganja won the three-meter (316.20) and one-meter (287.40) springboards.
Cal concludes the regular season when it hosts No. 2 Stanford on Feb. 16 at Spieker. Prior to the Pac-12 dual meet, the Bears will honor Leverenz as part of Senior Day.
“We just have to stay healthy and close the dual meet season with Stanford,” McKeever said. “That's going to be really exciting and competitive. And then the important part of the year's coming up.”
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