California Women’s Swimming Announces Loaded Signing Class

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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BERKELEY – Four of the top five recruits in the country, including a trio of U.S. National team members who will compete at the 2015 World Championships, highlight a six-member California women’s swimming & diving recruiting class announced Thursday. Joining the Golden Bears for the 2015-16 season are Kathleen Baker, Amy Bilquist, Jennifer Campbell, Katie McLaughlin, Phoebe Lamay and Abbey Weitzeil.

“I’m really excited about this class because each of them can contribute in multiple events,” head coach Teri McKeever said. “They’re young, enthusiastic and passionate. Most importantly, I think they’re the right fit with their personalities and their academics. What they were looking for and what we were looking for definitely matched.”

Baker, in the 100-meter backstroke, McLaughlin, in the 200-meter butterfly, and Weitzeil in the 400-meter free relay, will represent Team USA at the World Championships next summer in Kazan, Russia. All three also swam at the Pan Pacific Championships in Australia, the top international competition of 2014, earlier this year. Bilquist, meanwhile, captured five total medals, including four gold, at the 2014 Junior Pan Pacific Championships. Campbell is a local product out of Palo Alto who is a two-time section champion in the 200-yard fly, and Lamay finished eighth on the 1-meter springboard at the 2014 national diving championships.

Baker, from Winston-Salem, N.C., who swims for SwimMAC Carolina, was the runner up in the 200 back at the 2014 National Championships. She also took fourth in the 100 back at the meet and went on to place ninth in the event at Pan Pacs. In addition to her spot on the U.S. team at the upcoming World Championships, she has been selected to compete in the 50, 100 and 200 back at the 2014 short-course World Championships in Qatar.

Bilquist returned home to Carmel, Ind., and the Carmel Swim Club earlier this year with gold medals in the 50 free, 100 back, and 800 free and 400 medley relays, plus a silver in the 400 free relay, from the Junior Pan Pacific Championships. She will also be on the U.S. squad at the 2014 short-course world meet in the 50 and 100 back.

McLaughlin, from Dana Point, Calif., earned a bronze medal in the 200 fly while also finishing fourth in the 100 fly at Pan Pacs last summer. A four-time medalist at the 2013 World Junior Championships, she also won the 100 and 200 fly at the ’13 Junior National Meet. In addition, McLaughlin broke the national high school record in the 100-yard fly at the 2014 CIF Championships.

Weitzeil hails from Saugus, Calif., and will come to Cal after earning a silver medal as part of the 400-meter relay at Pan Pacs. She was a finalist in both the 50 and 100 free at the 2014 National Championships, setting a 17-18 national age-group record during her fifth-place finish in the 50 free (24.91). In addition, she earned a pair of medals on relays at the 2013 World Junior Championships in Dubai.

“Taking part in international meets helps them gain a lot of confidence that they’ll bring to our program,” McKeever said. “It means we have more people that are at and striving for that level of achievement, which I think elevates our whole team. When you have the opportunity to compete and meet people from all over the world that are the best of the best, it raises their game. I think that trickles down to all of us.”

Campbell competed in seven different events at the 2014 Junior National meet, including the 100, 200 and 400 free and 100 fly – and helped Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics to top-three finishes in the 400 free and 800 free relay. She comes to Cal from the same club program that also produced current Bears Rachael Acker, Camille Cheng and Alicia Grima.

“We’ve had really good success with swimmers from PASA, and they have a fantastic program,” McKeever said. “You know that you’re getting a great student-athlete.”

From Houston, Texas, Lamay excels on the 1- and 3-meter boards, as well as in synchronized diving, where she placed ninth on 3-meter at the 2014 national championships (with partner and Cal sophomore Anne Kastler) and 13th on 3-meter at the 2012 Olympic Trials.

With the addition of McLaughlin, Baker and Weitzeil, six of the 25 members of the U.S. team for the 2015 World Championships will have Cal ties, a roster that will also feature junior Rachel Bootsma, sophomore Missy Franklin and freshman Cierra Runge. In addition, five Bears will be on the World University Games squad – Bootsma, senior Melanie Klaren, sophomore Celina Li, junior Elizabeth Pelton and Weitzeil.

As a team, Cal has won three of the last six NCAA Championships and has placed among the top three in the nation each of the past six years. Golden Bears swimmers have accumulated 40 Olympic medals, 54 individual or relay national titles, and 10 Pac-12 Swimmer of the Year awards.

Incoming Freshman Profiles

Kathleen Baker
Winston-Salem, N.C. / Forsyth Country Day / SwimMAC Carolina
Back, Free, IM

Member of the 2013-14 U.S. National Team and National Junior Team … runner-up in the 200m back at the 2014 Phillips 66 National Championships (2:10.42) to earn a spot on the U.S. Pan Pacific Championships team … also fourth in the 100m back (1:00.90) … took ninth in the 100m at Pan Pacs … chosen for the U.S. at the 2015 World Championships in the 100m back … also selected to the U.S. team in the 50m, 100m and 200m back for the 2014 short-course World Championships set for Dec. 3-7 at Doha, Qatar … finished fourth in the 200y IM at 2013 AT&T Winter Nationals … won four medals at the 2013 FINA World Junior Championships – silver in the 100m and 200m back, and bronze in the 400m medley relay and the mixed 400m medley relay … captured bronze in the 400m IM at 2013 Speedo Junior Nationals and bronze in the 200 IM at the 2013 U.S. Open … has contributed to several 17-18 national age-group records in all five relays – 200y, 400y and 800y free relay and 200y and 400y medley relay … at the 2012 Olympic Trials, took 13th in the 200m back, 14th in 100m back and 23rd in the 200m IM … earned a third-place finish in the 200m at the 2013 Duel in the Pool.

Amy Bilquist
Carmel, Ind. / Carmel HS / Carmel Swim Club
Back, Free

Won five medals, four of them gold, at the 2014 Junior Pan Pacific Championships – gold in the 50m free, 100m back, 800m free relay and 400m medley relay; silver in the 400m free relay … also took sixth in the 100m free … at 2014 Junior Nationals, captured the 50m free, 100m free and 100m back … also second in the 400m free relay and 800m free relay and third in the 400m medley relay … selected to the U.S. team in the 50m and 100m back for the short-course World Championships set for Dec. 3-7 at Doha, Qatar … at the 2014 Indiana state meet, won the 50y free (state-record 22.15 in prelims), 100y free (state-record 48.93), 200y free relay and 200y medley relay … grew up in Goodyear, Ariz., before her family moved to Indiana last year.

Jennifer Campbell
Palo Alto, Calif. / Gunn HS / Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics
Free

A two-time Central Coast Section champion in the 200y free (1:47.10 in 2014) … also took second in the 500y free (4:50.54) at the CCS meet in 2014 … competed in seven events at the 2014 Junior National Championships – 100m free, 200m free, 400m free, 100m fly and all three relays … helped PASA to a runner-up finish in the 400m free relay and to third place in the 800m free relay … best individual result was 26th in the 200m free (2:03.37) … comes from the same club program that produced current Golden Bears Rachael Acker, Camille Cheng and Alicia Grima.

Phoebe Lamay
Houston, Texas / Stratford HS / Cougar Diving Club
Diving

Placed eighth on the 1-meter board at the 2014 AT&T National Diving Championships … finished 11th in the event in 2013 and 16th in 2012 … participated in the 2012 Olympic Trials and was 23rd on 3-meter … has also competed in synchronized diving and was ninth on 3-meter at the 2014 national meet with partner and current Cal sophomore Anne Kastler … was 13th on 3-meter at the 2012 Olympic Trials with Chloe Helmink … in 2011, Lamay and Helmink placed third in 3-meter synchronized diving at the Junior Pan American Championships in Medellin, Columbia … began diving at age 12 … older sister, Sophia, is a former national-level figure skater.

Katie McLaughlin
Dana Point, Calif. / Santa Margarita HS / Mission Viejo Nadadores
Free, Fly

Member of the 2013-14 U.S. National Team and National Junior Team … touched third in the 200m fly at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships in Australia … qualified for the meet by taking second in the event at the Phillips 66 National Championships (2:08.74) … also finished fourth in the 100m fly (59.03) … chosen for the U.S. 2015 World Championships squad in the 200m fly … broke the national high school record in the 100y fly at the 2014 CIF Championships when she was timed in 51.78 … also set a CIF record in winning the 200y free (1:44.66) and swam anchor on the winning 200y free relay and 400y free relay … considered the No. 4 recruit in the country by collegeswimming.com … won four medals at the 2013 FINA World Junior Championships – gold in the 800m free relay and in the 200m fly, bronze in the 400m free relay and in the mixed 400m medley relay … earned five medals at the 2013 Speedo Junior National Championships (gold in 100m and 200m fly; silver in 50m and 200m free; bronze in 800m free relay) … participated in the 2012 Olympic Trials and tied for 28th in the 100m fly.

Abbey Weitzeil
Saugus, Calif. / Saugus HS / Canyons Aquatic Club
Free

Member of the U.S. National Team and selected to compete at the 2015 World Championships in the 400m free relay … also a member of Team USA for the 2015 World University Games in the 50m and 100m free … earned a silver medal as part of the 400m free relay at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships in Australia … also took 10th in the 100m free (54.78, 54.50 in prelims) … finished fourth in the 100m free (54.38) the 2014 Phillips 66 National Championships … in addition, placed fifth in the 50m free when she set a 17-18 national age-group record (24.91) … won a silver medal in the mixed 400m free relay and a bronze medal in the 400m free relay at the 2013 FINA World Junior Championships in Dubai … claimed gold in the 50y free and 100y free at 2013 Speedo Winter Junior Nationals and gold in the 50m free at 2013 Speedo Junior Nationals.

The above article is a press release submitted to Swimming World. To reach our audience, contact us at newsmaster@swimmingworldmagazine.com.

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Author: Jason Marsteller

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Jason Marsteller is the general manager of digital properties at Swimming World. He joined Swimming World in June 2006 as the managing editor after previous stints as a media relations professional at Indiana University, the University of Tennessee, Southern Utah University and the Utah Summer Games.

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