It's no secret that Cal hosts some of the best student-athletes and coaches in the world. This summer, we profile some of the Cal men and women representing their home countries at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Today, we look at Sara Isakovic, who will compete representing the Slovenian Women's Swimming Team.
Sara Isakovic's interview with CollegeSwimming (via collegeswimming)
A native of Slovenia, Sara Isakovic grew up and trained in Dubai. Since coming to Cal, she has been an integral part of Cal's success at the NCAA Championships. In 2009, she swam as a part of Cal's 800-yard freestyle relay, as well as solo in the 500-yard freestyle, 200 free, and 200 butterfly. In 2010 and 2011, Isakovic garnered All-American honors at the NCAA Championships. In the classroom, she has also earned All-Academic honors in 2010 and 2011. Despite the All-American awards, she will represent Slovenia in the 2012 Games and shoot for her second Olympic medal, having won silver in the 200 free in 2008.
From Sara's 2010 Q & A Interview with CalBears.com:
CalBears.com: Are you recognized in Slovenia especially after you compete and do well in big meets?
SI: Slovenia is so small - we have two million people - that everyone knows everyone. I love talking to everyone, too. I'm a normal person. In Slovenia, people love me and respect my accomplishments, so whenever something big happens, it's all over the news. I come to the airport and there's, not millions of people waiting for me, but a few hundred come, and they show their respect and appreciation. It's really nice to see that.
CalBears.com: Your nickname is "Ice" because the team initially mispronounced your last name?
SI: My teammates asked me, "Isn't it ICE-uh-coe-vich?" "No, it's ee-SOCK-oh-vich." Teri said, "Let's just call her 'Ice.'"
From her CalBears.com profile:
• Captured All-America honors in the 200-yard freestyle (5th in 1:43.63), 200 butterfly (7th, 1:54.88) and 800-free relay (2nd, 6:58.71) at the 2011 NCAA Championships.
• At 2011 Pac-10s, placed second place in the 200 free (1:44.94) and fourth in the 200 fly (1:55.78).
• Earned 2011 Pac-10 All-Academic second-team honors.
• At the 2010 NCAA Championships, earned four All-America honors after taking second place with the 400-yard freestyle relay (3:12.67) and 800-yard freestyle relay (7:00.00), sixth place in the 200 free (1:44.81) and eighth place in the 200 butterfly (1:55.52).
• Clocked a personal-record time of 1:53.99 in the 200 butterfly with a fourth-place finish at the 2010 Pac-10 Championships...also placed second in the 200 free (1:44.55) and eighth in the 500 free (4:47.93) and swam on the second-place 400-free relay (3:14.66) and the third-place 800-free relay (7:01.16) at the conference meet.
• Posted her Cal career bests in the 50 free (23.84) and 100 free (50.20) vs. USC on Jan. 29, 2010.
• Member of the 2010 Pac-10 All-Academic second team.
• A key member of Cal's 2009 NCAA team championship, Isakovic led off Cal's winning and record-breaking (NCAA, NCAA meet, U.S. Open and Cal) 800-yard freestyle relay (6:52.60), placed fourth in the 500-yard freestyle (4:37.79), sixth in the 200 free (1:43.30) and ninth in the 200 butterfly (1:54.61).
• Also at 2009 NCAAs, her 4:36.79 500-free prelim-time set a school record, surpassing Natalie Coughlin's 4:37.62 set in 2003.
• At the 2009 Pac-10 Championships, took second to teammate Dana Vollmer in the 200-yard free in a time of 1:43.00, which ranks third in Cal's all-time record books.
• Took home a silver medal in the 200-meter freestyle, finishing in 1:54.97, just 0.15 seconds behind winner Frederica Pellegrini of Italy (then-world record 1:54.82).
OTHER INTERNATIONAL SUCCESS
• Isakovic swam for her native Slovenia in four events at the 2010 European Championships in Hungary, reaching the 100- (9th, 59.08) and 200-meter (13th, 2:11.07) butterfly semifinal rounds and leading off Slovenia's seventh-place 800-meter freestyle relay in the final (8:06.13) and swimming the third leg of the 400-meter medley relay (12th, 4:11.04).
• At the 2009 World Championships in Rome, Isakovic reached the semifinal round of the 200-meter freestyle, competed in the 100-meter butterfly and led off Slovenia's 4x200-meter freestyle relay.
• A finalist in the 200 fly at the World Championships in Melbourne (2007) and a finalist in the 200 free at the 2005 World Championships in Montreal. Additionally in Montreal, she was the first Slovenian woman to reach the finals of the 200 free.
• Won the 2008 European Champion title in the 200-meter free, and set a new national record at the time of 1:57:52.
• A two-time European Junior Champion in 2004 in the 100 and 200 free events; still holds the European Junior record in the 200 free (1:59.85).
• Represented Slovenia in the 2004 Athens Olympics, swimming in the same 200-meter free heat as future Cal teammate Dana Vollmer.
• Psychology major.
• Lists Rafael Nadal as her favorite athlete.
• Parents are Rebeka and Nenad Isakovic.
WHY I CHOSE CAL
"Berkeley is not only famous in Europe, but all over the world. I am attending the best public university in the world. Having an education was my first priority, and it is an honor and a privilege to be able to attend Cal and swim with one of the best coaches in the world."