This past week, 57 (32 men, 25 women) past/current/future Cal Bears descended upon Omaha, Nebraska with the hope to represent U.S.A. in the 2012 London Olympics. Out of the 26 events total, a top 2 finish was required for the most part to make the team. Even when factoring in the extra slots for the relay (where the top 4 to 6 can make it), there are only about 66 or so spots available.
When all the water has settled after this aquatic shootout, 7 Cal Bears emerged victoriously to represent a total of 12 spots. Few other Cal Bears proved to be almost at the same level, but unfortunately just missed out. Here is a quick recap of the action and which event to see these Bears in London. For those who missed the races and want to watch them, look for them on NBCOlympics.
Go USA! and Go Bears!
The Magnificent Sevens (Cal Swimmers that will represent the U.S. in London):
- Events: 100 butterfly and 800-freestyle relay
- 2nd time Olympian (gold in the 2004 800 Free relay)
- Cal career: 2007 - 2009 (2009 NCAA Swimmer of the Year)
- Dana was the first Cal Swimmer to book her spot on the team by winning the 100 Fly. Her 3rd place finish in the 200 Free ensured her a second berth, which is a spot on the 800 Free relay. She also made it to the 100 Free final (where the top 6 advances) but missed out on a spot by finishing 7th.
- Events: 200 IM and 400 IM
- 1st time Olympian
- Current Cal Bears, Leverenz will look to lead the Cal team to a three-peat in her senior year. She is also currently up for an ESPY (vote for her here).
- After finishing 3rd or 4th in the 2008 Trials, Caitlin broke through with a 1st and 2nd finishes.
- Events: 100 freestyle and 400-freestyle relay
- 2nd time Olympian (swam the prelim for the gold medal winning relay)
- Cal career: 2009-2011
- The chocolate milk loving and syrup swimming sprinter was the top seed in both 100 Free and 50 Free. By winning the 100 Free, Nathan also book a spot on the 400 Free relay. His 3rd place finish in the 50 Free, however, means that he will only compete in two events this year.
- Event: 100 backstroke
- 1st time Olympian
- Cal career: incoming freshmen
- Rachel edged her idol, Natalie Coughlin, for the second place finish in 100 back.
- Events: 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 400-freestyle relay
- 1st time Olympian
- Cal career: 2006-2007
- Jessica qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympics only to find out that she has failed a drug test (which has now been proven to be due to ingesting a contaminated supplement). After much legal trouble, she eventually became eligible for the 2012 Olympics. Despite being the favorite in the 100 Breast (she holds the American Record), Hardy only finished 3rd in the final. She bounced back by winning both the 100 Free (which also qualified her for the 400 Free relay) and the 50 Free.
- Event: 400-freestyle relay
- 3rd time Olympian (5 medals in 2004, record 6 medals in 2008)
- Cal career: 2001-2003 (12 NCAA titles - 2nd most in NCAA history)
- The most decorated and famous
CalAmerican swimmer did not have a dream Swim Trial. After narrowly missing out on the chance to defend her golds in her signature event (100 Back) by finishing 3rd and putting up a 7th place finish in the 100 Fly final, there were some doubts on whether Natalie can even make the team in 2012. A 6th place finish ensures her a spot on the team, and the chance to tie Dara Torres and Jenny Thompson for the number of career medals. More importantly for Cal fans, she will have more time to persuade her heir apparent Missy Franklin (who broke Coughlin's American Record in 100 Back and will try to break Coughlin's record 6 medals in an Olympic for a women) to come to Cal.
- Event: 50 freestyle
- 2nd time Olympian (won gold in the 2000 Olympics in 50 Free and silver in relay)
- Cal career: 1999-2002
- A great sentimental comeback story (which NBC will surely milk in the Olympics), Anthony won a gold back in 2000 and proceed to take almost a decade off from swimming. After teaching kids to swim an year ago, Ervin decided to make a comeback and was able to finish second in 50 Free (narrowly edging out Nathan Adrian by 8/100th of a second).
Nice try but have to wait until 2016:
- Incoming Cal freshmen was super impressive in the 2012 Swim Trials despite just narrowly missing out on going to London
- Close calls: 3rd in 200 Back and 200 IM
- Cal career: rising senior will look to lead the Bears to a 3-peat
- Close call: 4th in 100 Fly
- Cal career: 2008-2009
- Close calls: 8th in 100 Free, 4th in 50 Free
Hope she will be a future bear:
The new IT girl for US Women's swimming, this 17 year old Colorado high school senior broke the 100 Back American Record of her idol, Natalie Coughlin, and will look to break Coughlin's other record (most medals by a women in an Olympic game) by going for 7 medals in London. Cal is definitely a front runner for her college service, she could also decide to forgo college but has said that she will go to college.