Amidst a bunch of negative results last weekend (I will get to some of them in tomorrow's posts recapping all the Cal Fall Sports outside of Football), there were a bunch of bright news coming from Knoxville, Tennessee where the AT&T Winter Nationals took place. In a competition that involved Cal swimmers past, present, and possibly future? (I don't know whether Katie Ledecky would consider swimming in college and/or coming to Cal, but one can hope), the Golden Bears had a very strong outing all around.
For all the action from the weekend, the videos for all three day's prelim, final, and award ceremony actions can be viewed here, on the USA Swimming website. You can also wait for the NBC coverage of this on Saturday, Dec. 21 from 2-3 p.m. PT.
Click here for the PDF of all the final times.
Let's start by looking at the total points accumulated by swimmers on an individual basis, starting with the women. Cal affiliated swimmers are in bold. Asterisk is for swimmers who are do not compete for the US internationally.
1 Franklin, Missy 18 University of California, Berk-PC 90
2 Hu, Janet 17 Nation's Capital Swim Club-PV 82
3 Pelton, Elizabeth 20 University of California, Berk-PC 73
4 Ledecky, Katie 16 Nation's Capital Swim Club-PV 62
5 Li, Celina 18 University of California, Berk-PC 58
6 *Atkinson, Alia 24 South Florida Aquatic Club-FG 56
7 Klaren, Melanie 21 University of California, Berk-PC 49
8 Worrell, Kelsi 19 University of Louisville-KY 47
9 Weir, Amanda 27 SwimAtlanta-GA 46
10 Baxter, Tristin 21 Arizona State University Swimm-AZ 41
11 Coughlin, Natalie 31 California Aquatics-PC 40
12 Meili, Katie 22 SwimMAC Carolina-NC 38
13 Mueller, Justine 27 T2 Aquatics-FL 36
14 Sutton, Chloe 21 iX3 Sports-NC 35
15 *Batchelor, Sophia 18 University of California, Berk-PC 33
15 Acker, Rachael 19 University of California, Berk-PC 33
17 Donahue, Claire 24 Western Kentucky University-KY 32
17 Bootsma, Rachel 19 University of California, Berk-PC 32
17 Lawrence, Micah 23 SwimMAC Carolina-NC 32
17 Vrooman, Lindsay 22 Indiana University-IN 32
21 Baker, Kathleen 16 SwimMAC Carolina-NC 31
22 Beidler, Courtney 22 Univ. Of Michigan Swim Team-MI 30
23 *Vanderpool-Wallace, Arianna 23 SwimMAC Carolina-NC 29
23 *Au, Stephanie 21 University of California, Berk-PC 29
23 Leverenz, Caitlin 22 California Aquatics-PC 29
For her performance at the Winter Nationals as the highest individual point scorer, Missy Franklin is named National Swimmer of the Week by collegeswimming.com. Let's let swimmingworld.com summarize her achievement at this meet.
Franklin was 3rd in the 100 free (47.42), 1st in the 200 free setting a meet record (1:41.40), 2nd in the 500 free (4:34.63), 1st in the 100 back (51.59), 2nd in the 200 back (1:51.54), lead off the 2nd place 200 free relay (22.16), anchored the 1st place 400 free relay (47.86), lead off the 1st place 800 free relay (1:42.93), and anchored the 1st place 400 medley relay (47.51) which broke the meet record in a time of 3:29.91. All of her individual swims were top 10 times in the NCAA so far this year (as well as her 50 free lead off leg), and her 200 and 500 free were the fastest times posted this year, and all four relays she took part in are top five times in the NCAA this year, with the 400 medley relay being the fastest.
I think Missy will likely be very acquainted with this honor in the next year and a half.
I should probably point out that the also very impressive high school swimmer Janet Hu has already committed on a college. Bears fans would likely root against her during her collegiate days as she has decided to attend the Leland Stanford Junior University on the other side of the Bay.
And for the men:
1 Seliskar, Andrew 17 Nation's Capital Swim Club-PV 75
2 Grevers, Matt 28 Tucson Ford Dealers Aquatics-AZ 68
3 Jaeger, Connor 22 Univ. Of Michigan Swim Team-MI 64
4 *Bosch, Dylan 20 Univ. Of Michigan Swim Team-MI 61
5 *Townsend, Darian 29 Unattached NYAC-MR 52
6 Klueh, Michael 26 Club Wolverine-MI 48
6 Whitaker, Kyle 22 Univ. Of Michigan Swim Team-MI 48
8 *De Lucca, Joao 23 University of Louisville-KY 45 50 .
9 *Nielsen, Anders 22 Univ. Of Michigan Swim Team-MI 45
10 Prenot, Josh 20 University of California, Berk-PC 44
10 *Brown, Adam 24 New York Athletic Club-MR 44
10 Murphy, Ryan 18 University of California, Berk-PC 44
13 Adrian, Nathan 24 California Aquatics-PC 40
14 Craig, Brad 24 Tennessee Aquatics-SE 36
15 Katis, Chuck 20 Unattached-PV 35
15 *Vyatchanin, Arkady 29 New York Athletic Club-MR 35
17 Hinshaw, Adam 20 Unattached CAL-PC 34 50 .
18 *Coci, Alexandru 24 Arizona State University Swimm-AZ 32
19 Wojciechowski, John 21 Univ. Of Michigan Swim Team-MI 31
20 Pebley, Jacob 20 University of California, Berk-PC 30
20 Schneider, Josh 25 New York Athletic Club-MR 30
20 Wynalda, Michael 21 Univ. Of Michigan Swim Team-MI 30
23 Alexandrov, Mike 28 Trojan Swim Club-CA 29
24 *Ress, Eric 23 Indiana University-IN 28
24 *Funk, Richard 21 Univ. Of Michigan Swim Team-MI 28
24 *Bagshaw, Jeremy 21 University of California, Berk-PC 28
As you can probably infer from the points accumulated, there were plenty of Bears that ended up on the podium for a variety of races.
For the women, the Bears finished the event with 11 victories (out of 18 events), including 4 relays. Perhaps even more impressively, there have been plenty of events where the Bears finished 1-2 or even 1-2-3. In the 400 Free relay, for example, Rachael Acker, Pelton, Kaylin Bing and Franklin came through in a meet record of 3:13.45 to break the previous mark of 3:13.90 set by Arizona last December. Following them in second place were the Cal quartet of Farida Osman, Camille Cheng, Caroline Piehl and Cindy Tran with a time of 3:15.47. The Bears have a bunch of backstroke specialists. In the 100 Back, there were 5 Bears in the A-final. Missy Franklin came from behind to finish just ahead of Liz Pelton and Rachel Bootsma with Melanie Klaren finishing 4th and Stephanie Au 6th; Cindy Tran actually had the 5th best time in winning the B-final. In the 200 Back, Liz Pelton edged Missy Franklin while the Bears also took 4-5-6 spots with Klaren, Au, and Batchelor. Freshman Celina Li finished first in the 400 IM. Pelton also won the 200 IM. In relays, the Bears also won the 200 medley relay (Tran, Garcia, Osman and Kaylin Bing) and 800 free (Franklin, Piehl, Cheng and Pelton). Li, Acker, Klaren and Catherine Breed finished 2nd in the 800 free relay. The last two Cal wins came from alum Natalie Coughlin who won 50 free and 100 free in her transition to be a freestyle sprinter late in her career.
In case you missed it from the end of last Friday's soccer-centric post, here are some insightful videos of Missy Franklin and Liz Pelton talking about Coach Teri McKeever and what it's like to swim for her.
Missy swam the 500 Free (not one of her usual event) and finished a close 2nd behind Katie Ledecky.
Basically, Teri has pushed (not literally like Mike Montgomery) her swimmers to swim events outside of their comfort zone, and her swimmers have rise up to the challenge.
For the men, Cal won the 400 Free relay with a team of sophomore Tyler Messerschmidt, freshman Ryan Murphy, senior Fabio Gimondi and junior Seth Stubblefield with a time of 2:51.16. Sophomore Jacob Pebley finished 2nd in 200 back with Murphy 3rd. Sophomore Josh Prenot finished 2nd in 400 IM. Murphy also had another bronze in 100 back. Bears also finished 2nd in both the 200 free and 800 free relay. Cal alum Damir Dugonjic won the 100 breast. Cal alum Nathan Adrian matched the feat of Natalie Coughlin in also winning both the 50 free and 100 free. It sounds like a cool moment from the ESPN article on the event.
Nathan Adrian celebrated his 25th birthday Saturday by winning the 100 freestyle in 41.39 to edge Adam Brown (41.89) and fellow Olympic gold medalists Matt Grevers (41.99) and Darian Townsend (42.13). Adrian won the 50 freestyle Thursday.
As soon as Adrian finished, California's swimmers sang "Happy Birthday" to the former Golden Bears star.
"There aren't many things I feel that are more special than your teammates -- although I'm not on a college team anymore -- singing 'Happy Birthday' after you win a race," Adrian said. "That was really cool and special for me."
Obviously, plenty of Bears made the A finals and had great results. I only highlighted those who made the podium (top 3 finishes) here for the most part. When it comes to the NCAA, it is those other A finalists that will make the difference between the team winning or falling just short, however.
It is a little bit hard to see just how the team performances on this stage can translate to success in the NCAA since you have competition at the Winter Nationals against swimmers that are no longer competing collegiately and not every NCAA contenders are at this meet. Nevertheless, here are the final team rankings (for the top 5 finishers) among college teams.
Women - Team Scores - College/University
1 Cal 540
2 Tennessee 206
3 Louisville 133
4 Indiana 119
5 Michigan 102
Men - Team Scores - College/University
1 Michigan 318
2 Cal 214. 50
3 Louisville 137
5 Pittsburgh 60
Looking at the national rankings (from collegeswimming.com), the Cal Women's easily retained their top overall ranking as again the unanimous selection. The men's are currently sitting at 8th place. Amongst the schools that went to the Winter Nationals, the Bears finished 2nd behind Michigan (ranked 2nd in the country behind Arizona) but ahead of the higher ranked Louisville (6th) squad.
Perhaps more interesting, a USA Swimming statistician has tried his best at imitating Nate Silver. The results (with some caveat in not factoring how swimmers may not swim in all the events that they qualify for) is listed here (taken from Swimming World).
NCAA Division I Men
Place Team Score
1 Michigan 326.5
2 Florida 317.5
3 Texas 307
4 California 301
5 Arizona 293
6 Southern Cali 288.5
7 Auburn 240
NCAA Division I Women
Place Team Score
1 California 436.5
2 Stanford 373.5
3 Georgia 361
4 Florida 347
5 Southern Cali 307
6 Texas A&M 304.5
7 Arizona 218.5
Interestingly, the top ranked Arizona squad is predicted to finish 5th in the men. This results apparently does NOT consider diving either, where Texas always get a big boost.
More reasons to be proud of certain Cal Swimming alumni
By the way, three former/forever Golden Bears are participating in designing and selling special swim caps from Speedo with the proceed benefitting charities.
Natalie Coughlin is raising money for Right To Play USA (global organization that uses the power of sports to help kids around the world facing adversity). I think Natalie's cap is sold out (victim of autocorrect?).
Nathan Adrian is raising money for Kids Beating Cancer (this one should be self-explanatory).
Dana Vollmer is raising money for Simon's Fund (a charity about sudden cardiac arrest in kids).
The Bears are off until next year, where in late January (on the same weekend of January 24/25) both the men and the women will have a two separate duel meets with the Arizona schools (ASU on 24th, Arizona on 25th). Both of those meets will be broadcasted on the Pac-12 Networks.