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Missy Franklin and other Cal Swimmers star in the Santa Clara Grand Prix

The Santa Clara Grand Prix was this past weekend, Missy Franklin and many other past, current Bears all participated. Find out what has been going on with your favorite Cal swimmers since the Olympics or NCAA Swim Championships. GO BEARS!

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Missy Franklin is "so excited" for the competitive Cal atmosphere
Missy Franklin is "so excited" for the competitive Cal atmosphere
Boris Streubel

Plenty of familiar faces: past, current, and future Cal Bears competed in the Santa Clara Grand Prix this past weekend. It is one of the competition before the US Team Trial at the end of June for a spot to the Worlds later this summer.

Missy Franklin:

SwimSwam has a nice post meet interview with Missy Franklin:

Here is the Cal related highlight at the 3:07 mark:

Q: "There are 4 of you [Missy Franklin laughs], 4 Bears a future Bear and 3 current Bears, competing [in the 100 Back]. You are probably faster than most people right now, in practice. How is it going to be like going into Cal and have dozen of swimmer that are at really really high level like that."

Missy Franklin: I am so excited! I mean I have never been in a training environment like that before. So to go to Cal and have Liz Pelton and Rachel Bootsma and have that kind of competitiveness at practice. I am so excited for it. It will be very different, but I think it will be interesting to adjust to it, but I'm so excited for it. Just like Liz Pelton said in her interview after her race today, I think [Cal Swimming] will be able to do things that no one has ever seen before."

It's always great to see Missy's enthusiasm in interviews, particularly when she is talking about Cal.

While in NorCal for this meet, Missy took the opportunity to stop by Berkeley to pick out her classes, etc. She also posted the following picture on Instagram with her future training partners/teammates.

From the SF Chronicle article:

When She tweeted out a picture of the view from the Cal campus when she arrived in Berkeley on Wednesday. She met with Coach Teri McKeever and worked on figuring out her class schedule for next fall, when she plans to major in social welfare.

"It was awesome," said Franklin, gushing with the enthusiasm shared by every college-bound high school senior. "I already feel like I have a second family there. I know I'm going to love it when I go there."

More specific quotes about working with Coach Teri McKeever again (McKeever was the head coach for team USA in the Olympics last year)

Her genuine quality - combined with her big smile, fun-loving personality and ability to win medals at an astonishing rate - made Franklin the biggest swimming star in London. She could have cashed in for probably a seven-figure pay day. But she was determined to have as normal a life as possible. She has no regrets about choosing collegiate swimming over turning professional.

"Absolutely none," she said. "There hasn't been one second where I doubted it."

But Franklin will probably swim for Cal for only two years; she is planning to turn professional a year out from the Rio Olympics. The well-rounded swimmer expects to thrive under McKeever. An unconventional coach who led the U.S. women to great success, McKeever already has a strong bond with Franklin.

"What attracted me most to Teri is she's not only concerned about making great swimmers, she's concerned about making great people," Franklin said.

The incoming college freshman said the minute she set foot on the Cal campus, she felt like she belonged. And though she's already traveled the world and met some of the globe's most famous people, Franklin is ready for the life change Berkeley is sure to bring a girl from Centennial, Colo.

"It's so unique," she said. "You can go everywhere in the world and never find a place like Berkeley. It's so special, so beautiful, so diverse. I love that it's different. I want to try new things. Isn't that what college is all about?"

That, and getting a sweet hat proclaiming your new allegiance.

Yep, click over to the SF Chronicle article for a picture of Missy sporting a Cal cap.

Missy's mom, DA, has had plenty of work to sort out Missy's mail and to make sure that she doesn't violate any NCAA rules with all the gifts received, etc.

From a SI article:

By early May DA thought she was ahead of the postal crush. "And then her birthday came," she says. In the days surrounding Missy's 18th birthday in mid-May (on which occasion she would be serenaded by Prince Harry, among others, at a reception in Denver), the Franklins' home was flooded with cards and gifts. Though Missy's dad, Dick, takes the common-sense approach that "birthday presents are birthday presents" and thus keepers, DA, who has spent the last two years negotiating the NCAA's thicket of rules and has Cal's compliance office on speed dial, knows better.

"It depends who it's from," she says.

Trying to keep Missy's amateur status intact so she can swim two years for Cal before turning pro ahead of the 2016 Rio Games has been a sleep-killing stress for DA, a physician who put medicine aside a few years ago to temporarily manage her daughter's career.

Santa Clara Grand Prix results for Missy Franklin:

Missy swam in 6 events over the weekend, including the following two wins in 200 Back (1:58.26) and 200 Free (2:08.24):

In 100 Free, Missy Franklin finished 3rd, behind Cal legend Natalie Coughlin who took 2nd. In 100 Back, Missy finished 2nd behind Cal teammate Liz Pelton (Rachel Bootsma was 3rd). In 200 IM, Missy also took 2nd behind the recent Cal graduate, Caitlin Leverenz (Pelton was 3rd).

Natalie Coughlin:

Cal's former Original Golden Girl, Natalie Coughlin is trying to reinvent herself by becoming a sprinter, swimming in events such as the 50 Free. From the Mercury News article:

Although Coughlin, 30, failed to qualify for an individual event at the London Games, she never thought about quitting.

Not that everyone believed the former Cal star.

"I think people think I should be having babies," she said after winning the 50 freestyle at the Santa Clara Arena Grand Prix.

Natalie is off to a great start given the following result this past weekend:

Coughlin won the 50 Free with a time of 25.06 seconds.

More from the Mercury New article:

Although one of the greatest backstrokers in history, Coughlin needed a change of scenery to keep swimming interesting. Also, Missy Franklin and a handfulof other teens have taken command of the 100 backstroke with impossibly fast times.

Coughlin, though, has been gravitating toward the sprints since successfully defending her Olympic title in the backstroke in 2008.

"By not doing the fly and back, I'm trying to take away safety nets and just focusing on the sprints," she said.

"I've been doing this so long, you have to mix it up. I get so bored doing the same thing over and over again."
As Coughlin noted, seven of her 12 Olympic medals have come from freestyle events. It's not going that far outside my wheelhouse," she said.

Best of luck to Coughlin to return to future Olympics.

Nathan Adrian:

Nathan Adrian also defended his title as the fastest man in the pool by winning the men's 50 Free in a tough field that includes a record holder, Cesar Cielo, but also former Bear Anthony Ervin.

Adrian also beat Lochte to win 100 Free:

Adrian set a meet record in the 100-meter freestyle at the Santa Clara Grand Prix on Friday night. He won the event in 48.08, fourth-fastest in the world so far, and thinks he could have gone faster.

"This is no time to hang up my medals and put them in a display case," Adrian said. "I only bring them out when I make an appearance. I'm all about self-improvement. The No. 1 thing of importance for me was to execute my plan. I was a little sloppy at certain points and I can work on those components over the next few weeks."

Adrian, like most swimmers, has an eye on the national championships and world trials June 25-29 in Indianapolis.

Anthony Ervin:

More interview from SwimSwam, this time with two time Olympian, Anthony Ervin, who finished 3rd in the 50 Free race in the above video:

About how his mind set is for 2016 - "It's definitely not one day at a time, more like one year at a time. And this year is very much about seizing the opportunity that I kind of created for myself by getting to such a good shape and myself such a fast swimmer again. So I did a lot of traveling and competing"

About how this season compares to the incredible story of redemption from last year - "Feel more anxiety and stress in my performance now, since last year was all sugar....That kind of naivete has been spent, and I want to prove something to myself."

More Cal related results and quotes from USA Today:

Caitlin Leverenz won the women's 400 individual medley in 4:40.05. Coughlin and Leverenz graduated from the University of California in Berkeley, where Franklin starts in the fall.

"I went over to Berkeley before I came here," Franklin said. "I got my classes and it was awesome just being on the campus. I'm looking forward to so much."

Franklin and Rachael Bootsma finished just ahead of Coughlin in last year's 100 freestyle Olympic trials, regulating Coughlin to the relay pool.

Franklin's victories were in back-to-back events, something she enjoys.

"It doesn't give me a lot of time to think," she said. "You just go and swim."

Adrian won his sprint in a field that included the world record holder in Brazil's Cesar Cielo.

"It's a solid time," said Adrian, who works out with Coughlin. "It's where I want to be moving into the trials."

That's not all:

From SwimSwam

Women's 200 IM Final

Caitlin Leverenz's meet has been a conundrum of sorts. She's swimming so well, and has twice dominated the field in the IM races, but her times still don't match up to this meet last year where she pulled the double as well.

At any rate, the victory in this 200 IM was by almost two seconds, winning in 2:11.87 ahead of Missy Franklin in 2:13.56. Franklin had very good backstroke and freestyle legs, but it's pretty clear what she'd need to work on to be a true contender in this IM: her breaststroke leg was second-slowest of the A Final. She's said that her future coach Teri McKeever at Cal really wants to work on her breaststroke over the next few years.

Leverenz's teammate Liz Pelton took 3rd in 2:3.95 for another Cal 1-2-3. Pelton and Franklin swim this race almost opposite of Leverenz.

  • From the Women's 400 IM, future Cal Bear Celina Li took 4th in 4:46.66.
  • 100 Back was won by current Bear, Elizabeth Pelton with Missy Franklin and Rachel Bootsma 2nd and 3rd. Cindy Tran also made the A Final, finishing 8th.
  • Former Bear, Jessica Hardy won the 100 Breast.
  • For a full list of the results, click here.
  • It would be interesting to see how many Cal Bears will make the US Team in the national championships and world trials June 25-29 in Indianapolis.