Natalie Coughlin. Matt Biondi. Missy Franklin. Nathan Adrian.
Plenty of aquatic legends have passed through Berkeley over the storied history of Cal Aquatics.
With the recent opening of the brand new Cal Aquatics facility two weeks ago, Cal Athletics hope to both honor their past aquatic legacy via the name of Legends Aquatic Center as well as continue to churn out great future Olympians.
Dana Vollmer. Anthony Ervin. Mary T. Meagher. John Mann.
The brand new aquatics facility allows all 4 Cal Aquatics teams to have the flexibility to train. More importantly, the training flexibility allows the Cal student-athletes plenty more freedom in their academic pursuits.
Cal Aquatics have won a ton of national championships. Cal Men’s Water Polo leads the way with 13 National Championships.
Reposting the excerpt from my chat with Cal Men’s Water Polo head coach Kirk Everist a month or so ago,
Kirk Everist: [Legends Aquatic Center] definitely gives us more flexibility. It will help the student-athletes in a number of ways. We have more ability to have different practice schedules. More ability to adjust for time conflicts. We also get more space. Two swimming teams, men and women, will not working out in the same facility all the times with the water polo teams. Cal Diving, of course, will have their own platform so that they don’t need to drive out to Stanford to train. It gives us a lot more flexibilities and opportunities to train. It is a great and spectacular facility. Our guys will be well taken cared of in that pool.
Obviously, we will still be at Spieker a lot, especially for our games. That’s a pool that has a tremendous amount of history from swimming to water polo. We always love playing there too.
Cal Men’s Swimming and Diving have 5 team national titles. Cal Women’s Swimming and Diving have 4 team national titles. Of course, Cal swimming also includes over 150 individual NCAA national champions as well as over 40 relay national titles.
What has been amazing concerning the recent Cal Swimming and Diving team national championships have been how the Golden Bears have been handicapped by a mediocre diving program. Without a facility on campus, Cal divers had to travel twice a week down to Stanford to train on the platform.
One of the biggest improvement thanks to the new aquatic facility is the new diving platforms.
Back in August, Cal announced the hiring of Derek Starks from UNLV as the new head of Cal Diving. Cal Diving has been on the rise in recent years. Only in the past 5 years did the likes of Kahley Rowell and Anne Kastler got to represent the Golden Bears in diving at the NCAA championships.
Given how the NCAA team title is a combination of 18 swimming events with 3 diving events, the difference between national championships and national runner-up can be decided by these diving events. The hope is that soon, the Golden Bears will be in more of a level playing field against the likes of Texas and Stanford, when it comes to diving.
I'm at the Cal Aquatics gala and yet I'm still star struck by Matt Biondi! pic.twitter.com/96BCRs0gCR— cathy durden (@CathyDurden) October 16, 2016
On a related note, Cal Women’s Water Polo has named a new head coach to replace the retired Richard Corso.
Coralie Simmons is an accomplished member of the US national team. The former UCLA standout, who lead the Bruins to their first NCAA women’s water polo championship in 2001, will look to bring the first NCAA women’s water polo championship title to Berkeley. Most importantly, the Golden Bears hope that Simmons will be able to tap into the rich pipeline of the US national team as Cal Women’s Water Polo has had better success recruiting top international women’s water polo players than those from the United States.
With the brand new facility and some new faces in the coaching staffs, I think the strong Cal aquatic legacy is in a pretty good place to continue to prosper. The list of Cal “legends” shall continue to get longer and longer.
Kathleen Baker. Luca Cupido. Abbey Weitzeil. Ryan Murphy.
All four of these 2016 Calympians will reap the benefits of the new Legends Aquatic Center as Cal student-athlete in this 2016-17 school year.