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Cal Golden Bears in USA Swimming Olympics Trial Preview

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Plenty of past, current, and even future Golden Bears will be racing next week from Omaha for the precious few spots on the USA Swimming Team to the Rio 2016 game.

Missy Franklin, Elizabeth Pelton, and Rachel Bootsma are just three of a handful of Golden Bears looking to make the USA Swim team to the Rio 2016 games.
Missy Franklin, Elizabeth Pelton, and Rachel Bootsma are just three of a handful of Golden Bears looking to make the USA Swim team to the Rio 2016 games.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A quick search through the list of Calympians (from CalBears.com) shows 265 swimming entries in Cal history. Granted, this is counting swimmers for each of their different event - AKA Natalie Coughlin by herself is 12 entries. Nevertheless, Cal fans know that the majority of Calympians, particularly the most successful ones, are from swimming.

We shall find out in the upcoming week just how many and which Cal past, current, and even future swimmers will represent U.S.A. in the Rio 2016 games in August.

Basic Info:

USA Swimming Olympic Team Trials

Dates: June 26th - July 3rd

Where: CenturyLink Center (Omaha, NE)

TV Schedule:

The Olympic Swimming Trials will be shown on the NBC networks and their mobile platforms. Prelims will be live daily at 9 a.m. Pacific Time on the NBC Sports app. NBC Sports Network will have the tape delayed prelim action in the afternoon, just before the finals.

NBC Sports will live stream the 2016 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials beginning on June 26th and continuing through July 3rd. NBC's comprehensive live streaming from the Trials will include all of the prelims and finals sessions.

Day TV Time (PDT)* Event Network**
June 26 3:00 p.m. Olympic Trials - Qualifying Heats NBC Sports Net.

5:00 p.m. Olympic Trials - Finals NBC
June 27 3:30 p.m. Olympic Trials - Qualifying Heats NBC Sports Net.
5:00 p.m. Olympic Trials - Finals NBC
June 28 4:00 p.m. Olympic Trials - Qualifying Heats NBC Sports Net.
5:00 p.m. Olympic Trials - Finals NBC
June 29 4:00 p.m. Olympic Trials - Qualifying Heats NBC Sports Net.
5:00 p.m. Olympic Trials - Finals NBC
June 30 3:30 p.m. Olympic Trials - Qualifying Heats NBC Sports Net.
5:00 p.m. Olympic Trials - Finals NBC
July 1 3:00 p.m. Olympic Trials - Qualifying Heats NBC Sports Net.
5:00 p.m. Olympic Trials - Finals NBC
July 2 2:00 p.m. Olympic Trials - Qualifying Heats NBC Sports Net.
5:00 p.m. Olympic Trials - Finals NBC Sports Net.
July 3 4:00 p.m. Olympic Trials - Finals NBC

HEATS

FINALS

SUNDAY, JUNE 26

Men's 400m IM

Women's 100m Fly

Men's 400m Free

Women's 400m IM

Men's 100m Breast

SUNDAY, JUNE 26

Men's 400m IM - Final

Women's 100m Fly - Semifinal
Men's 400m Free - Final
Women's 400m IM - Final
Men's 100m Breast - Semifinal

MONDAY, JUNE 27

Women's 100m Back

Men's 200m Free

Women's 100m Breast

Men's 100m Back

Women's 400m Free

MONDAY, JUNE 27

Women's 100m Fly - Final

Men's 200m Free - Semifinal

Women's 100m Breast - Semifinal

Men's 100m Breast - Final

Women's 400m Free - Final

Men's 100m Back - Semifinal

Women's 100m Back - Semifinal

TUESDAY, JUNE 28

Women's 200m Free

Men's 200m Fly

Women's 200m IM

TUESDAY, JUNE 28

Women's 200m Free - Semifinal

Men's 200m Free - Final

Women's 100m Back - Final

Men's 100m Back - Final

Women's 100m Breast - Final

Men's 200m Fly - Semifinal

Women's 200m IM -- Semifinal

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29

Men's 100m Free

Women's 200m Fly

Men's 200m Breast

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29

Men's 100m Free - Semifinal

Women's 200m Free - Final

Men's 200m Fly - Final

Women's 200m Fly - Semifinal

Men's 200m Breast - Semifinal

Women's 200m IM - Final

THURSDAY, JUNE 30

Women's 100m Free

Men's 200m Back

Women's 200m Breast

Men's 200m IM

THURSDAY, JUNE 30

Men's 200m Breast - Final

Women's 100m Free - Semifinal

Men's 200m Back - Semifinal

Women's 200m Fly - Final

Men's 100m Free - Final

Women's 200m Breast - Semifinal

Men's 200m IM - Semifinal

FRIDAY, JULY 1

Men's 50m Free

Women's 800m Free

Men's 100m Fly

Women's 200m Back

FRIDAY, JULY 1

Men's 50m Free - Semifinal

Women's 200m Breast - Final

Men's 200m Back - Final

Women's 200m Back - Semifinal

Men's 200m IM - Final

Women's 100m Free - Final

Men's 100m Fly - Semifinal

SATURDAY, JULY 2

Women's 50m Free

Men's 1500m Free

SATURDAY, JULY 2

Women's 200m Back - Final

Men's 100m Fly - Final

Women's 800m Free - Final

Men's 50m Free - Final

Women's 50m Free - Semifinal

SUNDAY, JULY 3

No Preliminaries

SUNDAY, JULY 3

Women's 50m Free - Final

Men's 1500m Free - Final

Cal related storylines:

Given the number of Cal athletes involved, I would just go ahead and give the disclaimer that there is no way for me to cover all of them in this post. I will try to do better than some of the existing articles on this by mentioning more swimmers who have a decent chance to make the evening finals, if not a realistic chance to make the Olympics team.

Typically, only the top two finishers earn an Olympic berth. Certain events also doubles as qualifier for the relay, so many athletes may become Calympians by just participate in the relay, often only swimming in the prelim. In the London 2012 games, then Cal commit (and now recent graduate) Rachel Bootsma and swimming legend Natalie Coughlin earned their medals by swimming in the prelim heats of the relays.

Missy Franklin

Can the Rio 2016 Golden Girl lives up to the lofty expectations?

By turning pro after the 2015 NCAA Championships, Missy Franklin is already capitalizing on her fame to be one of the main faces of the 2016 Rio games. The 4 time Gold Medalists (to go with a Bronze) swam in 7 events in the 2012 London games, before she commits to Cal (but we are still claiming those). How many events will she compete and qualify for next week.

Injuries have somewhat halted Missy's dominance in the sport of swimming in recent years. Nevertheless, if anyone can live up to the expectations of not just the Cal community, but entire nation of the United States, it is this girl.

Because Missy chose to go back to Colorado to train instead of staying at Cal, she will be sporting the Colorado Star cap instead of the Cal cap. Look for Missy as the strong contenders is 100 Free, 200 Free, 100 Back, 200 Back - which can also earns her berth in the free relays and the medley relays.

Natalie Coughlin

Is there another Olympic game (or two) left for the swimming legend?

The 12-time Olympic medalist is in the twilight of her swimming career. Despite popping up in numerous ads for the Olympics, her place on the US Olympic team is far from guaranteed. Four years ago, Coughlin saw her dominance in 100 Back ended in the U.S. Olympic Trials when she finished a very close 3rd place (just missing out on the qualifying spots) to Missy Franklin and Rachel Boostma, both of whom followed their idol Coughlin to become Cal Golden Bears.

Natalie did finish high enough to make the team, earning a medal when she swam in the prelim for the free relay, continuing her remarkable run of medaling in every single Olympic events entered.

After the 2012 London games, Coughlin decided to make some changes. She has now transitioned to focus on being a sprinter (good track record of older swimmers still being top female sprinters). Instead of training with the Cal women's team, she has started to train with the Cal men's team with the likes of Nathan Adrian among other decorated swimmers.

Look for Coughlin in the 50 Free and maybe 100 Free races.

Nathan Adrian

The fastest man in the water looks to defend his title.

Nathan Adrian is looking to make his 3rd Olympic games. The fastest man in water by the virtue of winning the 100 meter free race in the 2012 London games will look to defend his title.

Adrian has maintained her dominance in the Arena Pro Series and will be the favorite in the super tight race.

Dana Vollmer

Can she return to swim at a high level after a maternity break?

Winner of the 100 Fly Gold in London, Vollmer will also looks to make her 3rd Olympics. In between the last game and now, Vollmer took a maternity leave from swimming. She has since ramped back up her training to be a strong contender yet again.

Look for Vollmer in 100 Fly as well as 200 Free (where she qualified for the 800 Free relay and has won two Gold medals).

Anthony Ervin

Another Olympic for the colorful and one-of-the-kind vet?

Also looking to make his 3rd Olympics is Anthony Ervin (who competed in the 2000 and the 2012 Olympics after an extended break from swimming in between...his time in the Olympics also coincided with his time at Cal). Ervin will look to be the female equivalent of Natalie Coughlin and make the team as a sprinter.

Look for Ervin in 50 and maybe 100 Free races.

Jessica Hardy

The breast stroke specialist may be training with the Trojans, but she's always been a Bear to us.

Cal grad Jessica Hardy has been training with the USC Trojans, a traditional powerhouse in breaststroke. Hardy along with her husband, Calympian Dominik Meichtry who represents Switzerland, are both good bets to return to the Olympics game.

Hardy will be looking to make her 2nd Olympics in 2016. She had qualified for the team in 2008 but lost her eligibility due to a positive PED test result. Overcoming the year long ban, Hardy made a triumphant return and won 2 medals in 2012 London games.

Her association with USC (rather than the positive drug test) is perhaps why Hardy is often not mentioned in the official Cal Bears releases about the swim alum in the Olympics.

Look for Hardy in 100 Breast, as well as sprint events such as the 50 Free.

In Adrian's tweet above, Cal swimmers (from left to right), Jacob Pebley, Tom Shields, Nathan Adrian, Ryan Murphy, and Josh Prenot are all strong contenders to make the 2016 Rio games.

Ryan Murphy

Current Cal star looking to make his first Olympic

The incoming Cal senior will look to make his name known in the 2016 Rio games. Murphy has dominated (setting the record and then breaking it every year) 100 and 200 Back in the NCAA for the past three years. Of course, NCAA swims in short courses while the Olympic Trials and the Olympics are in the long courses. Nevertheless, Murphy's time should translate quite favorably to the long course as well.

Murphy is the best bet amongst current Cal Bears to make the squad. With Ryan Lochte getting rather old, Murphy should be the next US male star in the backstroke.

Josh Prenot

Recent Cal graduate will look to translate his NCAA success into an Olympic berth

Josh Prenot won the NCAA title in 400 IM in March. Although he has exhausted his swimming eligibility, Prenot is focusing on this Olympic before returning to Berkeley to finish his physics degree (as a physics guy myself, I feel obligated to mention this tie every time).

Looking for Prenot to compete in 200 Breast, 200 IM, 400 IM with Texas' Will Licon (just like in the NCAA's) and vets like Kevin Cordes (Arizona grad) and some guy named Michael Phelps.

Jacob Pebley

Recent Cal graduate looking to make his first Olympic game

Pebley had great success swimming in backstroke and IM for the Golden Bears. He might be good enough to win a spot behind former teammate Ryan Murphy in either 100 or 200 Back to make the team.

Tom Shields

Former Cal star looking to make his first Olympic

Tom Shields peaked right after the last Olympics. A key member of several Cal NCAA team championships, not to mention his own 6 NCAA individual titles, Shields will look to make his first Olympics game in 2016.

A very good swimmer in both fly and back, Shields' best shot may be in IM, where he will have to beat out some dude by the name of Ryan Lochte.

Caitlin Leverenz

Former Cal star looking to make her second Olympic

Looking to make a return trip to the Olympic is Caitlin Leverenz, another Cal star who has stayed on campus to train for the past few years and have had solid success in the Arena Pro circuit. Leverenz represented the Red, White, and Blue in the 2012 games by swimming in both 200 IM and 400 IM. Leverenz earned a bronze in 200 IM but will try to improve on that result.

Leverenz should be a contender in 200 and 400 IM.

Rachel Bootsma

Calympian looking for another trip to the Olympics

Recent Cal graduate Rachel Boostma has won 3 of the past 4 100 Back NCAA titles. She should be a contender to make the team in 100 Back again. Bootsma competed in 100 Back and 400 medley relay in the 2012 London games. Bootsma finished 11th in 100 Back but owns a gold medal from swimming the prelim of the 400 medley relay.

Despite her young age, Bootsma has already made the announcement that she will retire from competitive swimming after the the 2016 Rio games.

Other Cal swimmers

Other Cal alum looking to make the Olympics (and are at least decent shot to make the finals) include Elizabeth Pelton (recent graduate in 200 Back and maybe 200 IM), Madison Kennedy (sprinter in 50 and 100 Free), and Celina Li (another recent graduate who is a contender in 200 and 400 IM).

Current Cal swimmers to look for include incoming sophomore Andrew Seliskar (breast, fly, IM), Cierra Runge (took a sabbatical this past year but is now transferring to Wisconsin!?!, 200, 500, 800 Free), incoming sophomore Amy Bilquist (100, 200 Back, 50, 100 Free), incoming sophomore Kathleen Baker (continuing the strong Cal tradition in 100 back), and Abbey Weitzeil (Cal commit who took a sabbatical before matriculating in Berkeley, 50 and 100 Free).

I am sure that I have forgotten someone. Check out SwimSwam's prediction for the Olympic trials here.

They predict the following Golden Bears to make the squad:

Nathan Adrian, Ryan Murphy, Josh Prenot, Jacob Pebley, Tom Shields

Abbey Weitzeil, Missy Franklin, Kathleen Baker, Dana Vollmer, Caitlin Leverenz

Given the prediction above, maybe I should have featured Weitzeil.

Please let me know of any omissions in the comment section below.

GO BEARS!