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Golden Medals: Perfect starts for Cal W. Water Polo, W. Gymnastics, & Rugby

Winter seasons are starting out great (as expected) for Cal Olympic Sports

No.4 Cal Women’s Water Polo started the year with two dominant wins over ranked opponents
Cal Women’s Water Polo Facebook

Cal Women’s Water Polo (2-0)

No.4 Cal Women’s Water Polo opened their season, and the new Coralie Simmons regime, with two convincing victories - 12-3 over No.14 San Jose State and 15-7 over No.12 Pacific.

Returning Rio 2016 Calympians Dora Antal and Roser Tarrago each scored 4 goals apiece as 11 total Golden Bears tallied a goal last weekend. Sophomore Rachael Lewin scored 5 goals (4 against Pacific) to lead all Bears. Inside the cage, sophomore Madison Tagg played a bit more than senior Madeline Trabucco - should be interesting to see which keeper earns the top spot.

Of course, the expectation is for the Golden Bears to beat everyone outside of the top 3 of UCLA, USC, and Stanford; although, ASU is now getting better and better. Bears would need to get in to the top 3 to make the year end NCAA tournament.

Bears will play a scrimmage against Stanford at 8 AM on Saturday morning from Legends Aquatics Center.

The next match that will count would be next Friday when CSUN visits ahead of the weekend’s California Speedo Cup I - when the Bears will take on Long Beach State and UC Davis.


Cal Women’s Gymnastics (5-0)

On the heel of winning the NorCal classic over Sacramento State, Stanford, UC Davis, and San Jose State, Cal Women’s Gymnastics traveled to Iowa last weekend and defeated host Iowa.

It was a big road victory for a squad that has always done better in front of the home crowd. Bears scored better in 3 of the 4 events (got to do better on bars) while sweeping the top 3 in beam.

The Bears are back in Berkeley this weekend when they host Washington and San Jose State in a Tri-Meet. Cal fans can also get a commemorative posters of the team’s 2016 NCAA National Championship appearance.


Cal Rugby (4-0)

Golden Bears showed that they are the best side in the University of California system with a dominant 4-0 record at the Dennis Storer Classic down in Westwood last weekend.

Bears defeated UC San Diego 40-0, UC Davis 31-7, UC Santa Cruz 36-0, and host UC Los Angeles 26-0. The squad that faced UCSD Titans, UC Davis Aggies, and UCSC Banana Slugs consisted of at least half freshmen-sophomores. A more veteran squad consisting of 5th year seniors in Russell Webb, Patrick Barrientes, and Anthony Salaber took on the Bruins.

The Bears will have their home opener this Saturday at Witter Rugby Field as they welcome Arizona in a PAC Rugby conference match and UC Santa Cruz immediately afterward (this would be the chance to see the next generation of Golden Bears in the freshman-sophomore squad). Gates open at noon PT.

Admission is free for all Cal students, active military personnel and children under 10 when the gates open at 12 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and youth 10-19, and $3 for groups of 10 or more, with advance online purchases available at calbea.rs/RugbySpring2017.


Cal Men’s Gymnastics loses in the Big Flipoff

No.8 Cal Men’s Gymnastics had a strong start to their season but ultimately had to settle for 2nd place behind rival Stanford in the “Big Flipoff” aka “Big Meet”. There were reasons behind Stanford being ranked No.2 in the country.

Bears had some trouble in pommel horse and parallel bars, but were otherwise quite competitive against Stanford. Fortunately (or unfortunately), the Cal Men’s Gymnastics schedule pits the Bears against Stanford 4-5 times every year. Bears get the chance to best Stanford this weekend at the Stanford Open.


Cal Swimming visiting Arizona Schools

After the annual winter training sessions in Hawaii (for the women) and Colorado Springs (for the men), Cal Swimming will resume the dual meet part of their schedule this weekend down in Arizona against both Arizona (today at 1 PM PT) and ASU (Saturday at 11 AM PT). The meet against ASU is streamed online HERE.

SwimSwam has updated their power ranking recently. Cal Men’s Swimming has surged to the No.1 spot over Texas and NC State in their men’s ranking.

#1: CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS (PREVIOUS RANK: #3)

A great Georgia Invite performance boosts Cal up to #1 in our ranks. The Golden Bears are the only team nationwide to have A cuts in all 5 relays and currently rank #1 in 3 of 5 relay events. In national rankings, they’ve also got at least one swimmer inside the top 8 in every single event outside of the 500 freestyle. Ryan Murphy is still a massive game-changer in the backstrokes and medley relays, Andrew Seliskar is beginning to look every bit the star he was recruited to be and freshman Michael Jensen has been a revelation.

It should be noted that the superior Texas Diving probably gives them a slight overall edge in the NCAA Championships, but the Golden Bears are hungry for another national title.

For the women, Cal is ranked 2nd behind rival Stanford.

#2: CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS (PREVIOUS RANK #3)

In typical Cal fashion, the Golden Bears of 2017 have a couple major holes (breaststroke and distance) but are so absurdly loaded in everything else that the deficiencies almost don’t matter. California has two swimmers apiece in the top 8 of the 100 and 200 back along with a whopping four swimmers inside the top 12 in the 100 fly. Freshman sprinter Abbey Weitzeil has already been worth the gap-year wait. And even without a great true breaststroker on the roster, Cal leads the nation in the 400 medley and sits 2nd in the 200 medley relay as no Golden Bear relay ranks lower than 3rd.

Looking ahead to the NCAA, Bears would need to win the relays to overcome Stanford’s edge in distance swimming thanks to the presence of one Katie Ledecky down at The Farm.

On the national swimming news front, Cal Men’s Swimming head coach Dave Durden is named the head coach of the USA men’s national team for the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest.

Congrats to Coach Durden on this honor as this helps both with his bid to become the USA head coach for Tokyo 2020 as well as the continuing effort to recruit future swimming superstars to Berkeley.

GO BEARS!