Over the last 38 years, the second week of October is traditionally recognized as Fleet Week in Northern California. On the weekend, thousands of spectators line San Francisco’s waterfront to crane their necks and marvel at the speed and grace of the Navy’s flying aerobatic team, the Blue Angels.
This past weekend there was another squadron of speedy jets in blue.
In the second meet of the season, the California Golden Bears women’s swim team traveled to Fresno, Calif., and secured victories in 15 of the 18 swimming events in Friday and Saturday’s Chick-fil-A Invitational.
A clean sweep
Sarah Darcel, Katie McLaughlin and Abbey Weitzeil each won two events on Friday, as California swept all 11 races on the first day.
“Overall, I thought we did a nice job with some good, solid racing,” Cal Head Coach Teri McKeever said. “We got some good information from a coaching perspective and see some things we can build on.”
Golden Bears finished first, second and third in the 200-yard individual medley. Clocking in at 2:00.72, sophomore Darcel claimed first place in that race. She would also secure a win with a time of 4:15.32 in the 400-yard individual medley.
Senior McLaughlin collected her two wins in the 100-meter butterfly (53.62) and the 200-meter freestyle (1:46.65). Junior Weitzeil, meanwhile, took first place in the 50-meter freestyle (22.17) and the 100-meter breaststroke (1:02.76).
The Bears also took home first place in the 100-meter backstroke (55.80), 500 individual free (4:52.38), 200 medley and free relays (1:41.93 and 1:32.15, respectively) and the 800 free relay (7:19.70).
The Bears broke 10 Fresno Aquatics Center records in the two-day meet including in all five relay competitions. Weitzeil notched three individual facility records (50 free, 100 free, 100 breaststroke) while McLaughlin earned two with the 200 free and 200 fly.
Weitzeil was the only swimmer to complete the 100-meter freestyle in less than 50 seconds. She finished the race in 48.78.
“I felt we had three really good sessions of racing this week,” Coach McKeever recalled. “We are moving in the right direction with still a long way to go, and we can use what we learned here to put into our training and make adjustments individually and collectively.”
Also participating in the Chick-fil-A Invitational were the Fresno State Bulldogs as co-hosts with California, the Washington State Cougars, the San Jose State Spartans, the San Diego State Aztecs and the Air Force Falcons.
California won the six-team invitational meet with 1,250 total points. San Diego State was the runner-up with 963 total points and Fresno State earned third place with a distant 487 total points. Washington State (380), Air Force (367) and San Jose State (275) rounded out the meet.
The Bears continue their hosting duties on Wednesday as the Utah Utes travel to the Spieker Aquatics Complex for a co-educational dual swimming meet at 4:30 p.m. PT.