Another Cal Golden Bear has booked a spot in next year’s 2020 Tokyo Olympics. While a number of 2020 “Calympians” won’t be earning their spot until next June (particularly those that are USA Swimmers), we will be getting a steady updates in the coming year of Cal Bears, both current student-athletes and alumni, who will be representing their country, but also Cal, at Tokyo next August for the 2020 Olympic Games.
Following Cal Men’s Swimming head coach Dave Durden as the Team USA men’s swimming head coach and Cal Women’s Water Polo alum Roser Tarrago whose Spanish team qualified for a spot thanks to their Silver Medal finish at the FINA Aquatics Championship last month, we have our first individual Calympian qualifier in Hong Kong’s Stephanie Au (you can click on that link to see what I wrote about her for the 2016 Olympics).
Au, who will be 28 next summer, will be participating in her 4th Olympic games. She earned her Cal degree in 2014 in Environmental Economics but has continued her athletic career post graduation while also do some modeling on the side. Stephanie raced in 200, 400, and 800 Free in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, prior to her matriculation at Cal. In 2012 London games, Au switched to race in 100 and 200 Back. For the 2016 Rio games, Au raced as a part of the Hong Kong 4x100 Medley Relay, swimming the leadoff backstroke leg.
In the FINA World Cup event in Singapore last week, Au managed to set a new Hong Kong record in the 100 Back with a time of 1:00.22, getting under the Olympic A standard time of 1:00.25. In the process, this swim earned Au a Bronze in the event. With all the political unrest at Hong Kong right now, including demonstration at the airport, Au was able to make it to Singapore despite some travel difficulties.
Unfortunately for Au, the standard to medal for this event is now at an insane time of under 59.50 second for the 100 meter backstroke. Nonetheless, this was a great feat for Au to make what could be her final Olympic games.
Au is arguably the most famous of a long line of women swimmers from Hong Kong that also studied and competed at Cal. Before Au, there was Hannah Wilson and Sherry Tsai. Teammates with Au at the 2016 Olympics in that 4x100 Medley relay were fellow Calympians in Camille Cheng and Yvette Kong.
Stephanie Au earned the honor to be the flagbearer for Hong Kong at the last Olympics. She might get a repeat of that honor next summer.
CONGRATULATIONS TO STEPHANIE AND GO BEARS!