Both Cal men’s and women’s swimming and diving continue to look quite strong for the 2020 season as both squads wrapped up their home dual meet schedule this past weekend in dominant wins over the Arizona schools.
Defending NCAA team champs, Cal men’s swimming and diving squads set a bunch of pool records (which is quite impressive considering all the past Cal greats that have swum at Spieker) in 166-123 win over No.10 Arizona and 160-119 win over No.13 Arizona State.
Sophomore Reece Whitley earned the Pac-12 Men’s Swimmer of the Week honor for setting new records in both the 100y Breast (52.77) and 200y Breast (1:53.65) in addition to contributing to another pool record in the 200 medley relay (23.85 split in a 1:25.14 pool record) along side Daniel Carr (back), Pawel Sendyk (fly), and Michael Jensen (free). All these swims came during Saturday’s ASU meet.
Whitley also had a pair of impressive swims in Friday’s meet when the Bears raced their key guys in off-events. Whitley finished 2nd in 200y IM, which potentially could be his 3rd individual scoring events at the NCAA national championships this late March but he probably need to cut more time in the next month to qualify, and came 6th in 200y Free.
New Cal Bear Hugo Gonzalez (a previous Spanish Olympian who will again be back in the Olympics) set another pool record in winning the 400y IM (3:44.51). Gonzalez and fellow former Olympian (Singapore) Zheng Wen Quah both missed the December meet in Minnesota when the Cal Bears finished a distant 2nd behind Texas as these two Bears booked their return trips to the Olympic games at other meets.
The 2020 NCAA championships in Indianapolis, IN in the end of March should again be a close contest between Cal and Texas.
Bears also won a ton of other events on Saturday without breaking the pool record - Trenton Julian won both 500y Free and 1000y Free, reigning Pac-12 Swimmer of the Month Ryan Hoffer won both 50y Free and 100y Free, Daniel Carr won both 100y Back and 200y Back, Quah won 200y Fly, and Bryce Mefford won 200y Free. Furthermore, senior diver Connor Callahan qualified for the NCAA regional; Callahan has qualified for the NCAA championships for the past 3 years but has yet to score any valuable points at the season ending meet.
Bears also won 10 of 14 events on Friday with most guys swimming their off-events. Quah took 100y Back and 100y Free. Gonzalez won 100y Breast and 200y Back. Julian finished first in 200y Fly and 200y Breast. Hoffer won 50y Free and 100y Fly. Carr won 200y Free. Cal also continued to dominate in the relays regardless of the lineup.
On the weekend, Cal also honored their senior class - key contributors to last year’s championship team in Zheng Wen Quah, Michael Jensen, and Pawel Sendyk; NCAA championship qualifiers in Karl Arvidsson and Connor Callahan; other senior leaderes in Jack Xie, Ethan Young, Andy Song, and Shane Forker.
The Cal men are now 3-0 in dual meets on the season. They will have two more Pac-12 dual meets on the road at USC and at Stanford in the coming month.
On the women’s side, Cal Bears were equally dominant in their 196-101 win over Arizona and 192.5-97.5 win over Arizona State.
Two Cal Bears earned Pac-12 honors with Abbey Weitzeil named the Pac-12 Swimmer of the Week and Briana Thai named the Pac-12 Diver of the Week.
Similar to Whitley, Weitzeil also set a pair of new pool record with her 21.73 swim in the 50y Free on Saturday after her 47.79 swim in the 100y Free on Friday. Abbey broke her own pool records in both events. The 2016 Rio Calympian (she delayed her Cal matriculation to qualify and compete at the Olympics) has been quite strong on the season -setting a new American record in the 50y Free in December with a time of 20.90 (first American to break the 21 second mark). For that swim, Weitzeil was the Pac-12 Swimmer of the Month for December. On the weekend, Weitzeil won 4 individual events as well as swam the anchor leg on 4 relay wins.
Briana Thai swept the 1-meter and 3-meter diving events on both days. She also earned the weekly honor last year after winning 3 of the 4 events against the LA schools. The junior is still seeking her first NCAA championship berth of her Cal career despite already owning the school record for 1-meter diving.
Other standouts on the weekend include UK sophomore Alicia Wilson with 3 wins (200y Free, 200y Back, 200y IM) on Friday and 400y IM win on Saturday, fellow sophomore Isabel Ivey with 3 wins (100y Back, 100y Free, 100y Fly) on Saturday, and another sophomore Ema Rajic with 2 wins (100y Breast, 200y Breast) on Saturday to go with 100y Breast win on Friday.
Bears honored their 6 seniors - Calympian Abbey Weitzeil, NCAA championships key contributors in Maddie Murphy and Keaton Blovad, and Pac-12 championship contributors in Aislinn Light, Courtney Mykkanen, and Alexa Buckley. Cal used an all-senior (Light, Blovad, Murphy, Weitzeil) 400y free relay lineup for the win to close the eventful weekend.
Cal women (5-0) will also have more road dual meets (at USC, at UCLA, at Stanford) before the Pac-12 and NCAA championships.