Liam Bell will swim for the Cal Golden Bears in the 2021-2022 season with either 2 or 3 seasons of eligibility remaining.
Bell, originally from Atlanta, entered the transfer portal after his freshman year at the University of Alabama but ultimately decided to remain in Tuscaloosa. He re-entered his name in the portal after withdrawing from the NCAA Championship meet last spring.
Bell leaves Alabama as the school record-holder in the 50 and 100 breast. He was the SEC runner-up in the 100 breast during his freshman season. He touched fourth in the 200 breast and 17th in the 200 IM at that same meet.
He was unable to match that level during his sophomore season. Bell went 1.5 seconds slower in prelims of the 100 breast at the 2021 SEC Championships, narrowly squeezing into the C-final. He ultimately won the C-final, but was still two seconds slower than the previous year. He swam the 50 and 100 free, touching 26th and 42nd, respectively.
He withdrew from NCAAs more than 24 hours after invites were sent, meaning no alternates were invited in his place. His in-season times seeded him 24th in the 100 breast, 43rd in the 50 free, and 42nd in the 100 free. For reference, he was the 6th seed in the 100 breast for the 2020 NCAA champs before they were canceled due to the pandemic.
Top SCY Times:
- 100 breast – 51.39
- 200 breast – 1:52.93
- 200 IM – 1:44.35
- 50 free – 19.64
- 100 free – 42.81
Alabama recently named Roman Willetts to its coaching staff, who spent the last year working as one of Cal’s volunteer assistant coaches.
The Crimson Tide has seen multiple coaching changes in the last two years. Bell committed to the team while Coley Stickels was head coach. Stickels resigned after a year and a half, leaving interim coach Ozzie Quevedo to oversee the team in the middle of the season.
Alabama named Margo Greer as the new head coach for the 2021-2022 season. This will be her first full-time coaching job at any level.
The Cal Golden Bears sent 19 men to the U.S. Olympic Trials in June. Of those, Ryan Murphy, Bryce Mefford, Andrew Seliksar, and Tom Shields will travel to Tokyo to represent Team USA at the 2020 Olympics. Cal head coach Dave Durden is the head coach of the American Olympic Team
Bell heads to Cal as a top breaststroker for the team. During the 2020-2021 season, he would have been the team’s second-fastest in the 100 breast and their third-fastest in the 200. Rising senior Reece Whitley was their fastest in both events last season and currently holds the school’s records in each race. Bell and Whitley will train and compete together for at least one year, unless Whitley decides to exercise his option for a 5th season.
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