Defending NCAA Champion Cal Women Add Transfer From Auburn All-American Sprinter Hull

Sprinter Valerie Hull has decided to transfer from Auburn to Cal beginning with her sophomore season of eligibility. This will take her closer to her native San Diego for her three remaining years of eligibility.

“I’m grateful for the experience I had here at Auburn, but I’m excited to be closer to home and to continue my swim career as a Golden Bear,” Hull said of her decision.

Hull had a standout freshman season at Auburn that concluded with her participation at the 2015 NCAA Championships both individually and as part of Auburn’s relays.

In her individual swims, Hull was 23rd in the 50 free (22.25) and 37th in the 100 free (49.15). That time in the 50 was a new lifetime best for Hull, and she was as fast as 48.88 from a flat-start in the 100 free.

In the process, she also picked up two first team All-America honors by anchoring Auburn’s 200 free relay (21.46) and 400 free relay (48.75).

Her proven ability to swim fast at the NCAA level will be a huge boost for Cal, the defending NCAA team champions. While Cal does return plenty of stars from its squad last year that won three relay events at nationals, Teri McKeever graduates top pure-freestyle-sprinter Kaylin Bing, who led off their title-winning 200 free relay in 22.36; and also loses Missy Franklin, who was also on that relay and split 21.28. Hull’s 200 free relay split in finals was also faster than that of Cal’s third leg, Rachel Bootsma, who was 21.60 in that race.

Hull will have a shot at scoring individually in the 50 as a sophomore, but more importantly for Cal’s team effort she will combine junior Farida Osman to form the core of Cal’s new sprint group in the 2015-2016 season after Abbey Weitzeil (the best sprinter in the class of 2015) decided to defer college enrollment until after the 2016 Olympic Trials.

Also joining the refreshed Cal sprint group next season will be Amy Bilquist (22.1/48.3 freestyler). She’s joined in the class by a pair of swimmers who are not sprinters, but like current Cal standouts Liz Pelton and Rachel Bootsma can still hold their own, Katie McLaughlin (22.6/48.3) and Kathleen Baker (22.6/48.2), which gives Cal a chance at repeating as 200 free relay champions in 2016.

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7 years ago

Honestly Brett Hawke needs to be gone. I have heard nothing but awful things about him in the past few years. Auburn swimming needs a new face to the program if they want to get back to where they were a few years ago

7 years ago

“Don’t hate too hard. It’s kind of hard to get good girl recruits when 100 out of the top 50 recruits want to swim in California. Also, swimming isn’t like football where coaches are fired after 2 years of poor performance.”

Explain ‘hard’? we are talking about Auburn Swimming and Diving. I get your point about Cal Berkeley, but Auburn is also a brand name in the NCAA swimming. So no excuse for this program to not finish in the top 5 at NCAA every year.

7 years ago

So she is eligible for the 2015- 2016 season? Sounds like an awesome get. I like that she is only a sophomore. she’ll have time to get close to the women on the team.

7 years ago

Wow. Brett Hawke has really done a number on Auburn. From domination in the mid 2000s to 9th and 18th, and now they lose their best swimmer. What is happening there? Sounds like they need a complete overhaul. I’m guessing Mr. Hawke’s days as head coach are limited.

Reply to  Schwimfanny
7 years ago

Catch these hands

7 years ago

BK: “Also joining the refreshed Cal sprint group next season will be Amy Bilquist (22.1/48.9 freestyler).”

Braden I think Amy Bilquist has been faster in the 100 free…won the 2015 Indiana HS State Champs in Feb with a 48.36?

She has also been clocked at 47.67 for her 400 medley relay anchor split at the 2015 Southern Premier meet in March.

Also of note is her 21.64 split in the 200 free relay from that Nashville meet.

Anyhoo, despite Abbey Weitzeil’s deferment and Missy’s going pro along with the graduation of an outstanding senior class, I agree with your assessment on Cal’s repeat chances – still an absolutely stellar incoming class with the likes of Amy, Kathleen Baker… Read more »

7 years ago

how far down will the AU women fall? i believe before the last relay at ncaa’s, they weren’t even top 20. been a steady downhill fall since Marsh left! OUCH! how does he keep his job? i am sure he is getting paid well and swimming is a high profile sport at Auburn!

Reply to  weirdo
7 years ago

Don’t hate too hard. It’s kind of hard to get good girl recruits when 100 out of the top 50 recruits want to swim in California. Also, swimming isn’t like football where coaches are fired after 2 years of poor performance.

Reply to  WUT
7 years ago

As a Cal fan I remember how painful it was in Auburn’s dominant years. We were losing great recruits to them every year. I think one year they had 6-8 girls on their roster from California. So it can be done.

Reply to  Calbearfan
7 years ago

Yeah, Marsh never seemed to have a problem recruiting. I wouldn’t blame it on the numbers.

7 years ago

WOW- huge pickup for the Cal ladies and another huge loss for Auburn. It looks like Brett Hawke must still be having meltdowns on deck

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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