On the first day of winter, Cal and San Jose State staged a dual meet under the warm sunshine at Spieker Aquatics Complex Wednesday afternoon, with the second-ranked Golden Bears prevailing, 178-113.
Three Cal swimmers won two events apiece, with sophomore Katie McLaughlin winning the 200-yard butterfly (1:59.83) and 200 individual medley (2:093.89); sophomore Amy Bilquist claiming the 50 free (22.88) and 200 back (1:59.67); and senior Celina Li taking the 100 free (51.68) and 200 breast (2:18.91).
The meet comes during a period of intense training for the Bears. After winning the Georgia Fall Invitational in early December, Cal won’t face another opponent in head-to-head competition until the Pac-12 dual meet season almost eight weeks later.
“The goal for today was to give us the opportunity to swim some different things and have a racing experience,” head coach Teri McKeever said. “When we go from the first part of December until mid-January, that’s a long time. As a coach, you like a month where we can just focus on training, and to put a racing experience in there breaks it up a bit.”
Instead of holding a typical 1000-yard free during the meet, the coaches inserted a 100 IM, and Cal freshman Abbey Weitzeil came through in 55.94, edging out Li, who was right behind in 56.73.
The 100 breaststroke featured winner Kathleen Baker (1:03.22), the Olympic silver medalist in the 100 back, as well as fourth-place finisher Weitzeil, a two-time Olympic medalist as a sprint freestyle.
Freshmen Anina Lund (1:53.93) and Maddie Murphy 1:53.99) paced the 200 free, while junior Noemie Thomas, the national leader in the 100 fly, won her specialty in 53.66.
Following a road trip to Arizona next month, Cal returns home for three dual meets – vs. USC on Friday, Jan. 27, vs. UCLA on Saturday, Jan. 18 and vs. Stanford on Saturday, Feb. 11.