Practice + Pancakes: Cal Olympians Show Speed at Alumni Practice

SwimSwam wants to give you an inside look at what a normal day-in-the-life looks like for any given swimmer, and how that differs from team to team or city to city. We send our head of production, Coleman Hodges, to be a fly on the wall at practice, then relay what he discovered back to you over pancakes. Or at least breakfast.

The Cal Aquatics Gala is a bi-annual event and fundraiser for all of Cal aquatics, bringing in alumni from all across the globe for a night of celebration and appreciation for swimming, diving, and water polo. However, the best part of the weekend? The Cal men host an alumni practice for all the swammers who come in for the event. That meant that retired Olympians, NCAA champions, and national teamers from around the world got back in the pool to swim with the current Bear swimmers.

During this weekend, someone mentioned to me that while Dave Durden is a great coach, he was born to do this *motions to Durden shmoozing merrily with alumni*. And Durden confirmed this, mentioning in the video that the most important thing for him as a coach at Cal is building community, and that the alumni are most certainly a part of the bear community. Durden welcomed the former swimmers back into the pool with a generous warm up, one that included throwback drills to the Nort Thornton days of Cal as well as lots of social kicking, so the undergrads could get in some talk time with the alumni in their lanes.

Make no mistake. Even though it was an alumni practice, the Cal bears still threw down some serious speed. Durden had quite the workout planned for undergrads and alumni alike. Remember, this was long course:


4×50 choice @ 1:15

1:00 rest

50 [Alumni: A little bit faster, Undergrads: Fast]

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2 years ago

“They were on 1:30, so we got really good at going 1:15” haha I love it

2 years ago

Very cool! Would be fun to have a list of all the alumni who made it….a lot of well known names in bunch!

2 years ago

I wish more schools did stuff like this! You can really tell the good programs from the great by what they do for alumni!

Reply to  Maverick
2 years ago

probably why Purdue does nothing for alumni

Becky D
Reply to  meeeeee
2 years ago

You sound like a real peach. Maybe they “lost” your email address.

Reply to  Becky D
2 years ago

Thanks honey. Just sayin’

Reply to  meeeeee
2 years ago

Comments like this show why you got kicked off a team

Reply to  Maverick
2 years ago

alumni = endowment

2 years ago

What a fantastic event, every school should do it. Do the Berkeley ladies do this to? That would be quite a reunion!

Another note, I wish Matt Biondi had showed up.

Reply to  Mikeh
2 years ago

He actually said he was going back to the brunette.

Reply to  Mikeh
2 years ago

Ugur Taner

Jay ryan
2 years ago

Cool. Love the Bears. The alumni know how to represent. DD shows the degree of class that all coaches can aspire to

2 years ago

“We got really good at swimming slow.” Spoken like a true oldster. Reminds me of my old school neanderthal training days.

2 years ago

Durden: “60×100 fly, that’s insane, can you imagine that these days?”

Troy: “60×100 fly Long Coirse? And you won the 100 fly at the Olympics you say? Caeleb, let me run you through something… “

Canadian SwimSwam fan
2 years ago

Wow…what an incredible idea! I’m up in Canada…and have never seen this initiative be introduced. Wow. Way to go coach Durden…way to go Cal!

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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