The home opener is always an exciting time of year. It’s filled with excitement and optimism, the kind of emotions that every team feels before the wear and tear of the season start to take effect. The No. 9 Cal women’s swim and dive team will host Washington State on Friday at 4 p.m. in its first home meet of the 2016-17 season.
“The first home meet of the year is always a very exciting one for our freshmen,” said Cal assistant head coach Ian Walsh. “I think swimming at home, obviously having the crowd, definitely helps and allows for a little more exciting atmosphere. We’ve got an excellent pool, and I think we’re just going to use the momentum coming up from Oregon State to progress and get better with each competition this season.”
The Bears certainly have a lot going for them after routing the Beavers on Oct. 7. In that meet, Cal swept all 14 events, all by a comfortable margin of victory. The Bears accomplished this without the help of Olympians Abbey Weitzeil and Kathleen Baker, who sat out the meet to presumably give their teammates a chance to showcase their swimming chops. Whether or not they compete Friday remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, Washington State has a chance to bounce back after losing its first meet of the season against No. 6 USC, the defending Pac-12 Champions, by a score of 161-96. Still, the Cougars have reasons to be optimistic after some notable individual performances.
Jasmine Margetts impressed her last time out, scoring a team-high 17 points. Margetts swam times of 2:03.96 in the 200-yard fly and 2:03.52 in the 200-yard back, good for second place in those events. The Cougars’ freshman duo of Angela Mavrantza and Ryan Falk also impressed. Mavrantza placed first in the 100-yard breast with a time of 1:04.54, while Falk placed second in the 1,000-yard free with a time of 10:24.08.
“We’re really excited to host Washington State,” Walsh said. “I think every meet is a benchmark for our young ladies. I think it’s once again an opportunity to see where we’re at, and it’s still early in the season but I think with each competition you can always learn something, whether it’s a different event or an individual competing. They’ve done a great job with their program, and they’re definitely up and coming. We’re looking forward to a great meet this weekend.”
Last season, Cal and WSU competed in a two-day dual meet in Washington with the Bears winning handily by a score of 299.50-131.50. In that meet, Cal’s then-freshman Amy Bilquist set pool records in the 100-yard back and 50-yard free.
For Cal, this meet marks the first of a three-meet homestand in Berkeley. After the dual meet against WSU, the Bears will host Nevada on Nov. 4 and Texas the next Friday on Nov. 11.
Jeffrey Liu covers men’s tennis. Contact him at [email protected]