In the first day of Olympic events on Saturday, former Cal stars Alex Morgan and Natalie Coughlin were expected to most prominently represent the Bears in their respective events.
Instead, Dana Vollmer stole the Cal show, setting an Olympic record with a time of 56.26 in her heat of the women’s 100 fly and finishing first in the semifinals.
Vollmer’s performance establishes her as the prohibitive favorite to win gold for the United States in Sunday’s final.
Eleven-time Olympic medalist and all-time Cal great Coughlin competed in most likely her final Olympic event, swimming one leg of the 400 freestyle relay in the preliminaries and finishing with the best split of any woman. Coughlin’s performance propelled the U.S. team to a second-place finish in the preliminary round. Despite her outstanding performance, Coughlin was not selected to compete in the final, effectively ending her incredible Olympic career.
Jessica Hardy took Coughlin’s place in the final, swimming a respectable leg while aiding the relay team in receiving a bronze medal. Both Coughlin and Hardy will receive medals for their efforts.
Morgan, widely considered a favorite to emerge as one of the breakout stars of the Olympic Games, played well but did not find herself on the scoresheet in a 3-0 U.S. victory over Colombia in women’s soccer. Morgan did provide an assist on the second goal of the match but was largely unneeded as the Americans heavily outmatched the Colombian side, allowing just two shots on goal the entire match. The victory clinches the women a spot in the quarterfinals, but they must still take on the North Koreans in the final match of group play.
Current Bear Caitlin Leverenz squeaked in to the women’s 400 IM final, finishing eighth in the preliminaries. Leverenz locked down a sixth-place finish in the final, but her Olympics are not yet over. Leverenz’s supposed stronger event, the 200 IM, will be later this week.
Other Bears competing on Saturday included Betsy Hassett, playing women’s soccer for New Zealand. The Kiwis fought hard, but fell 1-0 at the hands of a talented Brazil squad. Hassett started for the Australian wannabes, eventually subbing out in the 87th minute.
Preview: Sunday, July 29
Stephanie Au, Rachel Bootsma — Women’s 100 back heats — 2 a.m.
Dominik Meichtry — Men’s 200 free heats — 2:20 a.m.
Mathias Gydesen, Marcin Tarczynski — Men’s 100 back heats — 3:03 a.m.
Nathan Adrian, Graeme Moore — Men’s 400 free relay qualification — 3:56 a.m.
Sara Isakovic, Dana Vollmer, Hannah Wilson — Women’s 100 fly FINAL — 11:30 a.m.*
Dominik Meichtry — Men’s 200 free semis — 11:37 a.m.*
Damir Dugonjic, Martin Liivamagi — Men’s 100 breast FINAL — 12:11 p.m.*
Mathias Gydesen, Marcin Tarczynski — Men’s 100 back semis — 12:28 p.m.*
Stephanie Au, Rachel Bootsma — Women’s 100 back semis — 12:49 p.m.*
Nathan Adrian, Graeme Moore — Men’s 400 free relay FINAL — 1 p.m.*
Men’s Water Polo
Aleksa Saponjic — Serbia vs. Hungary — 7:30 a.m.
John Mann — USA vs. Montenegro — 11:40 a.m.
Max Zhang — China vs. Spain — 8:45 a.m.
Julie Nichols, Dave O’Neill (coach) — Women’s lightweight double sculls heats — 2:40 a.m.
Erin Cafaro — Women’s eight heats — 3:50 a.m.