Cal women’s swimming made waves at its first two home meets of the season by staying undefeated against No.7 Texas and No. 23 Wisconsin at Spieker Aquatics Complex last Friday and Saturday.
The No.3 Bears beat Texas in 10 out of 16 events in the season home opener and blew out Wisconsin in all 16 events the very next day. Cal is still undefeated on the season (4-0) after handing Texas its first loss (2-1) and dropping the Badgers to 3-4.
“I thought we raced against some really tough opponents and for our second dual meet of the season, we raced really well,” associate head coach Kristen Cunnane said.
Freshmen Elizabeth Pelton was the star against Texas, posting four total wins including a pool-record time of 1:54.55 at the 200 backstroke.
“I was very happy with my own individual performance,” Pelton said. “It was a great indication of where I am mid-season, which made me even more pleased with my performance.”
Pelton truly had a memorable day, where she anchored the 400 medley relay team to a win in the first event of the day by less than two seconds.
The victory gave Pelton the momentum to dominate her next three events, the 200 free, the 200 back and finally the 400 IM.
Her fellow freshman, Rachel Bootsma, mirrored her success, with three individual wins of her own in the 100 free, the 100 back and the 100 fly.
The freshmen’s success with seven combined wins paved the way for the rest of the team in a 172-128 win over Texas.
“Pelton and Bootsma did an exceptional job,” Cunnane said. “They raced like seasoned veterans, and they are truly veterans in the amount of experience they have in other competitions as well.”
Pelton and Bootsma repeated their success on Saturday by again combining for seven total wins against the Badgers. They led the team in a dominating sweep of all 16 events.
Freshman Lauren Driscoll added to the young talent’s prominent performance with her six second win in the 1000 free. The team’s lone senior, Caitlin Leverenz, made her own impact with two individual wins in the 100 and 200 fly and also found success in the 200 medley relay on Saturday.
The Bears’ success this weekend was summed up with the ring ceremony — in which the team was awarded its 2012 NCAA championship rings — that took place before the Wisconsin meet. After seeing the accomplishments of the team they joined, the freshmen made it their mission to leave a mark of their own in Cal swimming.
“The ring ceremony really helped us realize what went into making the team what it is today,” Pelton said. “It gave us the adrenaline and momentum we needed to swim well.”
Cal dropped to No. 3 after USC and Georgia moved to the top two spots after a new CSCAA poll was released. The rankings are voted on by nine CSCAA members who judge the teams on a regular basis throughout the season.
The team’s success is based out of its cohesiveness of the veterans and experienced freshmen.
“The team really stepped up this weekend and each took it as their own individual, personal responsibility to race well,” Pelton said. “By performing well individually, it made the team that much stronger.”