The Cal women’s swim team is sending its divers down south this weekend to compete in the Texas Diving Invitational. This is the first diving-only competition of the season for the Bears, and they will be bringing all four of the team divers to the meet. While diving typically is not Cal’s strong suit, the divers hope to prove something different this weekend.
Taking place in Austin, Texas, the meet will be Thursday through Saturday, with different events each day. The women will be competing in the 3-meter competition Thursday, the 1-meter competition Friday and the platform competition Saturday. The Cal men’s diving team will also be at the same meet, diving in the men’s side of the competition.
Cal hosted the Longhorns earlier this year in a home dual-meet, losing 161-139. In the meet, Texas dominated the diving, taking three of the top four spots in both the 3-meter and the 1-meter competitions. Senior Emma Ivory-Ganja took both events for Texas by significant margins, winning the 1-meter by more than 10 points and the 3-meter by almost 20. The senior is the reigning runner-up in platform from the 2014 NCAA championships. She is a familiar opponent for the Bears, having dived at UCLA her first two years before her transfer to Texas.
For the Bears, junior Anne Kastler made a big impression at the meet last month, placing second in the 1-meter diving and third in the 3-meter diving. She has had the best season of any Cal diver so far, winning both meter events at the meet against Wisconsin, a few weeks ago. In both events, Kastler won with almost 20 points more than her opponent, sophomore Ashley Peterson from Wisconsin.
At the meet last week in Utah, Kastler won the 3-meter diving competition by 10 points but then broke her winning ways in the 1-meter. Taking fourth place with five divers, she finished almost 30 points behind the first-place finisher, from Utah. Her teammate, junior Sara-Lina Boushakra, finished second for the Bears, about 16 points behind the winner.
In addition to Kastler and Boushakra, Cal is also sending sophomores Hayden Tavoda and Eleanor Smart to the meet. In addition to the Bears and host Texas, the teams will be diving against Hawaii, Arizona State, TCU, Houston, Wyoming and Kansas. The only top-10 teams — with a ranking that relies primarily on swimming — at the meet are the Longhorns and Cal.
Last year at the same meet, the best performance the Bears had was from Kastler, who finished seventh in the 1-meter and and eighth in the platform. Cal will hope to improve on those finishes this weekend, despite its tough opponents. As this is the only diving-exclusive meet the Bears will participate in this year, besides the NCAA Zone E Diving Championships, Cal will want to return north with a feeling of success.
Alaina Getzenberg covers women’s swim. Contact her at [email protected]