No longer protected by the comforts of California’s borders, the Cal women’s swim team will board a flight in order to participate in a dual meet against Washington State. The Bears plan on bringing a storm to the pool by beating the Cougars in their second dual meet of the season. The two-day swim meet will start at 5 p.m. Friday and end Saturday afternoon.
The flight of swims that the Bears will compete in mirrors that of a typical dual meet, with races in all five strokes, including freestyle, backstroke, butterfly, breaststroke and IM, as well as an array of relays. This meet is unlike most meets because it will take place over the course of two days, so the Bears will have a chance to compete in all events other than the 1650-yard events.
The last time the Bears competed against the Cougars was in 2013, where they crushed Washington State, 164-89. Cal went 14 for 14 events, an impeccable tally against the Cougars, as it refused to let up in any of its strokes.
The Cougars recently earned their highest national ranking in school history, claiming the No.16 position accounted for by CollegeSwimming.com. The Cougars opened their season with a meet against Stanford, in which they captured four races. The team brings notable swimmers to keep an eye out for. This includes freshman Jasmine Margetts who led the team to victory, racking up a total of 22 points, followed by senior Presley Wetterstrom, who totaled 14 points. Margetts claimed victory in both the 100-yard breaststroke and the 400 IM, while Wetterstrom finished first in the 200-yard breaststroke.
The Bears are off to a great start as well, with not only an impressive top-seeded national ranking, but also with solid strokes at their first meet against Cal Poly. Freshman Amy Bilquist, junior Celina Li and seniors Kelly Naze, Elizabeth Pelton and Rachel Bootsma all paved the way for a great season and racked up point after point for an impressive meet. At the meet against Cal Poly, Pelton, despite being the American record holder in the 200-meter backstroke, came in second in the 100-yard backstroke to Bootsma.
It is important to note that the fall season is primarily used as a way to train for the more extensive and physically exhausting spring season meets. At this stage, no swimmers are up to speed with their normal times, saving their power strokes for a more crucial time.
Assistant head coach Kathie Wickstrand is constantly reminding her team to not put too much pressure on themselves for these dual meets, as these meets are utilized as a way to improve team relationships and unison among the swimmers.
“We’re still in the very beginning stages of our season,” Wickstrand said. “The dual meets are just a chance for us to see where we’re at and put people in a lot of off-events and see what we have.”