Cal women’s swim shines against Washington State

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The Bears were dealt a hand of cards this weekend that they are normally not given. Stepping foot on Washington State’s territory, the Cal women’s swim team shined light on its dominance, claiming 299.50 points to the Cougars’ 131.50 points.

The two-day swim meet, which ran from Friday afternoon to Saturday, featured a unique array of nearly all swim events, ranging from 50-yard to 1,000-yard events in the freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, individual medleys and relays.

This enabled many swimmers to dip their feet into events they typically do not race. One particular instance was that of senior Kelly Naze, who took home both the 1,000-yard freestyle in a time of 10:09.34 and the 200-yard IM in a stellar 2:03.85. Naze placed seventh in the 200-meter IM at the 2014 Phillips 66 National Championships with a time of 2:16.18. Swimming the 1,000-yard freestyle, however, was unforged territory.

“I was very excited to swim the 1,000-yard freestyle,” Naze said. “I’ve actually never swam the event, so I really wanted to prove that I was capable to swim more than just my normal races.”

The Bears racked up victory after victory, never once letting up, and many of those titles came from the fresh faces of the newest members on the team. Freshman Amy Bilquist claimed the 200-yard free in 1:51.13, while freshman Katie McLaughlin took the 50-yard free in 23.73 and 100-yard free in 50.91, and freshman Kathleen Baker won the 400-yard IM in 4:22.35. As for the older members, junior Farida Osman seized the 100-yard butterfly in a quick 54.73, and senior Elizabeth Pelton captured the 500-yard free with a time of 5:00.74.

“Our freshmen are absolutely hilarious, and they bring such good energy, so everyone feels so positive,” Naze said. “A lot of our freshmen have that sense of ‘just get your hands on the wall first,’ so it’s really inspiring.”

On Saturday, the Bears continued to hone its win. Bilquist won yet another title in the 50-yard back in 25.58, while Osman secured the 50-yard butterfly in 24.18 and the 100-yard free in 50.84. Pelton put up a strong front and took the 200-yard free with a time of 1:49.21, junior Celina Li claimed the 200-yard butterfly in 2:00.12, and junior Marina Garcia won the 500-yard free in 5:00.83.

The swim meet brought with it more than just proof of the Bears’ impressive record-holding tendencies. Naze enjoyed her experiences out of the pool just as much as her times in the water.

“I would say the funniest part was when the song “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” came on Saturday morning, and my whole team started dancing, and we were also dancing into the meet, so we were just having a lot of fun racing,” Naze said.

The Bears were also able to experience swimming in an indoor pool, as opposed to their normal outdoor environment.

“I think it was really cool getting to see a campus I don’t think any of us had ever seen before,” Naze said. “I think it definitely reduces the stress in some ways just because we get to go experience something outside our home territory.”

Isabella Busacca covers women’s swim. Contact her at [email protected].