After nearly two weeks of preparation, the Bears will finally get the chance to tame the Tigers as they face Pacific on Wednesday at the Spieker Aquatics Complex.
Cal is heading into the contest with a win under its belt after claiming victory in its season-opener against Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. For the Tigers, Wednesday’s race will be their first of the year.
Pacific concluded last season with a fourth-place finish in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation and did not compete in the NCAA Championships. As they prepare to take on a Bears team ranked second in the nation, it is unlikely that they’ll be able to kick off their new year in a better fashion than they ended last season.
Among the Bears who will pose a challenge for the Tigers is senior Andrew Seliskar. In the team’s opening victory, Seliskar competed in five 100-yard events for a total time of just 4:05.70 to earn him a first-place finish and the title “King of the Pool.”
Fans can also expect big things from freshman Reece Whitley. In his impressive NCAA debut, the young star recorded a 100-yard breaststroke time of 54.33. While this was certainly a strong performance, he will only continue to improve as his collegiate career continues.
Although he did not make any headlines in the Bears’ season opener, senior Nick Norman is expected to make a splash against Pacific. Unfortunately for Norman, the Bears first contest did not feature the 1000-yard freestyle, which happens to be his forte. This week’s matchup, however, will feature the event, and Norman will look to build on his Cal season best time of 8:48.79 from last year.
Perhaps the most notable name on the Tigers’ roster is senior Yahav Shahaf, who set the Pacific school records in the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard breaststroke in 2017. Although he was unable to break his records last year, he still recorded the team’s best 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 52.89.
Other Pacific swimmers to watch out for include senior Angel Alcala and sophomore Mason Miller. Last season, Alcala led the team in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 1:47.19, and Miller recorded the team’s best 50-yard freestyle with a time of 19.79.
Cal will look to add a second notch in the win column while making Pacific’s season debut as difficult as possible. The Bears will come out with the ferocity needed to put the kitties back in their cages and ship them back to Stockton.
Joey Patton covers men’s swimming and diving. Contact him at [email protected].