Not bringing a jacket to the pool Wednesday night was a questionable decision. The pleasant heat of the autumn day had evaporated more quickly than Cal football’s semblance of an offense, leaving a frigid breeze blowing through the Spieker Pool bleachers.
The swimmers slated to compete, however, seemed completely unfazed by the change in climate. For them, it was business as usual — another fast start to a season at the top of the table.
The Cal women’s swim team took first in 14 of 16 events as the Bears secured their first dual meet win by a score of 184.5 to 111.5 over visiting Utah, accentuated by strong performances from a variety of faces.
Assistant coach Sarah Dunleavy expressed her satisfaction with the team’s performance Wednesday.
“Overall, really happy with it,” Dunleavy said. “We had some people in different events than they’re used to swimming, so it was nice to switch it up and see how they did.”
Sophomore Robin Neumann completed a rare feat of stamina by winning back-to-back events Wednesday. After posting a 10:03.58 time in the 1,000-yard free, she returned to swim a 1:48.36 winning time in the 200-yard free after just nine minutes out of the water.
New Bears shined in their first individual events at home, as freshmen Elise Garcia, Cassidy Bayer, Ema Rajic and Alicia Wilson demonstrated their potential in their first collegiate dual meet. Garcia touched in a fraction of a second before Utah’s Aryanna Fernandes in the 100 fly, while Bayer finished the 200 fly with a comfortable two-second margin between her and fellow Bear Sarah Darcel.
Though an individual win remained elusive, Rajic played a key role in two relay event wins for Cal. Wilson, who narrowly missed her first event wins by less than a tenth of a second during the Chick-Fil-A Invitational, was not to be denied this time in the 200-yard backstroke, finishing with a 1:58.08 first-place time.
Bayer, who hails from Virginia and is a longtime follower of Cal swimming, savored the win but is already looking to improve even further.
“It’s awesome,” Bayer said. “Definitely room for improvement, and I’m excited to see what I can do the rest of the season.”
Junior Abbey Weitzeil, one of the team’s top performers in its two preseason meets, delivered yet again for the Bears. She came out on top of three individual events — the 100-yard breaststroke, the 50-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle, while also anchoring Cal’s first-place 400 free relay.
Cal, now with a 1-0 record, will have a few weeks to rest up for its next dual meet, which is scheduled for Nov. 3 at Washington State, followed by a home meet against Texas on Nov. 10.
“I swam a couple of off events, but I swam a couple of my on ones as well,” Weitzeil said. “I think our team’s got a lot of momentum going forward this early in the season, and it’s really exciting.”