Cal women’s swimming and diving heads south for USC, UCSD

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Veterans Day weekend is a time to commemorate. As Americans, we honor the people who have fought for our country and protected us. Normally, the weekend consists of barbecuing, throwing parties or simply spending time with some friends.

For the Bears, they will be participating in Trojan Diving Invitational at the University of Southern California, and a swim meet at UC San Diego. This marks the first diving invitational of the season for Cal.

“This will be our first invitational that has platforms for the year,” said diving coach Derek Starks. “Platform is going to be five meters and higher, and there’s no spring too it. Most of our dives are going to be from 10 meter and 30 meter, so we’re getting up there pretty high. We have two springboard events; we got 1-meter springboard where they’ll do six dives and 3-meter springboards where they’ll do another six dives.”

The Bears will be bringing two divers to Los Angeles: junior Briana Thai and freshman Cassie Graham. For Graham, this will be her first-ever college meet with platforms. There are nine other teams currently registered to compete, with three of those being from the Pac-12.

“I think within the PAC-12 schools, there’s going to be some good competition. We definitely have a chance at winning those events and I think it’s a very fair chance, but it’s going to be a good competition,” Starks said.

With the first diving invitational of the season coming up, Coach Starks has been making sure the Cal divers are as prepared as possible.

“We’ve worked a couple of new dives on there as well to increase the degree of difficulty. (Graham) is more of a platform diver too, so for both (Graham and Thai), expecting some good performances up there.” Starks said.

The Trojan Diving Invitational will from last Friday through Sunday. Meanwhile, Cal’s swimmers will be preparing for their dual meet in sunny San Diego, which will take place Monday.

The Bears are coming off a dominant performance against the Cougars and are looking to follow that up with another victory to remain undefeated. The Tritons are also coming off their own win over UC Davis in which they had a top finisher in 12 of the final 17 events.

UCSD freshman Katja Pavicevic won three individual events, including the 100-yard and 200-yard backstroke. Pavicevic looks to carry her momentum into this Veterans Day matchup.

To counter Pavicevic, Cal has their own freshman standout, Rachel Klinker. Klinker is also coming off a strong performance in which she won both the 200-yard and 100-yard butterfly.

The Tritons also have a matchup at UC Santa Barbara against the Gauchos just two days prior to the meet against the Bears. UCSD will have to be ready for two meets in three days, a tough ask to say the least.

This will be Cal’s last meet before turning their attention toward NCAA qualifications in December.

Tom Aizenberg covers women’s swim and dive. Contact him at [email protected].