Cal women’s swim and dive come up with mixed results at USC, UCSD

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With Thanksgiving just over two weeks away, it is time to think ahead and figure out what you are thankful for this holiday season. From friends and family to raging parties and gourmet dining hall food, there’s plenty to be grateful for this fall.

For the Bears, they are thankful that they got to spend this chilly weekend in the warmth of the Golden State. In a California classic showdown, the Bears’ diving team matched up against Pac-12 rivals USC and UCLA in Los Angeles at the Trojan Diving Invitational, while the Cal swim team went to San Diego to take on the Tritons. At UCSD, the Bears’ swim team showed out, winning 138-82.

Cal’s diving team had less success. At USC, the Bears had their first mediocre performance. Junior Briana Thai suffered an injury and came out with an average performance as a result, with an eighth- and ninth-place finish in her two days of competition.

“Unfortunately Briana (Thai) had a little tricep issue that got progressively worse over the weekend. So it did affect her 3-meter performance and then she did not compete on platforms because of it,” said diving coach Derek Starks.

Thai scored 504.55 on the first day. She followed that up with a score of 521.8 on the second day. Despite the low finishing places, Thai did manage to have the second-highest DD, or degree of difficulty, on day one with a rating of 15.00. This was second only to UCLA’s Alice Yanovsky’s rating of 15.10.

The Trojans’ home pool advantage was significant because USC had four of the top five finishers on day one, along with the top three finishers on days two and three. The best performer of the weekend was USC’s own freshman Nike Agunbiade. Agunbiade got two first-place finishes, winning by nearly 30 points on each of the last two days.

Cal freshman Cassie Graham only managed to finish 14th and 13th during the first two days but finished on a high note with a seventh-place finish and a score of 418.00.

“(Graham) stepped up. She got a personal best on 1-meter. With a couple new dives, (she) maintained consistency with her last performance on 3-meter, and then she was doing really good on platform with just 10 points — one dive away from the zone qualifying score,” Starks said. “For her first towers, we were definitely happy with her performance.”

Overall, this was a promising performance from Graham, especially considering that this was her first collegiate invitational with platforms.

In classic Veterans Day fashion, the Bears barbecued the Tritons to the tune of winning 11 of the 12 events at their first long-course meet of the season

Cal was led by junior Robin Neumann and senior Abbey Weitzeil as they each took home a pair of victories. In the 200-meter freestyle, Neumann touched the wall at two minutes and 22 hundredths of a second, just edging out teammate Isabel Ivey by .05 seconds. Neumann also won the 400-meter freestyle with a time of 4:20.32.

Weitzeil won both of her events convincingly. She finished the 50-meter freestyle event with a time of 24.98, winning by over a whole second. She proceeded to win the 100-meter freestyle with a time of 54.37, winning that event by more than four seconds.

Sophomore Ema Rajic got a personal best time of 2:34.69 on the 200-meter breaststroke. She finished second to UCSD freshman standout, Katja Pavicevic. Pavicevic’s win in the 200-meter breaststroke gave the Tritons their sole victory of the day when she touched the wall at 2:31.16.

The Bears’ next meet will be Dec. 4-8th in Minneapolis, Minn.

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