The holiday season is a time of celebration and happiness. People are out of school and off of work with ample time to spend with those they care about most. An underrated aspect of the holiday season is the consistency of knowing what’s to come in late December.
Cal women’s swim and dive flexed such consistency by defeating the San Jose State Spartans for the fourth consecutive time this weekend. The three prior matchups had an average scoring discrepancy of 73 points. This year, Cal finished stronger than ever by crushing San Jose State by an eye-popping 142 points. The exact final tally was 199-57.
The seemingly annual San Jose meet is a bout unlike any other. Most of the events are unusual distances not featured in the Olympics or in the NCAA Championship. Despite this unique circumstance, the Bears managed to sweep all 14 events.
Some of the events included both a 300-yard backstroke and breaststroke relay. On the individual events side there was 600-yard and 150-yard freestyle events. There was one normal event, however — the 50-yard freestyle — from which senior Maddie Murphy emerged triumphant with a time of 23.54.
Another unique event was the 250-yard freestyle relay, featuring four legs which teams could swim in any order. The legs also differed in length at 25, 50, 75 and 100 yards. The winning Cal relay squad for that race was composed of four seniors: Abbey Weitzeil, Aislinn Light, Keaton Blovad and Maddie Murphy.
On the diving side, junior Brianna Thai captured first in both the 1-meter and 3-meter dives. She was the only athlete to win more than one individual event on the day.
Although Cal may be finished for the remainder of the calendar year, it still has some work to do before its next meet in Los Angeles. On January 8., the Bears will head to Hawaii for some winter break training.
“(The break is) just a good time to put in a lot of quality training. We’ll do some ocean swimming. Get some time to just be together as a team and do some team building exercises as well,” said Cal assistant coach Dani Korman.
Despite ranking No. 1 in the nation, the Bears continue to train — even during their breaks. This legendary work ethic, combined with an incredibly talented team, gives Cal an outstanding chance at breaking their four-year title drought.
“I think the biggest is they just kind of worked on some things we’ve been doing in practice and implementing them in racing which has been good to see,” Korman said when asked about the San Jose State meet. “We also found some new things to work on so going into the new year, they also have some important things that again we can use to improve so all in all I think the day was a good overall experience.”
A championship team always finds ways to improve, even when they appear to be the best.
The Bears’ first meet of the new decade is Jan. 17-19 in Los Angeles at the UCLA Diving Invitational.
Tom Aizenberg covers women’s swim and dive. Contact him at