Cal women’s swim and dive conquer Arizona, Arizona State in final home meet

Lisi Ludwig/Staff

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Often in life, separation can be hard. From the first day of preschool, when you have to go hours without your parents, to when you move away from home and suddenly, the familiar faces that you’re used to seeing daily become memories. These are simply facts of life, however, and after enough time passes, these moments become happy memories you can look back at fondly.

For Cal fans, the wait for nostalgia has only just started, as this weekend marked the final home meet for six seniors – Keaton Blovad, Alexa Buckley, Aislinn Light, Maddie Murphy, Courtney Mykkanen and Abbey Weitzeil.

Although this was the end of an era, the senior Bears left their fans satisfied as they crushed both Arizona and Arizona State by 95 points each.

“To be honest, I don’t even remember my first home meet,” Weitzeil said. “It was a while ago, but just being able to come out here, and it being parents weekend and having all the families here and having it be a coed meet is always fun to share it with the mens team.”

The final event of the weekend was a 400-yard freestyle relay, for which one of the teams for Cal was composed only of seniors (Light, Blovad, Murphy and Weitzeil). Three hundred yards into the race, the senior lane was over two seconds behind another lane composed of its own teammates. With only one swimmer remaining for each lane, it was up to Weitzeil to make a comeback and lead the seniors to one last home victory. Despite junior Robin Neumann’s impressive 49.55 leg, Weitzeil managed to touch the wall after only 46.98 seconds and give the seniors a win by only half a second.

This impressive showing in the relay came after Weitzeil set a new pool and Cal dual meet record for the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 47.79 the day prior against Arizona. Weitzeil followed that record-breaking performance up later as she set a pool record in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 21.73.

“I’m not really sure what the pool records were before I swam. I kind of just go for racing, and I have my own personal best goal times in my head so just having another pool record to leave my mark like that is pretty cool,” Weitzeil said.

Comeback victories were plentiful for the Bears over the weekend beginning with sophomore Alicia Wilson in the 200 backstroke, when she managed to come back from a near one-second deficit in the final 50 yards to win by only .2 seconds over Arizona’s Axana Merckx.

The next day, in the 200-yard butterfly, freshman Rachel Klinker fell behind Arizona State’s Jade Foelske with a lap to go but managed to prevail and win by less than half a second, while sophomore Ema Rajic made a similar comeback to win the 200-yard breaststroke by a slim margin.

Sophomore Isabel Ivey had a strong performance Saturday as she won three individual events — the 100 fly, back and free.

On the diving side, junior Briana Thai won the one-meter and three-meter events against Arizona and Arizona State.

Cal’s next dual meets come back-to-back yet again as they go to Los Angeles to face off against USC and UCLA on Friday the 31st and Saturday the 1st.

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