North vs. south: Cal to swim against UC San Diego

photo of woman swimming
Sunny Shen/File

Related Posts

The Spieker Aquatic Center pools are heating up. 

The Bears are set to dive into their upcoming meet against UC San Diego. In a meet that follows UC Berkeley’s finals week, it is quite possible the Bears will add a silver lining to this tough week as they look to swim to victory Saturday, Dec. 18.

Cal’s women’s swim and dive season has been on a streak, so far. Beginning with the Queen of the Pool meet, the Bears have been chasing their prey and conquering their competition every step of the way.

The previous meet that put the Bears to the test was the Minnesota Invitational. Competing against six other schools, Cal was introduced to some of the top swimmers in the nation and got a sneak peak for what the NCAA championships had in store for the next semester.

Though the tides were challenging in Minnesota, the Bears conquered those hardships and are ready to hop back into the pool to race faster than ever before.

The key swimmers to keep an eye on during this race are senior Isabel Ivey, sophomore Isabelle Stadden and senior Alicia Wilson.

In the freezing waters of Minnesota, Ivey pulled off the unthinkable by securing first place in both the 200-yard individual medley and the 200 freestyle. 

Ivey’s teammate, Stadden, also took initiative in winning the 200 backstroke with a time of 1:50.02. Stadden left Minnesota with a hometown victory, and is aiming to head back home with another win notched on her belt.

After three days of work in Minnesota, it seems as though Wilson was not about to leave the invitational without a trophy. In the 400 IM, Wilson secured first place for the second time (the first time occurring at the Minnesota Invite in 2019), creating a name for herself on a national stage and further developing her successful Cal swimming career. 

“Overall we were very happy. We exceeded our team expectations,” said assistant head coach Dani Korman, especially pleased with Cal’s performance in Minnesota.

The Bears fought hard and used the meet as an opportunity to assess both their strengths and their weaknesses.

“We used the meet as a check-in to see where we are. It was an opportunity to race the best teams in the country,” Korman said.

After the largest meet of their season yet, the Bears are diving in the pool against one team.

For the Bears, this meet was taken as an opportunity to get another race under their belt. In the wake of a holiday break and a monthlong intermission until their next meet in January, Cal is looking to take advantage of every lap in the pool to improve and enhance its skills.

This weekend will also present a new challenge for the blue and gold . In many of the meets this season, there has been a large focus on sprints rather than long distance, but the Bears look forward to racing nontraditional events against UC San Diego. This includes going different distances and experimenting with new swimmers in new races.

The Bears have undoubtedly outdone themselves this season. With personal bests, national ranks and pool records coming out of nearly every race, the Bears are moving in a positive direction this season.

This weekend’s meet against UC San Diego will be another chance for the Bears to showcase their hard work and No. 5 ranking, though their speed and times this past season seem to speak for them well enough.

Alisa Steel covers women’s swim and dive. Contact her at [email protected].