The silence has been broken as the Bears awake from month long slumber. Cal swim is set to compete this Wednesday Nov. 30 until Saturday Dec. 3 in the last big meet of the regular competition season.
The Bears will travel all the way to the upper midwest in order to make their mark at the Minnesota International. This four-day meet will grant Cal swimmers and divers the opportunity to post championship-qualifying times as regular season meets become scarce.
The non-scoring meet will feature swimmers from eight schools where they will be given the opportunity to achieve NCAA A-level qualifying times. Cal women’s swim, now ranking No. 14 in Division I of the NCAA, will be among seven other teams competing at this invite.
On the women’s side, the Bears will look out for No. 1 University of Texas and No. 13 University of Wisconsin. University of Arizona, Harvard, University of Pittsburgh, UNLV, and the hosting team Minnesota will also be present.
The Bears were last seen at UC San Diego for a nonconference dual meet where they annihilated 4 pool records and came out on top by a large margin. Junior Isabelle Stadden won three events in that meet, setting a new pool record in the 200-yard individual medley.
The junior also claimed victory in the 200 yard freestyle and broke another record in the 400-yard medley relay with the help of her teammates.
The senior Ayla Spitz also tallied up two victories for the bears in both the 100-yard backstroke and the 500-yard freestyle. To start off the meet at UCSD, she finished first, almost three seconds ahead of the competition, in the 100 back. Later, she finished first in the 500 free just shy of the pool record.
Last year at the Minnesota Invitational, Spitz was out touched by Texas in the 500 free to the NCAA runner up from Texas. Now entering her senior year, the question is can she come out on top with this last-chance swim meet?
Stadden finished second last year in the 100-yard back, also runner up to Texas, on the third day of the meet. This was the third fastest time in her career and the sixth fastest women’s time in the entire country for the 2021-22 season.
On the final day of the meet, Stadden reigned supreme in her acclaimed event of the 200-yard backstroke. As a sophomore and also a Minnesota native, she finished first making her the Pac-12 champion in the event. Stadden swam the nation’s No. 3 time that season, inching her way closer to the title. She finished in front of Texas and her teammate Spitz with a 50-yard final push at the end to take the race as victory.
The Bears will compete this week and then have a long break until the new year in early January where they will face San Jose State University for another nonconference dual meet. Straying away from her sleuth of bears, Stadden will take on a different challenge in her time off.
Stadden was chosen in mid October, along with Cal alumnus Ryan Murphy, to be a part of the United States roster for the 2022 FINA World Championships.
The 25-meter short course world championships will take place in Melbourne, Australia on Dec. 13-18. She will be competing in only one event, the 200 meter back. She will be representing the Bears overseas and then return back home in time for that final stretch of her collegiate season.
Minnesota will be a preview for what is to come for the Bears as the championship meets approach faster and faster.