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Battle to NCAAs: Bears roll on at Minnesota Invitational

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DECEMBER 07, 2022

Cal women’s swim was seen one last time this past weekend at the Minnesota Invitational before the long winter break. The meet featured the Bears among athletes from seven other universities.  The Bears’ fiercest competitor, No. 1 University of Texas, posted many NCAA qualifying times, but Cal women’s swim tallied up multiple championship times.

On day one, the Bears started off strong with a second place finish behind the Longhorns in the 200-yard medley relay.

Isabelle Stadden led the relay in backstroke with a split time of 23.79. Then, senior Jade Neser took off with her time of 26.85 in breastroke. Underclassman Mckenna Stone was up next with her 50-yard butterfly, coming home with a time of 23.32. For the last push, Emily Gantriis marked a time of 21.80 as the anchor in freestyle.

Later that day, Cal finished second behind the Longhorns again in the 800-yard freestyle relay featuring Leah Polonsky, Ayla Spitz, Stadden and Mia Motekaitis.

Moving on to day two, the Bears had a huge victory in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Barely defeating Texas, Cal came out on top with a time of 1:28.51, while the Longhorns finished with a time of 1:28.64. Stone recorded the fastest time of the relay with a mark of 21.85.

Cal had NCAA qualifying times in two other events on the second day. Top-five finishes were made by both Rachel Klinkler, coming in second in the 500-yard freestyle, and Polonsky, placing third in the 200-yard individual medley.

Moving on to day three, the Bears seemed to have not run out of steam as junior Stadden came out on top with a first-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke. She finished with a time of 50.88, only one 10th of a second ahead of the competition from Texas. The Bears’ 400-medley relay also highlighted a NCAA qualifying time of 3:30.96.

In the 100-yard butterfly, Mia Kragh took second place with a time of 51.80 behind the Texas Longhorns. Her teammate, Lizzy Cook, finished seventh in the same heat. Both were the only two sophomores to be seen in this first heat as they competed against mostly juniors and seniors.

On the fourth day of the invitational, the Bears sought to close out their races with some big swims. Klinker finished third with a time of 1:54.44 in the 200-yard butterfly, with Polonsky just behind, in fourth place. Sarah DiMeco placed fourth in the 1,650 freestyle with a time of 16:17.97, securing top-five finishes for the Bears across the board on their last day.

Stadden took home her second win of the meet in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 1:50.21, getting the better of Texas once again. In the last event of the invite, Stadden also led the Bears in the 400-yard freestyle relay to tie with Arizona. Along with her teammates Emma Davidson, Ella Mazurek and Eloise Riley, Cal marked a time of 3:14.98 for a second place finish behind the Longhorns.

On the diving side, the sophomore Danielle Killeen competed in three specialities. She placed 15th in the 3m dive with a score of 187.85, which did not advance her to the finals. In the 1m, she scored a total of 189.55, leaving her in 16th place. Improving on her results for the final event, Killeen scored 191.35, which left her in sixth place.

Cal women’s swimming and diving will be resting for the long winter break along with the rest of Berkeley as fans await their next appearance at San Jose State University on Jan. 2 in the new year.

Contact Devon Byrne at 


DECEMBER 07, 2022