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Permanence, precedence, permutations: Cal seeks to repeat history in Arizona, San Diego

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JANUARY 20, 2023

Practice makes perfect. So wake up at 5AM. 

Practice makes perfect. So do another drill. 

Practice makes perfect. So swim another lap.

Practice makes perfect. Does practice make permanent? 

For Cal men’s swim and dive, the response should be a resounding: hopefully. After all, they just won the NCAA men’s swimming and diving national championship last year. Who doesn’t want perpetual validation?

So, theory: practice makes permanent. 

Proof by assertion: win another national championship this year. 

Lemma: Cal can outscore two conference rivals and some friendly competition in four tournaments over two days. 

Let’s prove the lemma first. 

This weekend, the Bears will split their time between Southern California and Arizona: They first match up against Arizona and UC San Diego on Jan. 20 in a dual meet double-header, before jointly finishing their fifth dual meet of the season against Arizona State and competing against the Tritons again in the Triton Invitational the following day. 

With three dual meets and one invitational looming, practice seems all the more necessary. 

In the past, however, the Bears have had much success with these teams. Last season, Cal swept all three dual meets, crushing Arizona, Arizona State and UC San Diego by a margin of at least 34 points. That same year, the Bears humbled UC San Diego again at the Triton Invitational, winning first in 11 of the 12 events and achieving a podium sweep in 10. The last time the Bears lost to either Pac-12 competitor was in 2012 when they crumbled 107-191 to the Wildcats. If precedence was a proven theory, Cal would have nothing to worry about. 

Another reassurance for the upcoming competitive brouhaha this weekend is the fact that junior Björn Seeliger and freshman Joshua Thai were named Pac-12 Men’s Swimmer and Diver of the Month for December, respectively. This is both athletes’ first time receiving the distinction, and the first Cal diver to win since Tom Henninger in December of 2008. 

Despite their prior record of success, the Bears should be careful to toe the line between confidence and arrogance. They face talented and athletic opponents this weekend, all of whom have a chip on their shoulder, especially Arizona State. 

For the first time in Sun Devil history, Arizona State has been ranked as the No. 1 team in the nation by the College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America, following their dominant performance at the Wolfpack Invitational in North Carolina last November. The Sun Devils currently hold the national fastest times in the 200 free relay, 200 IM and 200 fly, and the second fastest times in the 400 free relay, 800 free relay, 400 medley relay and 200 free, events that the Bears typically excel in. 

The Sun Devils have something to prove. Can the Bears prove them wrong? 

Only time (and practice) will tell.

Contact Cynthia Ge at 


JANUARY 20, 2023