If UC Berkeley were its own country, it would have been sixth in the world for the number of gold medals won in the 2012 London Olympics. Of the 11 gold medals won by Cal Olympians, an impressive 7 of them came from swimming. Cal swimming has been a powerhouse in the past few years, and this past week was no exception!
Finishing with a school-record 513 points, the Cal women’s swimming team captured its fourth NCAA Championships title on Saturday, March 21. Missy Franklin, a sophomore at Cal, scored huge points with individual wins in the 200-yard freestyle, 200-yard individual medley, and 200-yard backstroke. Following her stellar performance at the national meet, her final meet as a Golden Bear before turning pro, Franklin was named the NCAA Swimmer of the Year and is one of four nominees for the Honda Sports Award for women’s swimming and diving this year.
While I vicariously enjoyed the videos and highlights from NCAAs in Greensboro, North Carolina, I have loved attending swim meets at Cal in person over the years and cheering on the athletes. It’s so fun watching the team camaraderie and how supportive everyone is during each other’s races. Relays are especially exciting to watch, with triumphant last minute out-touches at times.
I attended the Cal v. Stanford and Cal v. Wisconsin swim meets earlier this season, and saw a couple former Cal athletes swim too. Nathan Adrian and Tom Shields, both American record holders, swam in the exhibition heats. Tom Shields has amazing underwaters and breakouts. He made the 200 fly look so smooth and effortless!
Even though the swim season is winding down with the conclusion of NCAAs, I am excited for next season and the great swims in store!