Deep-Sea Training Precedes Meets in San Diego

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Traveling down to San Diego this week not only means looking for some good results in the competitions for the Cal women's swimming team.

It also means getting in some unique training.

After training and practicing at Spieker Aquatics Complex day in and day out, the Bears are looking forward to leaving behind the rain and the cold for San Diego's expected sunshine this weekend as well as shaking things up with the opportunity to practice in the Pacific Ocean.

"The pool is a pretty predictable environment: a square box and you just swim up and down," assistant coach Kristen Lewis-Cunnane said. "With the ocean, it is quite the opposite. It is very good to get in the ocean and challenge ourselves as swimmers. You have to be very aware in the ocean."

Freshman Caitlin Leverenz seems excited to improve her athleticism.

"With the ocean, it can be different every single time you jump in," Leverenz said. "You don't know what the temperature is going to be like, or the waves or anything. It's so unpredictable and so different and a new experience every time. You just have to learn how to adapt to it, and it makes you a lot more athletic and in good shape."

As far as the competition goes this coming weekend, Cal sees UC San Diego in La Jolla, Calif., on Thursday for the first time since 1993.

The Tritons opened their season this past Saturday. Alex Henley, the sophomore who earned All-Conference and All-America accolades in her first season last year, appears to be a contender this weekend. Junior Anju Shimura and freshman Beth Dong, who both took home wins in multiple events in their first meet, also could be good competition for the Bears.

After facing UC San Diego, Cal takes on San Diego State for the first time in history on Saturday morning.

Like Cal, the Aztecs are returning some talent and appear optimistic about their recruiting class. All-Mountain West title-holders from last year include senior Elena Karpeeva as well as juniors Allison Hall and Brooke Vessey.

Unlike the Bears, however, the Aztecs only boast two NCAA Division I All-Americans, compared with Cal's nine.

After a dominating performance this past weekend in its first home dual meet against Pacific, the defending national champions hope to carry the momentum down the coast. Plus, the weekend gives the swimmers an opportunity to spend some time together to strengthen camaraderie.

"We have a whole weekend that we can be together," Leverenz said. "It is looking to be a lot of fun with hopefully a lot of memories to come out of it."


Contact Kelly Suckow at [email protected]

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