Bears Head to Long Beach for Pac-10 Championships

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Last year the Cal women's swimming team closed its dual meet season with four losses and still brought home the 2009 Pac-10 title.

This year, the team is entering into the postseason with only two dual meet losses and is looking to defend that title in Long Beach, Calif., over the next four days.

The fact that the Bears didn't have a perfect season isn't a negative. It gives them more room to prove themselves.

"Having not won all of our dual meets gives us a strength," senior co-captain Lauren Boyle said. "It gives us something to prove because we are not satisfied. As we taper down, we are going to get sharper."

Given the high stakes of the expected competition to be seen from Feb. 24-27, however, the Bears seem anxious to face some of their conference rivals for another round of pool contests. This time, the matches involve heats and finals, not a continuous stream of events as seen in dual meets.

"Stanford is looking to bring great competition again," assistant coach Kristen Lewis-Cunnane said. "And with losing to USC, we are not really looking for redemption but for getting another crack at them in a different setting."

For the seniors, this is the last conference competition of their college career. For the captains, it is their time to step up to the blocks as a leader of her team.

"It is important (as a captain) to keep up positive morale and make sure that everyone is on the same page," Boyle said. "There is a pool out there that anyone can compete in with no predetermined results."

Because the Bears have the ability to focus more on the potential postseason accomplishments than boasting a perfect dual meet record, they have been able to hone in on the small details that have the potential to make a world of difference.

"The strategy hasn't really changed," Lewis-Cunnane said. "The swimming hasn't really changed. We are just stepping up the energy and sharpening the details."

Cal is looking to use the next four days to not only bring defense for Cal's existing title but as an opportunity to provide a testament to what the team has been working towards.

"I have been doing this for a couple of years," co-captain and senior Blake Hayter said. "I know we are going to have bumps in the road. It is going to be a long three days. Even is we stumble, we have to keep going and keep racing."


Contact Kelly Suckow at [email protected]

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