Bears Score Fifth-Ever Victory Over Stanford in Big Meet Upset

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This past Saturday the No. 4 Cal women's swimming and diving team had a near perfect Big Meet.

With a slim 142-141 lead going into the final event of the dual-meet, the 400 yard freestyle relay, junior Liv Jensen finished the final leg 0.6 second ahead of Stanford's Kate Dwelley to clinch the Bears' fifth Big Meet victory in its program's history. It was the first victory over the Cardinal (8-1, 4-1 in the Pac-10) since 2006.

Held on a beautiful afternoon, the 155-145 victory was the culmination of an unbeaten Pac-10 season for Cal (7-1, 5-0 in the Pac-10). The win was only the fifth time in the team's history it has beaten its cross-bay counterpart. Last year the Bears fell 167-131 on The Farm.

"You have to keep it in perspective as well," coach Teri McKeever said of the victory to "It's a great win, but there's plenty of swimming and diving to be done."

After four dual-meet victories against Pac-10 brass like No. 7 Arizona, No. 21 UCLA and upset victory over then-No. 3 USC, the Bears seemed poised to give the Cardinal a run for its money. Especially with swimmers, like sophomore Caitlin Leverenz, firing on all cylinders.

Leverenz, the 2010 Pac-10 Freshman/Newcomer of the Year, was named Pac-10 Swimmer of the Month for January, a month which culminated with her being named to the U.S. 2011 World Championship team.

Leverenz would not disappoint against Stanford. The Tuscon, Ariz., native had three individual victories in the 100 and 200 Breaststroke and the 200 IM during which she set two pool records. Her time of 1:56.95 in the 200 IM broke the previous record of 1:57.54 set by Cal legend Natalie Coughlin, who was in attendance at Speiker to see her record fall.

However, it was the seniors who took center stage for the Bears in what was their last meet at home. Cal's eight seniors helped captured the Bears' first and only NCAA National Championship in 2009.

"This means a lot, because this is a great group of seniors," McKeever said to "To do it for them is what I'm really happy about. They stepped up huge ... We're obviously going to miss them tremendously. But to have them go out like this and to have this kind of momentum heading into Pac-10s and NCAAs is really important."

Leading the way was senior and 2009 NCAA Champion in the 100 butterfly Amanda Sims who won both butterfly events after being honored by the crowd before the meet. The All-American Santa Rosa, Calif., native also helped Cal capture the 200 medley relay with a time of 28.13.

Cal, which is tied for fourth place with Texas in the TYR/Collegiate Swimming Coaches association of America rankings, will most likely jump into the top three mere weeks before the NCAA Championships take place Feb. 23-26 in Federal Way, Wash.


Contact Chris Haugh at [email protected]

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