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Cal athletes around the world

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The countries you see highlighted are the ones Cal athletes will be representing — 17 countries in all.


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JULY 25, 2012

Cal’s 38 Olympic athletes represent 17 countries on six continents. 19 of them come from North America, and 17 hail from the U.S. This list isn’t just a showcase of Cal’s talent, but a testament to Cal’s ability to attract athletes from all around the world.


Henrique Barbosa — M. Swimming
Barbosa is one of the few Cal men’s swimming products headed to the Olympics who wasn’t coached by David Durden. Barbosa swam under Nort Thornton from 2003 to 2006 before Durden was handed the reins in 2007. Thornton, who continues to serve as the head coach emeritus, has a reputation for producing strong breastrokers, and Barbosa is no exception, as he will compete in the 200 breast in London.
— Christina Jones



Will Dean — M. Rowing
After finishing third in the varsity eight as a sophomore and a junior, Dean finally won a national title as a senior, finishing his Cal career in 2010. The 25-year-old from Kelowna, B.C. is competing in his first Olympics in the men’s four in London, one of two Canadian rowers from Cal. If he shows the same improvement he showed at Cal, you could see him in Rio in 2016 too.
— Chris Yoder

Scott Frandsen — M. Rowing
A Canadian of Swedish and Danish descent, Frandsen is the only returning Calympian men’s rower to have medaled in 2008. After taking the silver in the men’s pair with Dave Calder in Beijing, Frandsen will again team up with Calder with hopes of nabbing a gold this year. A member of Cal’s crew team from 1999-2002, Frandsen rowed on Cal’s varsity eight to two national championships. He’s also helped the Canadian eight to a gold medal in 2001 at the Nation’s Cup.
— Chris Yoder



Max Zhang — M. Basketball
At 7-foot-3, Zhang was the tallest basketball player in Cal history, but his height could only take him so far at Cal. In two years with the Bears, Zhang played in 42 games, averaging a mere 2.5 points and 1.7 rebounds a game. Having left Cal early to join the Chinese Basketball Association, Zhang will try to help China improve on its eighth-place finish in Beijing.
— Chris Yoder


Martin Maric — M. Swimming
Maric transferred to Cal from the University of Georgia for track and field and brought a new dimension to the squad. He became an All American his first year, placing eighth at the NCAA Championships. The Croatian discus thrower will be competing in his second Olympics, but will look to try and attain his first medal.
— Karan Karia



Mathias Gydesen — M. Swimming
Gydesen had to wait a little longer to book his flight to London. The Danish swimmer posted the best prelim time in the 100-meter backstroke, but was one-hundredth of a second shy of the FINA qualifying time. Three months later, Gydesen received an invitation to the Olympics, where he will compete in the 100 back.
— Christina Jones



Martin Liivamagi — M. Swimming
This is not Liivamagi’s first rodeo. The Estonian swam for his country in Beijing, finishing 34th in the 200 IM. A year later, Liivamagi showed great improvement on the world stage, taking 16th in the 200 IM in the 2009 FINA World Championships in Rome. Liivamagi will enter the 100 breast and 200 IM in London with his Cal assistant coach Greg Meehan at his side, as Meehan will serve as an assistant to the Estonian team.
— Christina Jones


Hong Kong

Stephanie Au — W. Swimming
In 2008, Au became the youngest member of the Hong Kong Olympic team at 16, setting Hong Kong long-course records in the 200 free, 400 free and 800 free. At the 2011 NCAA Championships, Au posted the fourth-fastest time in Cal history in her favorite event — the 200 back. Au will compete in the 100 and 200 back in London, showcasing her innate talent in the events.
— Janice Chua

Hannah Wilson — W. Swimming
The only Caucasian in the Hong Kong Olympic contingent, Wilson has been one of the most famous athletes in Hong Kong since competing in the 2004 Games as a 15-year-old. Now in her third Olympics, Wilson has a shot at a medal in London, where she will compete in the 100 free and 100 fly. She’s already one of the greatest swimmers Hong Kong has ever seen.
— Chris Yoder

Iceland Flag


Kari Karlsson — M. Marathon
Karlsson was a key member of Cal’s track and cross country teams, competing in virtually any distance long enough to make your average couch potato grimace. The Reykjavik native will be taking on the marathon, his Twitter feed tracking his training — casual half marathon workouts in less than 70 minutes: “#littletoofast.” He’ll go against Cardinal alum Ryan Hall in the race.
— Alex Matthews

Iran Flag


Amin Nikfar — M. Shot Put
Cal’s Olympians hail from every continent except Antarctica, but Nikfar is the only Calympian to have hailed from Iran. Nikfar competed in the shot put in Beijing four years ago, but failed to advance to the finals. For a man who never finished higher than 21st at NCAAs while at Cal, even making it to the finals this year would be a tremendous accomplishment.
— Chris Yoder

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Olivier Siegelaar — M. Rowing
Siegelaar will be competing once again for the Netherlands this summer after having placed fourth in Beijing with the Dutch eight, finishing right behind the third place U.S. eight coached by Cal’s Mike Teti. Having rowed on Cal’s national champion-winning varsity 8+ his junior year at the IRA Regatta, the Dutch rower will be making a reappearance at the Olympics, this time hoping to top his former coach’s boat.
— Lynn Yu

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New Zealand

Lauren Boyle — W. Swimming
Boyle qualified for three Olympic freestyle events as well as the 800 free relay, making her Cal’s busiest swimmer. The New Zealand Swimmer of the Year has flourished over the past year, garnering semi-finalist and finalist times at the 2011 FINA World Championships. A genuine world-class talent, Boyle is primed to add to her medal haul in London.
— Janice Chua

Betsy Hassett — W. Soccer
Hassett and Alex Morgan played together for Cal in 2009 and 2010, but the pair never faced off in the 2011 Women’s World Cup, and likely won’t in London. But you’ll still want to tune in to see Hassett, a dynamic midfielder who could make a big difference in determining just how far her squad will go. With two years of eligibility left, you’ll be seeing a lot of Hassett at Edwards Stadium too.
— Chris Yoder

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Marcin Tarczynski — M. Swimming
In March, Tarczynski broke through on the national stage, winning the NCAA title in the 200 IM and shattering the school record in the process. At 21 years old, Tarczynski is a long shot to make it to the podium this year, but the Polish record holder in the 100 back has yet to reach his potential, and he could be a mainstay in the Olympics for years to come in the event.
— Chris Yoder

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Milorad Cavic — M. Swimming
If you look at the video, you’d think Cavic should have a gold medal. Four years ago, in the finals of the 100 fly in Beijing, Cavic and Michael Phelps appeared to touch the end wall at the same time, but Phelps pulled out a shocking comeback to win by one hundredth of a second. You could very well see a rematch in London, as Cavic swims the 100 fly, the 50 free and the 100 fly.
— Chris Yoder

Aleksa Saponjic — M. Water Polo
Just 20 years of age, Saponjic is the youngest member of the Serbian national team. The Belgrade native dominated in his first year at Cal, racking up the third-most goals on the team (30), and he looks poised to take over as the team’s de facto standout since the departure of Ivan Rackov. But that will have to come after he competes for Team Serbia, the most elite squad in the world.
— Annie Gerlach

Slovenia Flag


Damir Dugonjic — M. Swimming
At 6-foot-7, Dugonjic may look more like a basketball player than a swimmer. But make no mistake, he’s a natural breaststroker. Dugonjic’s long frame and efficient strokes make him a beast in the pool. A year removed from graduation, Dugonjic is set to race in his second Olympics for his native Slovenia, where he’ll look to improve from his 16th-place finish in the 100 breast in Beijing.
— Christina Jones

Sara Isakovic — W. Swimming
Isakovic was the first Slovenian swimmer in history to win an Olympic medal. Already in her third Olympic Games at the age of 24, Isakovic has seen success at both the college and international levels, helping Cal take three of the past four national championships. The freestyler will look to add to her collection of hardware in the 200 free and 100 fly in London.
— Karan Karia

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South Africa

Graeme Moore — M. Swimming
Though they were great friends and swam on relays together, Moore undoubtedly lived in Nathan Adrian’s shadow at Cal. The two former teammates will get a chance to compete against each other in London, this time wearing different caps. The South African is set to swim the 100 free and the 400 free relay, the same events in which Adrian will be a favorite.
— Christina Jones

Switzerland Flag


Dominik Meichtry — M. Swimming
Meichtry is far from a one-trick pony. The Swiss swimmer is slated to compete in four events in London: the 100, 200 and 400 freestyles and the 100 fly. This marks Meichtry’s third trip to the Olympics, but his first since graduating from Cal. He holds six Swiss national records, and looks to further etch his name into the history books.
—Christina Jones

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Nathan Adrian — M. Swimming
Michael Phelps may still be the face of American swimming, but we’ll still be seeing a lot of national up-and-comer Adrian. The Bremerton, Wash., native will also participate in the 100 free and 400 medley relay, and just missed a shot at the 50 free. The 6-foot-6 sprinter took home a gold in Beijing for swimming the prelims of the 400 free relay that the Americans eventually won. This time around, one of Cal’s most prolific swimmers will be looking to earn some hardware in his own right.
— Christina Jones

Rachel Bootsma — W. Swimming
The only Calympian who’s yet to compete for Cal, Bootsma’s success bodes well for the future of Cal swimming. The 18-year-old incoming freshman beat out former Bear Natalie Coughlin in the 100 back at Olympic Trials, the two-time defending gold medalist in the event. With Coughlin out of the water this time around, Bootsma has a very real shot of nabbing her first Olympic medal.
— Chris Yoder

Erin Cafaro — W. Rowing
A five-time member of the U.S. National Team, Cafaro and her teammates brought home the gold in the 2008 women’s eight for the first time in U.S. Olympic history. Although she had gold medal success in the women’s pair during the 2009 World Rowing Championships, Cafaro turned down her seat for the pairs this year to pursue a return to the women’s eight in London, where she will vie for her second straight gold.
— Janice Chua

Natalie Coughlin — W. Swimming
One of the most decorated American female Olympians ever, Coughlin dominated the pool in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, competing and medaling in 11 total events and becoming the first-ever back-to-back women’s gold medalist in the 100 back. But the U.S. swim team’s co-captain only qualified for the 400 free relay in London in what could be her final Olympics. If she medals in the event, she’ll tie Matt Biondi for the most Olympic medals of any Cal athlete at 12.
— Alice Contopoulos

Anthony Ervin — M. Swimming
Ervin seemed destined for greatness as a 19-year-old at the 2000 Olympic Games. He had won a gold medal in the 50 free and a silver as part of the 4×100 relay. Three years later though, he unexpectedly stopped training and sold his gold medal to support tsunami victims. Last year, Ervin got back into the action and began training for this year’s games, where he will be competing in the 50 free.
— Karan Karia

Jessica Hardy — W. Swimming
In 2008, a positive drug test knocked Hardy off the U.S. Olympic team, despite her having set world records in two breaststroke events. When she regained eligibility, Hardy missed qualifying for the 100 breast by a mere half-second. Hardy has developed into one of the best U.S. sprint freestylers, even taking first at the 2012 Olympic swimming trials in the 100 free.
— Janice Chua

Elliot Hovey — M. Rowing
Hovey originally wanted to row for Brown, following in the Ivy League footsteps of his grandfather, who rowed in college before going on to become an Assistant Secretary of State from 1969-72. Instead he landed at Cal, where he rowed from 2003-06. The 29-year-old will take another crack in quad sculls this year, four years after winning the C Final in 2008 in Beijing.
— Chris Yoder

Kara Kohler — W. Rowing
Of the eight rowers Cal is sending to the Olympics, Kohler is the youngest. The 21-year-old didn’t even consider rowing until coming to Cal, but her commitment to the sport has earned her a spot on the American quad sculls team. Just two years after taking up the sport, Kohler will try to help the American boat to a medal four years after it finished fifth in Beijing.
— Chris Yoder

Caitlin Leverenz — W. Swimming
At the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials, Leverenz missed out on a chance at her dream by less than one second. Since then, she has been the top swimmer at Cal, named Swimmer of the Year this year. Leverenz will look to compete against and beat Natalie Coughlin this year in the 200 IM and 400 IM.
— Karan Karia

John Mann — M. Water Polo
The drought is over for the Cal men’s water polo team. The last time any former Bears had competed in the Olympics was in 2000. This year, however, standout alum John Mann will represent the United States in London. Mann was an alternate in Beijing in 2008. This time around, however, he’s bound to prove his prowess at the lethal center position.
— Annie Gerlach

Alysia Montano — W. Track
You can tell Montano apart from everyone else by the flower she wears in her hair when she competes. But it’s her running that distinguishes her from other athletes the most. Montano won the 800 at this year’s competition and heads to London as a favorite to win the event.
— Chris Yoder

Alex Morgan — W. Soccer
Since Morgan finished her career as a Cal soccer player in 2010, the Bears’ third highest all time scorer has been rapidly approaching the kind of name recognition Mia Hamm had after the 1999 World Cup. But the name that best describes her is the one she earned at the start of her career: “clutch.” From the winning goal of the 2008 U-20 Women’s World Cup final to the first goal of the 2011 World Cup final, when the pressure is high, Morgan thrives.
— Alex Matthews

Julie Nichols — W. Rowing
Nichols doesn’t just have brawn, she’s got the brains to go along with it as well. Currently pursuing her PhD in mechanical engineering at UCLA, the former Bear is an international superstar in the lightweight double sculls, having won the 2011 Overall Rowing World Cup in the event.
— Lynn Yu

Heather Petri — W. Water Polo
Petri, the oldest and most decorated member of USA women’s water polo, has already won three Olympic medals. While at Cal, she was a three-time All-American, and the attacker has won two silver medals and a bronze, but has never captured that elusive gold medal. Will this be the year?
— Austin Crochetiere

Dana Vollmer — W. Swimming
Since qualifying for Olympic Trials as a 12-year-old, Vollmer has undergone open heart surgery, won an Olympic gold, injured various body parts and choked with chances to advance to the Beijing Olympics on the line. This year the 24-year-old is back on the sport’s biggest stage, with two chances to earn her way back to the podium in the 100 fly and 800 free relay.
— Chris Yoder

Zach Vlahos — M. Rowing
Vlahos, current assistant coach to Cal Men’s Rowing, coxed the varsity 8+ to a national champion his senior year. He will be filling the seat of the coxswain on the U.S. eight in London this summer. Vlahos better lose his voice screaming his head off, because the U.S. hopes to nab gold this year after a disappointing bronze in 2008.
— Lynn Yu

Elsie Windes — W. Water Polo
Windes, a member of the USA women’s water polo team, is heading to London in search of her second medal after earning a silver medal in Beijing in 2008. She is a defender from Portland, Ore., one of two members on team USA not from California. While at Cal, she was a three-time All-American and scored a total of 147 goals, including a 51 goal season in 2005. In recent international play, Windes scored four goals at the 2011 Pan American games to help Team USA win gold and earn a berth to the Olympics.
— Austin Crochetiere

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JULY 27, 2012

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