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Busy week for Bears: Cal to face Utah, Washington State

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KAREN CHOW | STAFF

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OCTOBER 12, 2022

The Utes are set to enter Bear territory, and the looming question on Cal fans’ minds is whether women’s swim and dive can hold on to its undefeated winning streak against Utah and Washington State in back-to-back meets this week. 

Cal swimming is back as the Bears prepare to host both the men’s and women’s swimming programs of Utah in a combined dual meet this Wednesday at Spieker Aquatic.

After this, the Cal women’s swim team is set to head north all the way to Pullman, Washington, where they will face the Wildcats in a quick turnaround. This is the first inner-conference meet for the Bears, with the blue and gold only swimming against Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in a dual meet earlier this season. 

The Bears last faced University of Utah in November 2021 when they traveled to the Utes’ home pool in Salt Lake City. It was a complete blowout, with the Bears winning all events and tallying up a final score of 160 points while Utah managed only 100 points.

This week, eyes turn toward senior Ayla Spitz and sophomore Mia Kragh — both swimmers notched record-setting swims in Fresno over the weekend. 

The Bears participated in 11 events at Fresno State Aquatics Center. Cal usually dominates this invitational, with five relay teams setting pool records last season. 

Spitz carried on this tradition by setting a pool record in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:49.86, almost a full second faster than the previous record of 4:50.78 set by former Cal swimmer Elizabeth Pelton in 2012. Spitz also won the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:48.57.

Another record broken by the Bears: Mia Kragh set the pool record in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 53.11 seconds. This record-breaking time also dethroned the former Cal swimmer Noemi Thomas’s time of 53.22 set in 2017. 

University of Utah was not seen at the Fresno State Invitational, as only Pac-12 teams were invited. 

University of Utah’s last dual meet was Sept. 23 versus Brigham Young University, where the Utes tallied up a total of six first place finishes and ended up on top. 

The Utes will come out to sunny California fresh off a victory with lots of time for recovery, whereas the Bears will have to bounce back quickly. This jam-packed schedule with a total of three major meets in the course of a single week will test the Bears’ grit and determination, as the season doesn’t pick up until the NCAA National Championship Meet at its end. 

Coming off of its third-place finish in the Fresno State Chick-Fil-A Invite and its Wednesday home meet versus Utah, Cal must face Washington State again. Although the Wildcats finished fourth in Fresno, just behind the Bears, it was by a large margin of 205 points. Still, the Wildcats will see this week as an opportunity to put some pressure on the Bear’s No. 7 national ranking. 

The Wildcats will have a home-court advantage and are without a dual meet for the entire week, giving them the chance to rest up and face the Bears, fully rejuvenated, in this Pac-12 showdown.

Devon Byrne covers women’s swim and dive. Contact her at [email protected].
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OCTOBER 12, 2022