Swimming away from the defeat Cal suffered last weekend against Arizona State, the Bears will have their last home dual meets against No. 10 USC and UCLA on Friday and Saturday. The USC meet will be tighter than usual as the Trojans enter the challenger ranked No. 10 and the Bears follow closely at No. 11.
Around this time last year, Cal had dual meets against both USC and UCLA; the Bears charged through to bring home two wins. When facing UCLA, the Bears won 179.5-117.5, capturing 10 of 14 events for the day. Cal then came from behind to take nine of 12 events and win by a 20-point margin against the Trojans.
If last year’s meets are any indication, the Bears may be expecting to reign victorious and bring home another two wins over their foes from Los Angeles. But against teams that are so accomplished, this season’s matchups may prove to be more complicated.
This season, the Bruins are coming into the weekend ranked 24th. The Bears are confident that this can be another exciting meet to add to their season but must be conscious about the threat that the Bruins pose, especially after Cal’s recent hiccup loss to Arizona State.
When facing Arizona State, the Bears had to deal with the Sun Devils using technical suits. These suits enable blood to circulate quicker, reduce fatigue and can improve a swimmer’s time. Cal was not wearing technical suits, which could have contributed to its one and only loss for the season.
“Headed into this weekend, we are looking forward from that meet,” said junior Isabelle Stadden. “There were specific circumstances at the ASU meet that we couldn’t control … we are always focused on the now and focused on the process. I think it will be a fun celebration since it is our senior night on Saturday and a fun last dual meet.”
Two celebrations will be taking place at Saturday’s meets: a 50th anniversary celebration of Title IX and Senior Night.
On Saturday, six seniors — Ayla Spitz, Eloise Riley, Sarah DiMeco, Emma Davidson, Rachel Klinker and Mia Motekaitis — will be honored in a ceremony celebrating their time at Cal.
Senior Night has allowed for juniors such as Stadden to take up a new leadership role by helping organize the underclassmen roles in aiding the celebrations.
“It’s bittersweet for me. It’s going to be pretty emotional,” senior Ayla Spitz said. “I love the group of girls on this team and I love this team. It’s going to be really sad to leave it, but it’s been such an amazing year.”
The weekend will be exciting for everyone involved; swimmers will commemorate their teammates, and fans will witness a competitive meet between some of California’s most seasoned teams.