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UCLA, USC no match for No. 11 Cal

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JANUARY 30, 2023

Cal made a big splash in its last home dual meet of the season: The Bears drowned both USC and UCLA, coming away with two wins, 152.5-141.5 against USC and 169-125 against UCLA. Cal is now 7-1 overall and 5-1 in the Pac-12.

The USC meet began with Cal winning the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:37.53, two seconds ahead of USC in second place, to set up the Bears for a high-energy afternoon.

The Bears later left USC in the dust in the 200-yard fly, stealing the top three places with clean strokes and strong turns. The last 75 yards of the event were the most important, and senior Rachel Klinker was able to barely hold off teammate Lizzy Cook to win with a time of 1:57.43.

Cal came out victorious, winning nine out of 14 swimming events. USC recovered part of the losing margin in its sweep of the diving events — the Bears still lack divers to compete in those events.

Cal honored former swimmer, three-time Olympian and 12-time medalist Natalie Coughlin for the 50th Anniversary of Title IX. Coughlin is one of the most accomplished swimmers in Cal history, having won 12 NCAA championships between 2001 and 2004.

Title IX made sure that female athletes had equal opportunity and access to collegiate sports, and Coughlin felt that it enabled her athletic success.

“I love coming to watch the girls swim and the men swim at Cal,” Coughlin said. “I was an athlete here for 16 years, so that was such a long chunk of my life. I’ve always said that because of Title IX I was able to go on to three Olympics and win 12 medals.”

The celebrations did not end there: At the following meet against UCLA, Cal honored its seniors with flowers and a senior luncheon at its final home dual meet. Senior Day is always an emotional time for college teams as they celebrate their seniors. The seniors honored Saturday were Ayla Spitz, Eloise Riley, Sarah DiMeco, Emma Davidson, Rachel Klinker and Mia Motekaitis.

If fans thought that Cal’s performance against USC was impressive, then they were not prepared for what Cal would bring against UCLA. Cal completely overpowered the Trojans, winning 10 out of 14 swimming events and nearly sweeping the 200 freestyle — seniors Motekaitis and Spitz came in first and second, but Cal ultimately gave up third to Brooke Schaffer from UCLA.

Fanni Fabian, sophomore from Hungary, stole the show in the long-distance races, winning both the 1000-yard and 500-yard freestyles.

“I feel pretty awesome compared to yesterday,” Fabian said. “I managed to touch the wall first at the 1000, so that gave me a huge inspiration for the 500. Overall, our team did really well, especially since this is our senior meet.”

Cal will take this energy into its next and last meet of the season against rival Stanford on Feb. 11.

Contact Stefania Bitton at 


JANUARY 30, 2023