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Bears face No. 3 rival Stanford

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FEBRUARY 09, 2023

The Bears head into their last meet of the season against rival No. 3 Stanford on Saturday, Feb. 11 in Palo Alto. Cal has won its past two meets of the season and is hoping to continue the streak with good performances in the weekend’s events.  

The No. 11 Bears have had a great season full of wins; only a single blip exists on their record. Keeping their strong underwater turns and steady paces, the team and fans alike are hopeful this weekend will turn out in their favor. 

Although Cal has had a great season, the Cardinal’s record holds out on top alongside schools such as Virginia and Texas. Stanford is placed third with 411 points while the Bears are down by 143 points at 268. 

Stanford and Cal have had similar lineups in the past few weeks, both competing against UCLA and USC. Both Cal and Stanford emerged victorious from these dual matches, but Stanford remained a few strokes ahead of its rival; Stanford left its dual meet with a 60-point gap between UCLA and 52 points between USC, while Cal won 42 ahead of UCLA and 11 points in front of USC. 

If anything, this means the meet will be especially close. Last year, the Bears lost 133-167 to the Cardinal, but every season the playing field and teams change with an influx and outflow of new and old swimmers.

“I think we are looking good going into Stanford,” said junior Isabelle Stadden. “This will be a special one for the seniors since it’s their last dual meet … we are preparing well. We are also looking past, to Pac-12, which is just beyond this meet. We are in a good mental spot right now.” 

Stadden and other Cal swimmers such as  Fanni Fabien and Rachel Klinker performed particularly well last weekend; so, in a good headspace, fans can expect to look forward to watching Stadden in events such as the 200 and 100 backstroke, Fabien during distance events such as the 1000 freestyle and Klinker in the 200 butterfly. 

Getting to the right place for meets such as these begins with the proper dedications in practices. Cal has had to make some adaptations this season, but is charging forward by focusing on the process. 

“I’m feeling really comfortable,” Fabien said. “I feel like we adapted to Dave’s practices really well, so I am very optimistic about Stanford. The athletes there (at Stanford) are Olympians, so we can let go of that fact and stand up and give our best. We are focusing on the process rather than just looking at Stanford.” 

Even though swimming is a collective team sport, the swimmers also have their own independent goals for the season. Competitors such as Stadden have their eyes already set on the NCAA Championships, but her teammates still need this meet and the Pac-12s to give them the right boost in that direction. 

Stadden agreed with Fabien that this season was about the process, moving forward in each meet and taking it a day at a time. The Stanford meet serves as an important stepping stone for the team, and all of the swimmers are looking to give their best efforts this weekend. 

“We are coming to the point where it’s our performance and there are quite a few girls that are looking to get this to qualify them for NCs,” Stadden said. “That’s always really exciting, to cheer people on and know people’s goals and have each other’s backs.

Contact Stefania Bitton at 


FEBRUARY 09, 2023