This newsletter goes to a few hundred swimmers. Many of them would like to become better swimmers and seek to improve by going to clinics and whatnot. But they could observe the best swimmers in the country and even the world swimming right here at Cal, yet I rarely see any CALM swimmers at Cal meets. In the last two weeks there have been two great meets right here in Berkeley.
On Saturday February 11, the Cal women swam against the Stanford women at Spieker Pool. Eight pool records were broken in this meet. The first one was by the Cal medley relay team in the first event. Noemi Thomas, Farida Osman, Abbey Weitzeil and Amy Bilquist swam on this relay. The first three of those women all swam in the Rio Olympics. The second record was in the second event, the 1000 yard free. This race featured Katie Ledecky, who is arguably the best woman swimmer in the world (4 gold medals and one silver in the Olympics and holder of the world record in the 400, 800, and 1500
meter swim and the American record in the 500,1000, and 1650 free. She easily won the 1000 in this meet, with the second place swimmer coming in 26 seconds behind her. But that was not all for Ledecky. Six minutes later she was back on the blocks for the 200 free, in which she also broke the pool record, beating fellow Stanford Olympian Simone Manuel.
The meet continued on this record-breaking fashion with records in nearly every event. Ledecky broke her third pool record in the 500 free. Cal broke the pool record in the final event, the 400 free relay.
And where were you?
The next week it was the men’s turn. Cal has Ryan Murphy on the team. He is the best backstroker in the world, winning gold in the 100 and 200 backstroke at the Olympics and breaking the world record in the 100 when he led off in the 400 medley relay. In this meet, Murphy broke two pool records. The first was for the medley relay and the second was for the 200 IM. He also won the 200 back. Besides Murphy’s wins (I don’t think there is a single race in his college career he has not won), sophomore Andrew Seliskar won the 200 breast, the 200 fly and the 200 free (talk about versatility!) and freshman Michael Jensen won the 50 and 100 free. Cal won this meet easily, winning nearly every event.
In the 100 free, Cal swimmers got 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th places.
These were the last meets Cal will have in Berkeley until the end of the year. And you missed seeing them. You’ll have another chance to see some of these swimmers in action in the World Championships this summer, which are sure to be televised.
Maybe I’ll see some of you at a future Cal meet. Swimmingly yours,
[Dear Flutterby: You are correct! Hard to comprehend why more of us don’t take advantage of this ’golden’ opportunity to watch the best in the world in our own backyard. Could it be we’re intimidated by how good these guys are? I’m reminded of that club tennis player who once opined, after watching a John McEnroe match, that “Mr. McEnroe plays a game with which I am not familiar.” Ed.]
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