Hey there, Bear fans!
As the season starts approaching the end we all can FINALLY start to catch our breath. We haven't caught up since the Bears returned from Hawaii, and we've gotten to do a lot of great things since then. Here's a little recap:
Spring dual meets are always exciting, energizing and fun with a lot of fast races with our Pac-12 opponents. This year we got to travel to Arizona to race the University of Arizona and Arizona State, and as well, we hosted USC and UCLA in good old Spieker pool. Being able to travel and see other college campuses is fun, but nothing beats the energy of a home crowd! Hands down the most exciting meet this spring, in my opinion, was our final meet against Stanford at home. Not only did we have hundreds of spirited supporters there cheering, but the band came to play which made the atmosphere that much more energizing. The meet resulted in a win for the Golden Bears, which was only the second home win over Stanford the team has ever seen...putting the cherry on top of an AMAZING senior day for our one and only senior, Caitlin Leverenz. A huge thank you goes to this incredible girl who has made a strong impact on our team from everything to her contagious laughter to her fierce racing - we love you, Caitlin!
Last week we all packed up and headed to Federal Way, Wash., for the Pac-12 Conference Championships. This is by far my favorite part of the season because I get to see hard work paying off and people achieving things they may have only dreamed of. Across the board we had an amazing meet with numerous lifetime best times, inspiring races (hey there, Rachael Acker!) and a ton of spirit and energy. Thanks to all the supporters and parents who came to cheer us on; hearing a big "GO BEARS" from the stands before every race never gets old.
Now it's time for some much needed recovery and catching up on schoolwork before heading to Indy for NCAAs. We have 13 speedy Bears representing Cal at the meet, so be sure to follow the results and help cheer them on! As always, thank you for your generous support, and GO BEARS!
P.S. Shout out to the Cal Men's Swim & Dive team for winning Pac-12s and ending Stanford's 31-year streak! Way to go, Bears!
So far Hawaii has been a blast with great training, tanning and adventures. Since we left off with Melanie, we have been back to some tough training in the ocean and the pool. On Monday we had a change of pace with some rather intense rain instead of the lovely weather we had been enjoying for the previous few days.
However, the weather turned around in time for our special team dinner at the Outrigger Club so graciously provided by Steve Metter, a very successful Cal grad who connected with our team last year and has provided a beautiful and delicious dinner for our team for the past two Hawaii trips. Everyone dressed up to look their best for a night of great food and friends. While Steve is very generous with our team, he also shares his generosity with those less fortunate and makes it a point for himself and his company to enact random acts of kindness by giving to others. This inspired our team last year to also give random acts of kindness and will remain with us when we return back to Berkeley.
Today it was a beautiful, sunny day. Since we had the afternoon off we got to enjoy the sun - perhaps a little too much judging by many of our almost third-degree sunburns! A group of us, including myself, stayed at Waikiki and went surfing and paddle boarding and laid on the beach. Another group went to Makapu'u Beach to enjoy another beautiful beach of Hawaii.
Later today our team got together and did a group karaoke activity at a local karaoke place in Hawaii. Some of the most notable renditions were Liz Pelton's and Alicia Grima's performance of "Milkshake," Melissa Bates' and Melanie Klaren's rap of "The Motto," and the freshman class singing "Get Low." Everyone had a great time singing along and watching each other let loose with the microphone.
Until next time - Go Bears!
With about half of our 2013 Hawaii Training Trip behind us, the Golden Bears are feeling rejuvenated, excited, but most of all, tan! This training trip has been an amazing experience with some awesome memories and good times in the books. We've put in some really tough (although non-traditional) training in, and we have learned a lot about our bodies, teammates, coaches and ourselves. These past couple of days have been even more incredible as we have gotten to branch out past Waikiki Beach and go snorkeling, hiking, surfing and paddle boarding.
This past weekend has probably been my favorite part of the trip so far. It all started with a tough practice on Saturday morning in the pool, followed by a clinic that we put on for some of the local swim clubs around here. I was a part of the backstroke group, and we had a great time working with the kids. The clinic finished with a short relay meet with some the young swimmers and an AMAZING lunch provided by the families on the island. The amount of food was unreal, and we all left the pool with happy stomachs. After the clinic, we had the whole day off and I was part of a group that decided to go hiking up Diamond Head. The views were incredible, and if you are ever in Honolulu, I highly suggest you try this hike out! (Though beware if you are afraid of heights like our one and only Casey Mims!)
One of the best treats Teri gave us on this trip was all day Sunday off! The whole team took advantage of this and got out of Waikiki and ventured to North Shore (after a very filling breakfast at Mac 24/7, where we were served the largest pancakes I have ever seen!). The waves at North Shore were a little more tame than usual, and the team got to swim out in the ocean, ride some waves and catch some rays! Everyone finished the trip off with a Hawaiian Shaved Ice courtesy of Matsumoto's, and it was honestly the best shaved ice ever! Heading into this last half of the trip, I can't believe my second training trip as a Golden Bear is almost over. It has absolutely flown by, and I cannot wait to see what the rest of this Hawaiian trip has in store!
Until next time,
Jan. 11, 2013
Aloha, Bear Fans!
It's that time of year again - Hawaii time! The Golden Bears landed in Oahu on Wednesday to start our holiday training trip in the sun. Berkeley is nice, but the warm sandy beaches of Waikiki have been calling, and we finally made it! This week gives us plenty of time for tough training, team bonding, and (of course!) tanning.
We got off to a great start with our first pair of practices today. It was tough, but judging by the work done today, it's going to be a great week! What's great is that after workout is done we get a nice afternoon nap...on the beach. So no complaints here! We have an amazing group of women with us, and I am excited to see the progress we will make together in the next few days.
As for the rest of the week, we'll be swimming, tanning, surfing, paddle-boarding, hiking and growing even closer as a team. Check back for updates as the Bears take over Hawaii!
Mahalo, and GO BEARS!
Recapping Long Beach
When we last checked in with Eva we had just come off a few exciting and successful dual meets! However the racing didn't stop there as we headed to Long Beach for the Arena Invitational where we competed against many different West Coast teams. This was an exciting opportunity for us to race at a meet with an NCAA racing format, instead of the dual meet format we had at the past few meets. It was also a prelim and final meet, and we got to wear Aquablades for finals (Bears in Blades)!
Because we were in Southern California we went back to the ocean for some ocean swimming before the prelims sessions on Thursday and Friday. Luckily there weren't any stingrays this year, and we even got some good waves on Friday! Warming up in the ocean presented opportunities to learn and try something new before racing. While it was challenging to race after being in the ocean it was a great learning experience and was a lot of fun.
As a whole the Bears had a very successful meet with many event winners and season-best or personal-best times. Caitlin Leverenz won the 200 IM and 400 IM; Rachel Bootsma won the 100 backstroke, Elizabeth Pelton won the 200 backstroke, and the Bears won the 400 medley relay, 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay. We raced well and had a great time competing.
Last week most of us got to go home and enjoy some rest and relaxation with our families and celebrate Thanksgiving. It was great to get some down time and see family and friends for a few days. This week we head to Georgia for the Georgia Invitational. This is our last meet before we begin our championship season, so look for some fast swimming from the Bears in Georgia as we close out 2012! Until next time!
On a Busy Early November
Hello again! The past two weeks have felt like the busiest two weeks of my life - seriously. From meets to games to ceremonies it seems like we've done it all. We even got to go to the "Big Game" against Stanford! Usually this game falls on the same weekend we are in Long Beach for the Arena Invite, but with a bit of luck we got to go cheer on our Bears this year!
After a week of tough training, we packed up and headed to Provo and Salt Lake to race BYU and Utah. These meets presented a huge challenge: altitude. Adjusting to the different environment was difficult, but it gave us a great opportunity to step up, and race (in the words of Taylor Nanfria, "challenge accepted"). Plus, watching the Giants in the World Series energized the team!
No time for rest - less than a week after returning from beautiful Utah, we were presented with two more challenges...Texas and Wisconsin. Even though we were a little tired and worn down, I must say, the energy we brought to these meets was amazing. We were ready to race and defend our home pool. The stands were full and we fed off the energy of the crowd and the beautiful weather. The first meet against Texas was full of close races, nail-biting finishes, exciting relays and, finally, a team win for the Golden Bears! Racing like this reminds me why I love my sport! The next day we swam against Wisconsin with the men, which created a fun and exciting environment.
That weekend we also had our ring ceremony to receive our 2011-2012 season NCAA Championship rings. Teri spoke, we recognized people who helped us along the way, and each member of the 2011-2012 team presented a ring to one of her teammates. We all opened them up at the same time and I think our collective "AHH!!" could be heard all the way across the Bay. The rings are truly beautiful and I am grateful to be a part of such an amazing team!
Our weekend concluded with the Aquatics Gala. The current aquatics athletes served, greeted, and mingled with several generations of former Bears, and countless Cal Aquatics supporters. It was truly moving seeing how many people generously support what we do and want to see us be successful. It was a long night, but we all had fun hanging out together!
And there goes October. Time to go catch up on sleep - I think we've all deserved it.
Fresno and Beach/Pool Swimming
When we last checked in with Casey Mims, our team had the opportunity to take a "Free Fall Weekend" and enjoy some time away from the pool. After that much needed break, it was back to a week of some good practices and hard work before we headed off to Fresno. The Early Bird Invitational, which took place at Fresno State and their beautiful new pool, was a challenging meet, both physically and mentally, and we really took away some good racing and lessons from the weekend.
The meet started off with the bus ride down to Fresno where the team watched the movie, "The Help," did some homework, and listened to the brand new Ellie Goulding CD (or at least Melissa Bates and I did)! The meet started Friday night and was formatted with three sessions, like a championship meet, condensed into two days. There were some definite high points of the weekend, particularly freshman Elizabeth Pelton, who won several events and stepped up as a racer for the team. The team really stood behind every person with a "Cal" cap on and cheered loud for each competitor, especially our lone miler, Taylor Nanfria. We ended the meet victoriously, and the bus ride home on Saturday afternoon consisted of another movie, "Secondhand Lions," some serious napping, and even more homework!
The next day, we all caravanned to Aptos State Beach and did some ocean swimming mixed with pool swimming at Cabrillo College. The dual environments were filled with high energy, and we were asked to step out of our usual comfort zones. Some braved the ocean without any wet suits, and another seal was out to play right by where we were swimming. Our next racing situation, and our dual meet season opener, will be in Utah this week where we will take on Brigham Young University in Provo and The University of Utah in Salt Lake City. I am personally looking forward to the start of the dual meets and making some great memories with my teammates in Utah. Until next time...
Hey Cal Fans!
My name is Casey Mims, and I will be one of three bloggers - along with Melanie Klaren and Eva Greene - who get to share with you a peek into Cal women's swimming and diving! After an exciting National Championship celebratory week, it was back to work for a very demanding but extremely rewarding week of training. We were challenged both mentally and physically inside and outside of the pool with swimming workouts, spin class, dance and weights. October is the time to get in some good training before we start racing later this month!
As a reward for all our hard work, we had what we like to call a "Free Fall" weekend, starting after practice on Saturday and continuing all day Monday. Free Fall is when we get a few days off for ourselves so that we can recharge and come back reenergized for the next week. We can go home and visit family, maybe take a small road trip somewhere, or just relax with friends and refill our spirits. I had a great weekend relaxing with my teammates, shopping and enjoying the fact that Cal football beat UCLA! Go Bears!!
As we continue on to this next week, we have our first invitational coming up on Friday and Saturday at Fresno State. It will be exciting to race in the midst of tough training and see where we are as a team and as individuals. It will also be fun to spend time with the team and enjoy each other's presence in a new environment. After the meet, we have the opportunity to swim at the beach on Sunday! It can be hard to find time to get to the ocean, so it is refreshing to be able to get another chance so early in the season - especially when the water is still relatively warm!
As you can see we have a lot going on and a lot to look forward to! That's all for now - until next time. Go Bears!!
National Championship Week
Oct. 5, 2012
Hey Cal fans!
My name is Eva Greene, and I'm excited to be documenting the year with my fellow classmates Melanie and Casey! When we last caught up with Melanie, we had just returned from an exciting weekend at Pismo Beach, and the fun continued through the following week. We were able to set aside the stress of midterm season and celebrate our team successes during National Championship Week! This week-long celebration is an annual event aimed to honor the many Bears who have earned the title of being a national champion. Cal honored eight individual, four relay, and two team national champions, and Cal swim and dive won all but one of these championships...not too shabby!
A highlight of the week was the lovely ceremony we had at Chancellor Robert Birgeneau's house on Friday evening. This was a time for us all to put away our work out clothes and put on something a little more fancy. It's always fun seeing everyone dressed up...we clean up so nicely! After enjoying some tasty desserts and the company of teammates, we were graciously honored by the Chancellor himself. Hearing so many people praise and appreciate what we do in and out of the pool reminds me why I love being a Bear! Hard work really does pay off.
The most exciting treat of the week was being recognized on the field during halftime at the Cal vs. ASU football game. There was so much energy in the stadium as we walked onto the field, and we even appeared on the JumboTrons! Even walking back to our seats was exciting as tons of Cal fans gave high-fives and cheered, "Go Bears!" as we passed by.
This past week was an awesome time to bond as a team and remember all of our amazing accomplishments. As for now, it's back to work with midterms, training, weights, spin, dance... which means hello naps and ice baths. October here we come!
Fall Training, Queen of the Pool and Pismo Beach
Sept. 28, 2012
Hey Cal fans!
My name is Melanie Klaren, and I will be taking over the "Between the Lanes" blog this year, along with my fellow sophomores Eva Greene and Casey Mims! This year has already been off to an amazing start, and I know it is going to be the best one yet. One of the coolest things about beginning a new year is the brand new team and the amazing freshmen that come with it. I can honestly say that this year's freshmen are some of the most mature, talented and just downright amazing women I have had the opportunity to meet. During the early weeks of being back on campus, our team got to go to "Color Me Mine" and paint some pottery; not for ourselves, but for another girl on the team! This allowed us to become closer and really put thought into what we were making. We followed this with an overnight stay at The Marin Headlands where we ate some DELICIOUS food, saw some amazing sights and really bonded as a team and family.
After some early team-bonding activities and trips, fall training officially began. While the September/October months are usually the most grueling, as a team we have thrived during these early tough practices and really put in some quality work. Our first test in a racing situation was this past weekend at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. The "King and Queen of the Pool" is always an exciting first meet where we have the opportunity to showcase all of our strokes by competing in a 100-yard race in each of them: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle and an individual medley. Freshman Rachel Bootsma was victorious this year, just beating out Caitlin Leverenz and Elizabeth Pelton for the title.
Besides racing at Cal Poly in the "King and Queen of the Pool" and getting to compete on some awesome co-ed relays with our men's team, the women's team got to stay in some beautiful beach homes down in Pismo Beach and experience some ocean swimming. The houses allowed for a less formal environment where teammates cooked and lived together in large groups, as opposed to staying in a hotel. Personally, my favorite part of the ocean swimming was a surprise from some curious seals who popped up near the pier where we were swimming.
With some midterms and papers coming up in the next couple of weeks, we are all looking forward to National Championship Week as a time to reflect on our past successes and look forward to our future ones! Although it is one of the most trying times during the year, fall is the best time to put in some hard work, bond with your teammates and enjoy the beautiful Berkeley weather. Until next time, GO BEARS!
- Melanie Klaren