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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Cal hands Arizona second loss of season


Courtesy of Arizona Athletics

Arizona’s Brad Tandy dives into the pool during Arizona’s 205-93 loss to California on Saturday. Tandy led the Wildcats to a victory in the 50-yard freestyle event.

Saturday’s swimming and diving meet against California wasn’t so much about the wins and losses as it was about the reunion of a group of girls who flat out know how to swim.

The No. 1 Cal Golden Bears handed No. 14 Arizona its second loss of the year — and the weekend after falling to No. 3 Stanford on Friday with a score of 157-143. But after the meet, it was all smiles for five Colorado natives who grew up down the street from one other.

Even though Arizona’s Bonnie Brandon, 20, and Lauren Stoeckle, 21, and Cal’s Missy Franklin, 19, Kelly Naze, 20, and Caroline Piehl, 21, left the comfort of their homes in Centennial, Colo., in college, they have all managed to stay in touch.

“It’s really nice,” said Brandon, who walked away with victories in the 200-yard backstroke, 500y freestyle and 400y medley relay events. “I get to see them like three times a year, which is weird because Kelly [Naze] was my best friend in high school, and we went to [Cherry Creek] high school together. We’ve just been together forever.”

Brandon and Naze weren’t the only high school duo to face off Saturday. Missy Franklin also reconnected with an old Regis Jesuit High School teammate, University of Missouri transfer Lauren Stoeckle.

Although Stoeckle has yet to compete for the Wildcats since her move to Tucson in January, she was at Hillenbrand Aquatic Center to cheer on her new — and old — teammates.

“There’s so much history,” said Franklin, a four-time Olympic gold medalist and world record holder in the 200-meter backstroke. “I’ve literally been swimming against Bonnie since I was like 10 years old.”

Franklin claimed meet titles in the 100y and 200y freestyle events. She edged out Brandon in the 200y event, finishing with a time of 1:46.62. Brandon started out slow but made a comeback in the final 50 to come within a second-and-a-half of her longtime, friendly rival.

The No. 3 Cal men’s team also defeated No. 14 Arizona 205-93. Senior and defending national champion Bradley Tandy, 23, led Arizona’s swim team to its only event victory in the 50y freestyle, finishing in 19.95.

Arizona’s Rafael Quintero, 20, swept the diving events, but it wasn’t enough to close a very large gap.

Despite a loss on both sides, the Wildcats are still looking toward continuing to build team camaraderie for a strong finish at the end of the season.

“We raced two fantastic teams, and we get to race these guys again in Pac-12’s,” UA head coach Rick DeMont said. “We are just trying to maximize with everything that we can, with what we’ve got going.”

Arizona will see Cal again at the Pac-12 Championships Feb. 25-28 in Federal Way, Wash., and all eyes are sure to be back on the Fab Five from Colorado, especially the rematch between Brandon and Franklin.

“Missy is so versatile; she can swim all kinds of stuff,” DeMont said. “I really want to see [her and Brandon] going head-to-head in five weeks.”

Arizona travels to Austin on Friday for a two-day meet against the No. 1 men’s and No. 5 women’s Texas teams and Southern Methodist University.


Follow Nicole Cousins on Twitter.

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