WSU swim falls to Golden Bears at home

Cougars lose second matchup in conference play against Cal

TY EKLUND, Evergreen reporter

After defeating Northern Arizona University on Friday, WSU swimming returned to the pool Saturday morning to host its second conference match of the season against No. 5 University of California, Berkeley.

This was the first time the two teams have seen each other since 2016 when Cal took a 155-97 victory in Berkeley over WSU.

Right from the starting buzzer the Golden Bears (2-0, 2-0) were off to a successful start and that trend continued throughout the entire meet as a losing trend resurfaced for the Cougars (3-3, 0-2).

California took first place in 13 of the 14 events and defeated WSU 158-95. Despite the loss, Head Coach Matt Leach said competing against two teams in two days will help the Cougars continue to grow throughout the season.

“For us this is a perfect lead-in to having really tough opponents come in and go back-to-back,” Leach said.  “So for us it’s making sure we’re sharp every single day, every time we race.”

The Golden Bears have finished in the top three in the NCAA Championships in each of the last 10 years. The Cougars had already faced two-time defending national champion Stanford University on Oct. 12, falling 169-86 to the Cardinal.

The Golden Bears also have three swimmers who will compete for team USA in the 2019 World Aquatics Championships held in South Korea.

The first event was a 200 yard medley relay which finished with the Golden Bears taking the top four placements. Following this was the 1,000 yard freestyle where three swimmers raced. Cal freshman Cassidy Bayer had a stunning performance with a time of 10:14.01 which was over 20 seconds faster than her teammate and nearly 30 seconds faster than WSU sophomore Samantha Howell.

WSU freshman Keiana Fountaine would come out with the very first conference event win of the season for her team in the third event, the 200 yard freestyle. Fountaine was neck and neck with Cal junior Keaton Blovad. Each wall touch was a difference of a millisecond until Fountaine had one last push to win by two seconds. 

With only a single event win in the two conference meets they have competed in, the Cougars will have a five day break until they face their next opponent. 

WSU will take on University of Wyoming 5 p.m. Friday at Gibb Pool.