The top ranked USC Trojans women’s team defeated the Cal Golden Bears by a small margin, ending the meet with a score of 155-145.
The Golden Bears won both the 200 yard medley and 400 yard freestyle relays. Olympic gold medallist Rachel Bootsma took a huge lead right off the bat with a backstroke split of 24.84 to USC’s Christel Simms’ split of 25.51. The Golden Bears held off the Trojans to touch 0.52 seconds ahead, finishing in 1:38.83 to USC’s 1:39.35.
At the other end of the meet, Cal’s Rachel Acker (already with the fastest freestyle split in the medley), lead off the freestyle relay being the only woman to break 50 seconds on the leadoff with a 49.90. Kasey Carlson of USC made up some room on the Golden Bears with the fastest split of the night in 48.94. The Trojan anchor Christel Simms caught up to Elizabeth Pelton and established a lead with 50 yards to go, however Pelton charged home to out-touch her 3:19.01 to 3:19.23
Haley Anderson won a tough dual with her USC teammate Lynette Linn in the 1000 yard freestyle, barely edging her off for the win 9:52.98 to 9:53.20. Anderson had enough energy left to take down Linn a second time in another tough battle, winning the 500 yard freestyle again by a close margin, 4:46.59 to 4:46.93.
The 200 yard freestyle was won by Pelton. She held a solid pace throughout the race taking down fellow class of 2012 superfrosh Jasmine Tosky from USC 1:46.42 to 1:46.62.
In another close battle Cindy Tran swimming out of California defeated USC’s Kendyl Stewart 53.11 to 53.13 in the 100 back. Tran is the defending NCAA Champion in this event, twice, but there’s a big group of freshman including Stewart who will gun to take that crown away from her this season.
Both swimmers were over a full second faster than the remainder of the field, third place Stephanie Au representing the Golden Bears finished third in 54.23. Stewart came second in the 200 backstroke as well finishing behind California’s Elizabeth Pelton. Pelton dominated the field winning in a 1:53.99, almost two seconds faster than Kendyl’s 1:55.82.
Golden Bear and Olympic bronze medallist Caitlin Leverenz continued to show her dominance in breaststroke, completing a sweep of the 100 and 200 here in Berkeley. Leverenz finished ahead of USC’s Andrea Kropp in both events. In the 100 Leverenz proved that she has raw speed touching almost a half second ahead of Kropp, 1:01.18 to 1:01.67. In the 200 Leverenz was able to pull away even more, touching in 2:09.92 to Kropp’s 2:10.94.
Bootsma famous for her dominance in backstroke topped the field in the 200 fly finishing ahead of the Trojan’s Haley Anderson 1:58.33 to 1:58.56. After finishing second in both backstrokes Kendyl Stewart was finally able to come out on top for the Golden Bears with a huge win in the 100 fly over Rachel Bootsma, touching in 52.88 to Bootsma’s 54.45.
Kasey Carlson earned the sprint crown tonight, taking the win in the 50 and 100 freestyles. Carlson won the 50 in 23.03 and the 100 in 49.50. Later on Carlson went on to swim the fastest split in the 4×100 freestyle relay.
After sweeping the breaststroke events Leverenz seemed to be out of energy, placing third in the 200 IM. Stina Gardell of USC surprised the field coming out on top, defeating not only Olympic bronze medallist Caitlin Leverenz but also out-touching Elizabeth Pelton for the win. Gardell won in 1:58.30 to Pelton’s 1:58.36. This was a big swim for Gardell, who is one of a group of swimmers working together to replace graduated NCAA Champion Katinka Hosszu; her victory really put the meet out of reach for the Trojans; Leverenz is the defending national champion in the race.
The USC women remain undefeated after their victory today and hope that they can keep their streak alive, facing Stanford University tomorrow.