500 yard freestyle
In the first of two expected battles of the Anderson sisters, the younger Haley, who swims for USC, had the edge over Alyssa, an Arizona Wildcat, in the 500 free. These are two of the best distance swimmers in the country, and they showed that tonight. Haley’s mark was 4:38.78, and was just off of setting her second-career best this season in this event (she went a 4:38.54 in December). Alyssa was off of her season best in 4:40.16 (she’s been 4:37), but as is the modus operandus of Arizona, should drop plenty of time at NCAA’s. Alyssa should exact her revenge in tomorrow’s 200 free.
Third and fourth went to Stanford, with freshman Andie Taylor (4:40.82) besting senior Kelsey Ditto (4:41.09) for the bronze medal. Cal also picked up big points with two A-finalists, Shelley Harper and Katie Kastes, in 5th and 6th. After this race, Stanford took the overall team lead as they made up huge points on Cal thanks to great depth in the event. Stanford and USC each had four scorers in the event, compared to Cal’s two.
200 yard IM
USC’s Katinka Hosszu had me a little nervous about this 200 IM. She had a great 200 free swim in a relay on day 1, but in prelims of the 200 IM was three seconds off of her season-best mark. Have no fear though, she was just saving her energy for what is going to be a busy weekend for her. She came back strongly in finals and put huge distance between herself and the field early in this race. She rocketed off a 24.44 opening buttefly split (for reference, nobody at NCAA’s last year was under 25), which is exactly what she will need to do at NCAA’s against the likes of Georgia’s Morgan Scroggy, the second-fastest in the country, who is also an excellent front-half swimmer. She also needed every bit of that lead to hold of Cal’s Caitlin Leverenz, who went a 32.03 on the breaststroke leg (she had the fastest split at last year’s NCAA’s at 32.73) .
Leverenz used her great breaststroke to finish second in 1:54.97, which improves on her third-ranked time nationally. This race also saw another medal for a Stanford freshman when Maya DiRado touched third in 1:55.11, which is the best freshman time in the nation this season. All three of these women scored NCAA Automatic Qualifying Times.
USC, with 3 of the top 5 finishers, did what they needed to do and grabbed a 37 point lead. Stanford was well back of USC, but extended their own lead over Cal past 30.
50 yard freestyle
Last year, Cal’s Liv Jensen won the NCAA title in the 50 free. This year, however, is a whole different ball game in the sprint freestyles. Last year, nobody in the country went better than a 22.0, either before or during NCAA’s. This season the bar has been raised by a 21.3 from Auburn’s Ariana Vanderpool-Wallace and a 21.97 from Maryland’s Annie Fittin before even getting to the big meet.
Jensen, however, showed that she was up for the challenge and posted a 21.73 to take the Pac-10 title and set a school record. This also represented very important points for Cal, who had two other A-finalists (Colleen Fotsch-8th-22.77, Hannah Wilson-7th-22.48), and also set up for a strong Cal 200 free relay.
Stanford, however, fired back with three A-finalists of their own. Kate Dwelley finished second in 22.04, and Sam Woodward was third in 22.31. Arizona’s Margo Geer, who came in with the top seed, was fourth in 22.33. USC had one A-finalist (Kasey Carlson 22.39), but had probably hoped to sneak Presley Bard into that fast heat as well. As it was, their big lead vanished in an instant, as Stanford moved ahead by 20 points, and Cal almost evened up with the Trojans.
Women’s 1-meter diving
USC’s Victoria Ishimatsu came into this meet as the best diver in the Pac-10 without a doubt. By the time she was done posting a 366.75, she thrust herself into the conversation for the 1-meter diver in the country. Her score of 366.75 is among the best 6-dive scores in NCAA history and, more importantly, scored much needed points for USC. Arizona State’s Elina Eggers was second with 343.85, and Stanford’s Meg Hostage was third with 323.80 points.
Despite the win, USC dropped 20 points behind Cal for second, but of significance, Cal burned an entire roster spot with 6 scoring divers. Stanford was close with 5. USC, on the other hand, maintained contact despite only using 3 divers, which could pay off late in this meet.
200 yard freestyle relay
In a battle between two of the best, and especially most balanced, 200 free relays in the country, Stanford outtouched Cal for the Pac-10 title. Their 1:28.54 featured two sub-22 splits (Betsey Webb-21.98 and Kate Dwelley-21.82) and gives Stanford the second-best time in the country. Cal was runners-up in 1:28.78.. Liv Jensen was as good as ever, with an anchor split of 21.32, but Hannah Wilson lead-off three-tenths slower than her mark in the individual. It’s going to take four very good swims to win this relay, and score the big points that come along with that win, at NCAA’s. Arizona was third (1:30.14) and USC was fourth (1:30.29).
No lead is safe in the wild, back-and-forth, Pac-10 Conference. With scoring pushing all the way down to 24 spots, every swim counts and is extremely vital. Stanford has taken a sizable lead over Cal after two days of competition, with USC in third. UCLA is fourth, still hanging on to a lead first earned when Arizona DQ’ed the meet’s first relay, but the Wildcats are clawing their way back into the top 4. They should pass the Bruins on day 3.
As for the three squads still in the battle for team supremacy, the day two schedule definitely favors Stanford and USC. As we mentioned in the preview, it is very important for Cal’s chances that Sara Isakovic finishes higher than her 11th seed in the 200 free, as she’s their only real threat at an A-final in that event. They’ll also need their freshmen Cindy Tran and Deborah Roth to score big in the 100 back, which is a great possibility based on what we’ve seen from them so far.
1. Stanford University 506.5
2. University of CA – Berkeley 478
3. University of Southern Califor 453.5
4. University of CA – Los Angeles 336
5. University of Arizona 294
6. Arizona State University 234
7. Washington State University 160
8. Oregon State University 138