Though they’ve had some ups and downs this week, California looks to be in great shape heading into the final night of racing at women’s Pac-12s. They lead Stanford by just over 50 points and had a great morning, putting 11 swimmers into the A finals tonight – that’s the same amount as Stanford’s and USC’s A-finalists combined, and should put Cal firmly in the driver’s seat for the conference title.
This morning’s events were the 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast and 200 fly, and tonight’s meet will add the 1650, platform diving and the 400 free relay to that list as the 2014 Pac-12 women’s champs are crowned.
- Dates: Wednesday, February 26th – Saturday, March 1st; Prelims 11AM/Finals 6PM
- Location: Federal Way, WA (Central Time Zone)
- Defending Champion: Stanford (results)
- Live Results: Available.
- Live Video (If available):
- Championship Central
The backstrokes are stellar events for Cal, and it appears they’ll continue to milk points from the stroke with this 200 back field. The Golden Bears put 5 swimmers up and 1 down, led by top seed and American record-holder Elizabeth Pelton. Pelton’s 1:52.38 is relatively pedestrian by her lofty standards, and she could clearly go faster tonight if she’s pushed by second seed Bonnie Brandon of Arizona, although Brandon is a good second-and-a-half back at the moment.
After those two, Cal went on a run with Melanie Klaren, Hoi Shun Au, Kelly Naze, and Sophia Batchelor sweeping the next five spots. Klaren was 1:54.89 and the rest were all 1:55s.
UCLA freshman Madison White snuck into 7th with a 1:56.14. Outside of the high-profile battle for the conference championship between Cal, Stanford, and to a lesser extend USC, there’s another team battle worth watching tonight, and that’s between this rising UCLA squad and Arizona for fourth. The teams are separated by just 5 points with one more day to swim.
Each of the top 3 teams put a swimmer under 48 seconds to set up a 3-way showdown for the Pac-12 title tonight. Defending NCAA champ Margo Geer has to be the favorite, and she’s the top seed in a very-tough 47.37. Cal freshman Missy Franklin went 47.90 for second-place, and it’s hard to count out the multi-time world champion in any race she swims. USC’s Kasey Carlson, who upset Geer for the 50 free title Thursday night, is 47.99 for the third seed and should also be a factor tonight.
More big names in the rest of the field: Cal’s Rachael Acker is fourth in 48.07, Stanford’s Lia Neal fifth with a 48.37 and her teammate Maddy Schaefer sixth in 48.52. One one-hundredth back is Kaylin Bing for Cal, and Utah’s Traycie Swartz hung onto the last finals spot with a 48.84.
Four different women went 2:10s this morning to lock up very tight standings at the top of the 200 breast. USC’s Stina Gardell leads the pack at 2:10.38, but Arizona sophomore Emma Schoettmer is just behind in 2:10.41. Stanford is in on the action with Katie Olsen‘s 2:10.46, and Utah’s freshman Stina Colleou is the fourth major contender with a 2:10.67.
USC’s Andrea Kropp is 2:11.40, and she’s the fifth seed. Cal freshman Marina Garcia jumped into the A final at 2:12.31. Utah got two swimmers into the finals – senior Nicole Ligeza went 2:12.60 to take seventh. Arizona freshman Sara Borendame snuck into the final championship heat spot, beating out Arizona State’s Tory Houston by .02 for 8th place.
UCLA will grab its first top seed of the morning with Noelle Tarazona’s 1:55.69 200 fly. She sits just ahead of USC freshman Chelsea Chenault, who should also be a big factor tonight.
Arizona’s Ashley Evans is the third seed, with big names Maya DiRado of Stanford, Rachel Bootsma of Cal and Jasmine Tosky of USC trailing her. All four of those women were 1:56 this morning.
Stanford’s Mackenzie Stein and Sophia Batchelor of Cal will complete the A final field for tonight with Golden Bear freshman Celina Li just on the outside looking in.
Cal 11up/5down Stanford 6up/4down USC 5up/6down UCLA 2up/6down Arizona 5up/4down Utah 3up/2down Arizona State 3down Washington State 1down Oregon State 1down